So, last week I decided to take a short hiatus from Social Media and blogging in order to refresh and catch up. I was supposed to take a month or so off. If you’re among the people who noticed that I had even left, you must be wondering what I am doing back here – only a week later. Well, a lot has happened in the brief time that I was away, and I have learnt some unanticipated lessons in the short time that I was away. I thought I should share them with you here. By the end of the post, you’ll understand why I’ve decided to interrupt my blogging hiatus, though I am not going to be logging into my personal Facebook profile anymore. Here are some of the painful PERSONAL lessons learnt about MY
Social Media Facebooking habits:
1. IT IS A HEART THING
I have tried the
social media Facebook fast thing before, and I’ve failed terribly. I didn’t even finish 2 days before I was dying to log in “just to see what’s going on”. In the first instance, I decided to go the whole amputation way. I disabled my Facebook account. That meant that I was inaccessible to my Facebook friends. There were many reasons why I couldn’t stay out for long. For instance, I realized that there were friends that I needed to communicate with, and readers who needed to access my notes. Only later on did it occur to me that disabling my Facebook account was a selfish way to carry out a Facebook fast. Not only is it attention-seeking, it harmed unsuspecting friends. My fast shouldn’t be my friends’ fast. It’s my heart, not theirs, that needed the medicine. That’s why this time around I decided to leave my account online but not log in. It’s a heart thing, not a technical thing. I am the one who needs to overcome this addiction, and I didn’t need to take unwilling victims in my quest.
2. IT IS IDOLATRY
Kevin DeYoung says it best, “You may not think that you’re addicted to social media. But the truth is that, if you can’t stop, you might be addicted.” There’s a lot of idolatry on Social Media (emphasis on Facebook). The prevalence of attention-seeking-disorders displayed on Facebook is appalling. I had focused so much on how other people kept drawing attention to themselves and pining for attention that I did not realize I was the biggest culprit. The worst thing about Social Media idolatry is that I am my own idol. It’s all about me. I want to be noticed. I want to be applauded. I want my status updates to be “liked”. Before I knew it, I was getting my satisfaction and self-worth in the acceptance and recognition of my Facebook friends. This was worse than letting the world define me, I had mastered the art of defining myself.
3. IT IS MANUFACTURED
Social Media Facebook encourages a culture of manufactured and superficial relationships. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing on your girlfriend’s wall, you best friend’s wall or your favorite artist’s wall. The important thing is that such public displays of relationship and knowing-each-otherness are very “public-conscious”. When I know that there are “witnesses” looking at the way I talk with my girlfriend or my friends, there’s pressure to perform. There’s pressure to act up and present a good image. No need to post your insecurities on the walls when you have private texts and inbox. The Facebook walls are for public displays of how close I am to that celebrity and how spotless my relationship is. The problem is magnified when this eventually becomes the only way that I communicate with friends. No wonder guys find a different person when they finally meet Cornell in person.
4. IT IS UNNECESSARY
Finally, a lifestyle that thrives on attention-seeking, idolatrous and manufactured relationships is no lifestyle. It is a pathetic act that provides superficial satisfaction and meaning in life. It is a vain lifestyle, one that is not worthy of all the time spent on Social Media. It’s okay, you’re allowed to log into Facebook. It is not a sin to write on your friend’s wall. God is glorified when you post those witty Bible one-liners and verses. It is all permissible, but is it beneficial to you?
Is the fact that God loved and pursued you to the point of sending His own Son to die on the Cross, not enough to make you satisfied in Him? Must you also pursue idolatrous attention from mere mortals?
Is the fact that you are a sinner saved by Grace not enough to make you honest about your weaknesses and reservations instead of projecting a false piety? Must you also deceive the world that you deserved to be saved?
Is the fact that God desires that you pursue genuine and truth-based friendships not enough to cause you to pursue genuine friendships and fellowships? Must you also put on an act of perfect friendships and first-name-basis-catchup with celebrities?
Paul’s exhortation to Titus is my exhortation to all of us:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” [Titus 2:11-14]
The reason I interrupted my blogging and tweeting hiatus is the same reason why I am NOT going to interrupt my Facebook hiatus: I don’t need to project my insecurities onto others, for I am secure in Christ. I don’t need to idolize myself, for I serve a more powerful, real God. I don’t need to draw attention to myself and my awesomeness, I exist to exalt and magnify the only awesome God. How about you?