Imagine a world without social media…
There would be no computer warriors championing various causes from the safety of their keyboards. There would also be no in-fighting between groups of people, often the result of one of them feeling left out of something. It would also be more difficult to compare one life to another’s.
In essence, life would go back to the way it was for decades. Of course, there would still be issues. However, according to many experts, laying off social media would make many people happier than their present state. Why is that? Is social media really that bad?
Well, yes and no. Social media isn’t in and of itself bad, but the importance many put upon it isn’t healthy and is causing problems.
Why Social Media is Equated with Unhappiness
The fact that social media by nature connects so many peoples’ lives to others allows them to see the highlight reel of everyone’s lives. This selective sharing doesn’t give a true picture of peoples’ lives, but it creates enough of an image that other people begin to feel discontented if their lives don’t measure up comparatively. They might even begin to consider themselves a failure.
This comparison can cause all sorts of self-esteem, depression and anxiety issues, especially in younger people who aren’t mature enough to understand that people “filter” what they show on social media.
Social Media Feeds Aren’t a True Synopsis
Not many social media users post photos or comments about a bad day, a fight with their spouse, or not having enough money left in the budget to buy their children a new toy. Those items don’t often make it onto the pages of social media. Instead, only carefully chosen photos with good lighting and all the greatest highlights of a phenomenal vacation are what others see.
This false narrative is, in essence, causing people to judge their “behind the scenes life” against others “highlight reels.” This is a contest no one can win because everyone has bad days on occasion. Of course, as with virtually everything in life, there are some good elements mixed into social media, meaning it isn’t all bad…
Benefits of Social Media
There are some good aspects of social media platforms like Facebook. Sharing photos of kids with family members who live states away, keeping up with old high school friends whom otherwise would have drifted away and other such uses are beneficial.
Social media can even become a type of community. However, the “community” created by such platforms isn’t a true community. In fact, according to a Christian Headlines article, it is just a sad substitution for the real thing. Not to mention the fact that social media feeds can get downright rude and mean from time-to-time.
True Community Isn’t Found Online
No matter how many other social media platforms pop up, they will be no substitution for the real, God-intended role of community.
A true community allows people to be themselves. It sees individuals at their worst and instead of beating them down even more, reaches down to help them rise up. This true community is actually the role of the church.
A Christ-teaching church will allow people to be their true selves. It will support them when things are difficult. It will help meet their needs when finances get tight and provide opportunities for companionship and fellowship among believers. It will even challenge their preconceived beliefs, ensuring their faith is grounded in sound doctrine. This is how the church community should be. It isn’t how many of them are; however, which obviously explains why so many individuals reach out to networks like social media to fill the missing hole in their lives where a church community should reside.
It is obvious that God did place such a desire inside of people to group together, share and to be understood. It’s just not social media’s place to meet this need.
No social media platform is without its issues, no matter how great. This is because no social media platform, no matter how open, encouraging or useful can take the place of the community created by a healthy local church. That is why it’s important for believers to look at social media as a tool they use to keep in contact with others and not as a substitute for the time-tested, God-intended community of their church.
~ 1776 Christian