Social media is both more important and less important than we often give it credit for as communications medium.
I submit the following observations for your consideration.
- I have come to realize (along with everyone else by this point) that most platforms are addictive by design, and so some kind of intentional boundaries are necessary.
- Scrolling the FB feed is one way to get a snapshot of what’s going on in the lives and minds of people I care about, but it is a woefully incomplete picture at best, and at worst can be an outright misrepresentation of what’s really going on.
- Scrolling the FB feed is a great way (if I am self aware enough) to expose some of my own anxieties, insecurities, and emotionally-charged issues. It can also result in a lot of temptation to express those things in unhealthy ways that are harmful to myself and others.
- For many (myself included), scrolling the FB feed is spiritually and emotionally draining (even if interesting and enjoyable). This is something that needs to be taken into account since—as an addictive activity—it can quickly drain all or most of your energy.
- The experience of social media and Facebook in particular changes dramatically if you look for opportunities to express kindness and gratitude.
- The way disagreement is often handled on social media is disappointing. If I find myself too discouraged by this it’s time for me to take a break. The only way to change this culture is to model a better way and refuse to be drawn in by personal attacks and other less than civil ways of communicating. We must insist on real discussion. This, however takes emotional, mental, and spiritual energy, so I have to make sure FB is the appropriate place to spend that energy in the moment.
- FB can be fun and worthwhile in small doses, but my greatest vocational impact will not be made there so long as my primary ministry after tending to my family is in a local church. My greatest impact will be made via direct communications and in-person presence with my parishioners, not through a passive broadcast (no matter how well written, provocative, or pastoral) so I have to think about my boundaries, habits, and energy accordingly.