Social Media affects everything. It is everywhere in our world:
- at home,
- at the store,
- at school,
- at restaurants,
- at work, and
- in our pockets.
Social media is with us and around us all the time. The truth is…IT IS AFFECTING US! But how? The social media gurus want us to think that social media is strictly positive, and great for everyone and everything. They want us to think that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and texting) are all about building relationships and passing on information.
But is social media really causing us to relate more and give good information? If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all say we have at least once felt, that while we are overly connected by social media, there is still an underlying feeling of being alone, depressed, and unconnected. In light of this reality, we are in the middle of a five week study here at Preacherontherun to examine how social media affects us. We are looking at five areas in which social media affects our views: relationships, words, time, self, and truth. Today we continue with Social Media: How it affects our view of Time.
Time is money. So the saying goes. But if that is true, then what are we buying or what are we saving up? We are told in Ephesians 5:15-16 to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Paul warns us here that we have a responsibility to be careful how we walk. The walk Paul is referring to is not how we put one foot in front of the other, but rather our lifestyle and how we choose to spend our time. Yes, how we CHOOSE to spend it. He goes on to challenge us to make the best use of the time…THE BEST USE! But how much of social media is causing us to make the BEST USE of time? The reality is social media almost always costs us valuable time we should be spending or should have spent elsewhere. It is as if we get in a time warp, let me give you an example.
1) I get on with intentions of writing someone happy birthday or responding to a message. 2) I end up scrolling through the first so many lines of updates, etc. 3) I see a great photo, quote, or post by someone. 4) I click into the post, whether it be a 3 minute long YouTube video, or photos that take me 5 minutes to get through them all. 5) I close that post and continue scrolling. 6) 10 minutes later I finally scroll back to the top, only now forgetting what I originally got on to do, or who I was originally intending to message. 7) I scroll through the feed one more time to help jog my memory (my way of justifying it). 8) I finally remember who I was messaging, message them, and return to the homepage. 9) One of their pictures/status’ catch my attention and I look through their wall. 10) They have a 4 minute video, so I watch it. 11) I see a link by that video that leads me to another article to read. 12) Finally 30 minutes or more later I realize I just spent a ½ hour to do what really would have taken me 2 minutes. Am I the only one whose social media experience is like this? Statistics tell me otherwise.
Needless to say, that is also not making THE BEST USE OF THE TIME, as Paul and God calls us to be doing. But there is a larger problem here. Most of social media is just entertainment, keeping up on others statuses or the newest gossip. There is very little (unless we are intentional about it) productivity going on in the social media worlds of YouTube, Facebook, twitter, etc. Which leads to what Solomon warned against in Proverbs 24:30-34. Solomon warns us that laziness and unproductivity brings poverty. Now I am not saying there is no place for entertainment and some social media, but what takes up the majority of our time? – Are we watching more TV, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter accounts, than we are productively growing in Christ likeness (Psalm 1:1-2) and glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). Our ultimate goal and all areas of life, including social media, should be used timely to glorify God and spread the gospel whereby people come to know Christ as Savior.
As I argued from the beginning, social media affects everything. And one of the major areas of our lives and thinking it affects is our time. Social media has changed the way we utilize time. But the final question must be: are we utilizing our social media to the “best use of the time”? Stop by next week where we will discuss how Social Media affects our view on self. In case you missed it Social Media: How it affects us (Relationships) or Social Media: How it affects us (Words) you can find them here.