The social media phenomenon is unbelievable and scary all at the same time. I really thought after Facebook and Twitter – what else could there be? But, now there’s Periscope! …and I’m sure there’s many others that I don’t know about yet.
And, if I’m being honest, I spend far too much time on social media. I actually made the comment the other day that I could be pretty good at social media if I just spend MORE time on it! What in the world am I thinking?? If I spent more time on social media, I would have to quit my job, leave my family (actually my family would leave me), and move to a secluded area of the world where no one could communicate with me.
Social media is bad for me. Maybe it’s bad for you too. Here are 5 ways that I see in my own life that makes social media bad for me:
- It isolates us from real relationships.
Maintaining “relationships” on social media are far easier for me than doing it for real. I can pop by your facebook page, look through your feed, and feel up-to-speed on what’s going on in your life. I can post a few pictures and some snarky status updates and you get a glimpse of what I’m up to. What has happened, however, is that it has taken the place of real relationships rather than enhancing them. I don’t spend near as much time with my friends (and even family) as I should…but I use social media to make myself feel like a good friend, brother, son, etc…
- It makes us feel more important than we probably are.
When I look at my Twitter followers and I have over 8,500 people that have clicked that they will “follow” me, it makes me feel like I’m important. It gives me this false sense that I’m able to influence others. It places me, in my mind, on this platform that’s strong and unwavering – when, in reality, it’s shaky and weak…at best. And, it impacts how I interact with others. The myth of importance puts me in a place where I can care less about real relationships and place too much value on who people perceive me to be online.
- It distracts us from doing things that matter.
I can spend 5 minutes on social media…ok, no I can’t. My intention is to only spend 5 minutes on social media, but those few minutes easily turn into more minutes and even hours. And, social media can take us away from doing things that matter. Can I be honest for a moment? I cannot imagine turning off my phone. Because of that, there is this constant buzzing and beeping that forces me to pick up my phone every 22 seconds to see the picture that you just posted or the clever comment you just made about the TV show you’re watching. This distraction can actually keep us from spending quality time with our spouses or kids, finishing the research for that project at work, or investing in a relationship with the person that’s hurting.
- It increases the likelihood for misunderstandings and conflict.
No one has ever been misunderstood on social media, right? I’m sure we’ve all either had that experience or known someone close to us who has. And then there’s conflict on social media. No matter how careful you are about posting things on social media, there is always the potential that someone will take it in terms other than what you meant. Additionally, social media allows us to only post the best of our lives, right? So, when we interact with someone who has limited exposure to the “real” us and only a robust impression of who we are on social media, there can be some mis-alignment of expectations of who we really are. In fact, as I write this, I am keenly aware that there will be those who will form an opinion about who I am based off of this one blog article…
- It perpetuates the comparison game and makes it impossible to win.
Maybe I’m the only one who does this, but I often find myself knee-deep in comparing how someone else is parenting their child, making money, living their life, etc. And, it’s bad enough to do this with folks I know in a close way. With social media, as I mentioned, we tend to only post the best of our lives. We don’t often post the picture from our son’s behavior report where he lost points for the day for being disobedient at school. You don’t see many posts about the argument that me and my wife had last night about how many diapers I change versus how many she changes. No. Rather, we post pictures and words about the moments that we get it right in life. If we’re not careful, we can see those and think that we’re the only one’s that don’t live the perfect life, have a perfect wife, and so on. The comparison game is real and social media makes it impossible to win.
Thanks for letting me share vulnerably with you! I hope that you can at least see how one might struggle with these. Why not leave a comment below and let me know your initial thoughts here…