Imagine this commercial:
Our product will give you access to the most stressful, anxiety-inducing, anger-arousing events going on both near and far! You will know more than you ever wanted to know and be powerless to do anything about it!Sign up for free today so that we can stalk and monetize your online behavior!
Who wants to sign up? Apparently 2.6 billion of us. This is the basic experience and business model of social media. Why do we do this? Humanity is an utter mystery sometimes.
I’m not going to do some deep dive on how social media works, I want to do an ultra-practical exercise together. Let’s examine what social media is doing to us.
Examining the Fruit
How often are the following characteristics produced in your heart based on your use of social media? Answer each item with this simple scale: Rarely, Sometimes, Often
Now let’s do that again but with a second set of characteristics.
- Fits of anger
I’ll share my answers as an example. Social media rarely produces in me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In contrast, I am often tempted to enmity, strife, fits of anger, dissensions and divisions. (I’m not above idolatry, jealousy or envy, those just aren’t my social media experience).
I have a strong suspicion that your experience is similar to mine.
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Why are we so actively living in social media environments that have become so toxic to our souls? Imagine you were swimming in a lake only to discover that the lake was actually contaminated with sewage. What would be your response? You’d get out of the lake right?
The social media “lake” is toxic with the sewage of our souls and that of broader humanity. What should our response be? How about we get out of the lake?
I’d like to propose two options for addressing social media’s impact on you:
- Strictly limit your use of social media. Consider dropping your use of social media to once a week or once a month even. Remove the apps from your phone and just check at specific times for limited amounts of time. See if you don’t feel an almost guaranteed change in your stress, anger, anxiety and the like. Double bonus if you replace the bad fruit with things like love, joy, peace, etc.
How could this be a bad decision?
- Delete your social media accounts altogether. Oooh, that was edgy just to read, wasn’t it?
Do what? You’re crazy. Everyone is on these platforms! If everyone is swimming in the sewage then I’m going to swim in sewage too!
But seriously, think about it. Now, this decision deserves a little more nuance. Different platforms might have different effects on you. For me, Facebook is like poison. Twitter is like a really stressful friend. Instagram is kind of nice. And so on. Ask yourself what the fruit of each platform is in your heart. If the fruit is benign, okay great.
But if the fruit is indisputably and unceasingly sewage, then why keep the account?
Here’s your summary:
- The fruit of social media seems to be lopsidedly bad for most of us
- Why would we ever voluntarily do that to ourselves?
- Let’s do something substantial to rid our lives of the poisonous fruit we’ve been gorging on for way. too. long.
As for me, I’m pretty excited about a new chapter of digital life. I’m imagining the lack of stress and anger, the lack of fluff and distraction, and you know what?
It sounds really nice.
What do you think? Leave a comment or question below!