Tag Archives: social media

Why I thought about leaving Social Media (And why I did not)

I think everyone can relate to the love-hate relationship that is social media.  I’ve been on social media for almost 15 years.  Over that time, I’ve connected with people from my past and present that I wouldn’t have been able to without social media.  There is no doubt that it has been an amazing tool.

But there have been some issues in the last few years.

  • Facebook’s feed algorithm is a joke.  I see the same 25 people’s posts every time I get on the site.  I have 840 friends. The number of friends is not the point. The point is that I’m not even seeing 25% of the posts my friends make.  And recently, Facebook got rid of lists, which allowed me to quickly check for updates from certain groups of people, like family.  Now, I don’t know if they post unless I go to each profile individually.  I don’t have time for that.
  • Instagram’s feed is going the same direction.  I get constant comments from people I follow, especially ones that depend on social media for their livelihood, that their followers don’t see their feeds.  This has led to a lot of Instagrammers completely relying on Stories but those are getting so congested, making it longer and longer for me to watch in one sitting.  And I don’t have time for that, either.
  • Twitter is getting congested with retweets and sponsorship links.  Plus, there are a lot of people I follow who get really caught up in the vitriol and drama of the internet.  While I started following some people for the encouraging, yet challenging, posts, a lot of their more recent stuff has just been reactionary.  I actually like Twitter’s format the most, but it sometimes feels like I’m not connecting with anyone on there, just shouting into the ether, and like I said already, no time for any of that.

With all the frustrations I had been experiencing, I really felt compelled to just leave it all behind.

In September 2018, I removed the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger app from my phone on a whim (why two apps are required is just ridiculous).  Last year, I continued with the impulsive decisions.  I stopped using social media on Sundays (with a few exceptions sprinkled throughout the year) and I deleted my Twitter app from my phone. 

A lot of these decisions were influenced by wanting to be present with my active son.  But it was also influenced by the fact that I lost track of time when I was on these accounts. Just think about all of the other things on my to-do list that could have been done in that time.

And if I felt energized or motivated after the time spent on these sites, then that would be one thing, but I usually don’t.  And this is not a judgment on anyone else’s social media use.  I just know that what I’m doing with my use was simply not working.  And I needed to make a change.

But I realized I couldn’t leave.  Not completely.  Facebook groups are utilized on a regular basis by my neighborhood, church, and community.  If I want to stay connected to these places and people I care about, I need to stay on these sites to some extent.

It’s not the people I was wanting to leave.  It’s the sites, themselves.  So, heading into this new year, here’s the plan.

  • I am not going to deactivate anything this year.  But I am going to be purging a lot of the accounts I follow and reassessing how I want to use these sites moving forward.  I’m hoping that by culling back, it will help with those algorithms, among other issues.
  • I am keeping both Twitter and Facebook off of my phone.  I can still use my laptop, but it does naturally limit the amount of time I can spend on them.
  • I will continue to fast from social media on Sundays.
  • I am moving the phone charger away from my bedside table, so I don’t use it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. 

I may add to this list as I move throughout the year.  I don’t want it to get complicated, though.  Simplicity is actually my main motivator in all of this.  I just hope I can use these changes, or maintain the changes I’ve already made, to pursue a happier, healthier, more productive, and ironically, a better connected life.  I guess we shall see.

Summer Study: Ephesians 4

I’m studying the book of Ephesians this summer.  Click here for Chapter 1Chapter 2, and Chapter 3.

 

Ephesians4

I try not to get too political on my blog.  There are definitely things I feel strongly about when it comes to politics, but I also feel like in this climate, not much is heard clearly and too much is being said.

This chapter in Ephesians talked about unity, something we desperately need in the church, maybe even in our country, but I want to focus on the church because that’s what Paul is talking about.  Starting in verse 14, he says:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.

I’ve seen people talk about the truth without love, and I’ve seen people talk about love without truth.  It makes me realize that this is a time for discerning, not in some legalistic way, but in a way that speaks towards growing up in Christ.  If I’m not becoming like Christ more each day, then I’m just chasing after the latest blog or podcast that makes me feel something, letting my emotions guide me instead of the Spirit.

I’m not saying that you can’t be led by the Spirit through a blog article or a podcast, but I’m saying that even these good things can become an idol.

In this same line of thought, Paul talks about the things these Ephesians needed to let go of in order to be in Christ, to “be made new in the attitude of your minds.”

The two things that stood out to me the most were the “in your anger do not sin” and “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.”  So I want to unpack that a bit.

He mentions anger twice in this chapter.  First, in verse 26 and 27 and then also in verse 31.  He doesn’t say that anger is a sin.  Anger is a response to injustice.  It is very much needed in our world.  But allowing anger to take hold of you, to root down deep and grow into bitterness, rage, even brawling and slander, that’s where it gets dangerous.

When I lost my daughters, I was never angry at God, but I was angry.  I have been angry at a society that doesn’t recognize the pain that pregnancy loss brings.  I have been angry at the thoughtlessness of other people’s comments or actions that heap coals on already suffering women.  And when I don’t let go of that anger, bitterness roots in deep and vomits out of my mouth in slews of judgment and pettiness.  It’s not pretty, folks.  And that kind of anger can divide.  I know why Paul mentions it twice.

Then he talked about the unwholesome talk, which I always thought was about profanity, but the second half of that verse talks about something different:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

This isn’t about profanity.  This is about being critical without kindness, gossiping and venting to other people, talking without the expectation to listen.  It’s helping others according to their needs, not yours.  It’s a humble way of having a conversation. It isn’t about how right you are, it’s about helping a person who is already ready to listen. How many times have we seen on social media the back and forth vitriol that never seems to amount to anything more than an unfollow or unfriend?

And also, just as a side note, sharing the crazy to talk about how crazy it is to friends who already know that it’s crazy doesn’t seem to be helpful or building up anyone in particular.  It just seems to be meant to tear everyone down, and again, divide us into groups who are yelling into the ether with no real desire to listen to one another at all.

This chapter really convicted me this week, and for this week, I’m going to use the last verse as my mantra wherever I go.  I hope you will do this with me.  I have it in the picture below that you can print off and tape to your mirror, which is what I’m going to do.  Let’s be people of unity, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness this week so we can grow more into the image of our big brother, Jesus.

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