Social media has such a bad name these days. There’s even a term for people who seem to be on social media all the time – whether posting, liking, commenting, or stalking. Yes, beware, you may have the FOMO Syndrome – Fear of Missing Out.
For all the accusations agains social media, it’s not good or evil in itself, is it? Take this quote, “money is the root of all evil,” or is it “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Yes, the original quote actually does point to the love of money, not money itself that is the root of evil. Money in and of itself is neither evil or good. It does not have a spiritual or moral compass. It is simple a tool we use in our modern day economic system. In the same way, social media is a tool for communication. It was not invented or developed to lead you to a place of sin and vices. Originally, electronic mail which eventually evolved into what we now know as the internet before it was made known to the common man was a military and government communication tool and online database system. Then, from the simple and no-nonsense online forums, today’s more sophisticated online social platforms evolved. Social media platforms gave opportunities for strangers to connect via messaging systems and chat rooms, and it opened a new world of communication to connect the world. True globalisation at the personal level. So how did social media become labeled as the root of the woes of modern society.
There is a good and bad way to use anything. Name it – your phone, computer, money, knives, chocolate, your time, whatever it is. The question is how you are using it. Shall we be discerning in how that particular item was intended to be used and how that tool can add value to yourself and others? I think that if we ask ourselves that question about anything, we would be able to draw a line to warn us of excessive behaviour. I won’t be going into any details of the negative effects of excessive use of social media. There have been an excess of articles written about that, especially linked to depression and suicide. So there are certainly serious precautions we need to heed when using social media or when we open that door to our children.
Here is my defence of it and why I truly appreciate social media. For instance,I’ve been able to connect with old friends and a teacher from primary school from three decades ago. Without facebook, I would still wonder today what happened to them. I’ve literally now pretty much reconnected with everyone in my 2nd to 4th grade classes! One of the best things that has happened is that I’ve reconnected with my all-time favorite teacher from 4th grade. I’ve mentioned her periodically to friends about this amazing woman who encouraged and loved a shy and quiet girl. I knew that she believed in me and I had always wondered how she was and where in the world she is. Initially when we first reconnected, I discovered that she was battling cancer and today is cancer free! What a gift and joy to be able to witness her journey.
People who are always on their phones often get judged that they are unproductive and wasting their time. But before you judge that young woman sitting across from you in the train, may be ask yourself, who she may be connecting to? Is it a long distance relationship she is nourishing through a messaging app? Is she composing an encouraging message or prayer to a sick loved one far away? Or is she spending her time researching an article for work or school? In any case, we should really stop judging what others are doing in their own time. For some people, it’s a way to relieve stress by watching Korean drama on YouTube, capture a reflective thought with tweet, shop online, read gossip columns in LINE, or post selfies to Instagram.
I’m attracted to social media for a variety of reasons. Social media is great for spreading ideas. It’s a free platform to be heard and be known. Social media is a great leveller of connectivity. You can connect with like-minded people anywhere in the world. You can build relationships with friends from all over the globe and learn anything from wherever you are with an internet connection. Supportive communities for your niche is carved out in social media. Much needed encouragement is found on sites that add value to people who don’t have anyone to turn to in their nearby community. Small brands and business finally have a chance to share their story in a very targeted, personal and relevant way without having to muster up a ridiculous media budget. Students are crowd-funded to continue an educational pursuit or entrepreneurial dream.
So for the love of social media and the beauty that can come from it, I encourage you to appreciate social media and use it properly and with wisdom and truly be social. Use it at a depth that is meaningful in connecting and serving others well.