Writing Challenge Day One: Five Problems With Social Media
This is funny, because I very much have a love/hate relationship with social media. Looking at my life, one would assume Social Media and I are seriously tight. I mean, you’ll rarely catch me without my phone at my fingertips. I check notifications from Facebook and Twitter within a few minutes. I usually know what’s going on in the public lives of my friends within moments of them posting. I use it to communicate with friends, promote my writing, find out what’s new in the world. And I actually don’t think all things about social media are bad.
Yeah, some people say it encourages shallow friendships and phoniness, and in many cases, sure - true enough. But it also allows you to stay in close and frequent contact with friends who are at a distance and with friends who, due to the busyness of life, you may have otherwise lost touch with. It allows you to send quick messages of support, of prayer, of warmth. It allows you to engage in interesting conversations on topics you may have not had an opportunity to otherwise discuss. These can all be good things. But, of course, as with most things in life, what can be a positive thing can also have limitations and drawbacks. Social media is no exception. Here are my top five.
5) Can be an addictive time waster
With so much social media, it’s easy to get caught up in scrolling through - news, updates from friends, drama - all of it can be interesting and entertaining and… completely mind numbing. Hours can seriously slip by while caught in the web of updates… Sometimes I’ll find myself on Facebook and have no idea how I got there.
4) A potential platform for unsupported opinions and misinformation
This is a pet peeve of mine. People will post and repost the most ridiculous and inflammatory stuff - usually in the form of some unsupported article. From politics to health to childcare… the eye-rolling, head shaking, and painfully stupid stuff out there is never ending. And if one makes the foolish mistake to comment on it… well, then an ugly, silly debate ensues. Ugh.
3) Sometimes encourages narcissism and voyeurism
Look at me! Look at me! LOOK AT ME!!!! Look how much personal growth and introspection I have. Look at my awesome family. Look at how fit I am. Look at how comfortable in my own skin I am. Look at my perfect, fun, life. Look at me. Look at me! LOOK AT ME!!!!
Listen, it’s okay not to post EVERY SINGLE THING that pops into your head. It may not feel like it at the time, but there are some things your 750 “friends” don’t need to...probably shouldn’t...know.
1) Distracts one from being present
I think the very worst thing about social media is that it can distract me from being present with the people in my life. It feels terrible to look up from my phone and realize one of the kids was trying to talk to me and I just...didn’t hear them. That is not okay. And it’s one of the reasons I am striving to create more distance from my phone and spend less time on social media.
Because being present matters. It really does. And when social media gets in the way of that, I think that’s the biggest problem of all.