This post is evidence that I enjoy and take advantage of the positive benefits of social media, HOWEVER, a few weeks ago I posted this picture on my Facebook page along with the following text:
“Every soul at the gate isolated & absorbed in a device. I could’ve been naked and no one would have noticed.”
The picture and text must have touched a nerve because I received over 120 comments.
Then I got an insightful and thought provoking photo from follower, Joe Caggiano. Please read further to see Joe’s photo and my deeper comments on the issue of social media.
I promise that I am fully clothed in all photos!!
The comments I received after posting that photo ranged from one that asserted that I was breaking the law by taking the picture, and I was being very “un-Jesus like” by “mocking” these people – to comments from people who agreed with my thinking but begged me to keep my clothes on.
Most people who responded expressed sincere concern that social media with all its wonderful benefits, often keeps us from seeing the world around us and from enjoying the beauty of real life interaction.
- I heard from grandparents and parents who confessed that their beloved little ones don’t play outside or have conversations, or even watch TV together anymore because they are buried in a device.
- One parent I talked with was concerned because her teenage son had no social life, attended no activities, had no friends. When she confronted him, he countered by showing her that he had 32 friends on Facebook.
- I have no problem with Facebook or Instagram, or any of the legitimate connectors that social media offers. However, when virtual relationships replace face to face relationships, my spirit says something is wrong.
When a child or an adult works and plays and finds entertainment and fulfillment only on the internet, something is wrong.
- Recently I took my daughter, her husband and our two grandsons to lunch at one of those oriental restaurants where the food is prepared on a grill just inches from your face. There was fire, smoke, eggs thrown in the air, cooking implements expertly juggled, and food chopped with lightning speed.Across from us sat a family with two parents and three boys. The entire experience takes about an hour. Except when they were forced to order their food, the family didn’t speak a word to one another. They missed the entire performance because they were consumed by whatever they were doing on their devices.
- Recently a woman passed us on the freeway. A glance revealed she was texting. As she passed, she left the road driving over 60 miles per hour and hit a telephone pole without ever touching the brakes.
- I watched a teenager walk right into a street lamp. She was absorbed in texting.
- I have found myself and my wife sitting at a meal eating with one hand and checking our “messages” with the other hand.
Then I got this picture from Joe.
Joe’s picture raises this question: is social media just one of the many harmless distractions that have kept us from real relationships throughout history?
I would argue that one can finish reading the newspaper. where as social media is a bottomless pit, every icon luring us to a new distraction from real life.
Certainly the invention of television drove a wedge into ancient activities like, conversation, exploring ideas together, playing games that require more than digital dexterity. Yet we often watch television together.
Am I wrong to be saddened as I watch six grandchildren sitting in the same room, absorbed for hours on devices, oblivious to the sunshine outside, the dog begging to be petted, the trampoline waiting for a jumper?
I’m not mocking anyone. I have an opinion and I sincerely want to know what you think. I really want to know if I am just an old fogey out of touch with reality or if our society is becoming so virtually oriented that we have become blinded to flesh and blood relationships.
Is this healthy? Is it right? Am I wrong to be so concerned about it? Are you guilty occasionally like I am? I will value your comments. [reminder]
NOTE: Please be nice and don’t tell me I am not very much like Jesus. I already know that… but I continue to try.
If you are interested in how God used social media read below the dotted line. I would value your comments on that perspective as well.
- When God wanted to communicate ten rules to live by he used the first tablet. It was made of stone.” People were amazed. It got their attention and it worked just fine. However many of Moses’ friends were quite offended when he kept glancing at it during dinner.
- When God wanted to call Moses into service, he released a new communication device, “a burning bush.” This amazing device used vocal communication. Although the idea never caught the attention of the Jewish market, Moses certainly got the message. Centuries later Samsung would explore the “burning” aspect of this device.
- When God wanted to warn a nation of impending national disaster, he released a stunning version of the iPad, the iWall. He demonstrated the iWall at a large gathering where a finger wrote an ominous message on a screen the size of a wall.
- When God wanted to give the Israelites directions to the promise land, he released the burning GPS. God’s pillar of fire had a guidance system that worked day or night. It even had a recalculating feature.
- But when God wanted to demonstrate his love for us, when he wanted to extend the possibility of real relationship with himself, it required nothing less than flesh meeting flesh.
- God in the flesh, though he had in times past communicated by prophets and all means of gadgetry, now communicated through the living flesh of his son. Now the tablets and burning bushes and pillars of fire were replaced with noisy dinners, hearty embraces, personal touch and finally, holy blood spilled on barren ground.
I am so glad God didn’t text, e-mail, twitter, blog or Facebook his message of love. If he were living on earth today he might have used those methods to announce his coming, and keep record of his being here, but, only the incarnation, the appearance of God in the flesh could consummate the relationship he desires with us.
I maintain that social media’s greatest contribution is the entrée it creates for real relationships, but those relationships are only consummated when flesh touches flesh. I have many social media friends, my greatest joy comes when we look each other in the eye, shake hands and break bread together.
I am so grateful for my cyber friends. Until I die, I will cherish each opportunity to look into the faces of people I have only known by their ability to weave words together. I want to hold their hand, hear their voice and begin our walk as real friends. That includes you!
Love you and value your comments. [reminder]