When the time comes, where they combine all social media outlets into one super-site, namely “MyFaceYouTwit,” perhaps I would buy into it… but until then I have my life consumed by just one venue: Facebook. We are so used to being instantly connected with everyone via impersonal forms of communication. It may be nice to know if my uncle says he is “on the porch right now!” if I happened to have misplaced my uncle. However it seems there may be better uses for my time than browsing through a never-ending, perpetually updating, and often misrepresentative statuses of people in my virtual network of friends.
Don’t get me wrong. I am on Facebook a lot. Far more than I should be. Part of my job as a web developer means integrating Facebook likes and shares into websites I’m developing and testing that functionality. I would try to make this my justification for being on it so much, except that in my free time I am right back on it! Am I addicted? Perhaps. Sometimes we laugh at the concept of someone being “addicted to Facebook,” yet addictions can be formed with anything one has an unhealthy attachment to.
Addictions are a form of idolatry. An idol is simply something that you devote a lot of time to, revere, and trust in more than the almighty God of heaven and earth. Some of America’s idols are celebrities, material goods and wealth, entertainment, food, internet, etc… But all of these periphery “things” point to the true source of our idolatry = ourselves. Is it wrong to be amused by celebrities? No. Is it wrong to have material goods and wealth? No. Is going on Facebook wrong, or indicative of idolatry? No! However, if someone looked at your life (what you focus your time, focus, reliance, and pleasure on) – what would they find?
Sometimes I feel like I need to post and/or read my quota of status updates per day. Everyone posts and reads posts on Facebook, and I want to be a part of this ‘status quo’ to get my ‘status quota’ so to speak. If you were to ask me point blank, “are there more important things in life than Facebook?” my answer would be “of course!” Yet, an objective observer of my day would find that an obscene amount of time is spent on Facebook – indicating that this social networking venue is what’s truly important to me.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that real life events are MORE than simply the comments I get on its FB photo album. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and think of what my status should be. Sometimes I take pictures on my phone with the sole intent of seeing how many comments I can receive on it once I post to Facebook. We are so comfortable divulging tons of personal information about ourselves on Facebook, and yet Americans pray to God less and less.
Perhaps God wants status updates from us. Not through Facebook, but prayer. Maybe it seems like a cheesy concept, but relationships require communication and sharing. Humanly, its difficult to be engaged in conversation with someone who is generally intangible and invisible, especially when we’re so used to audio and visual feedback. However, if we spent as much time telling God about our day, our goals, our feelings, and our ‘likes’ as we do telling the nebulous blob of our intangible social network, then I think that we’d all be much better off!
It may not seem exciting to this A.D.D generation of young people raised on video games and smartphones to simply ‘pray and meditate.’ Meditation does not have to mean sitting on a rug with our legs all folded up and chanting “omm” in a melancholy drone. Meditation means thinking about an idea, entity, or groups of ideas while blocking out other distractions. Sometimes, that is really what we tend to do with social media. We could all benefit from meditating about God’s ways and His word a bit more in our lives.
So, while you’re out on the web getting your status quo of statuses – remember to send them to God as well. Share your thoughts on a wall ‘not made with hands’ and on a ‘timeline’ that had no start and will have no end. Try this and perhaps you’ll see more notifications in your life from the Creator of life!