Evaluating my use of social media

Social media is a voracious animal, always hungry, always moving, always devouring. What it mostly devours is my time and focus. I constantly fight against distraction and social media is my favoured form of procrastination. I can somehow feel that I am doing something (keeping up with friends or supporters) while actually doing nothing which is keeping me from doing anything satisfying.

This is not a new struggle for me (having first mentioned it back in 2010 and again in 2011) but the New Year, as with many other things, provides the opportunity to reflect on habits & hobbies and make adjustments where necessary.

The first thing I need to be clear on is adjusted to what? What am I aiming for? What image am I trying to attain to? It’s too easy (but true) to say that I’m hoping to attain to the image of Christ. This particular image also wants to be able run a 5k in under 20 minutes, a 10k in under 45 and finally complete a sub 4hr marathon. This particular image also wants to read hundreds of books every year, possibly even write one, watch dozens of films, master a new language, build a thriving gospel centred church in Stockholm, be a great husband, brilliant dad, learn to ski, skate, travel and play the piano effortlessly. Very few of those things would qualify as the image of Christ.

So what about social media then? Well, I use it to find interesting articles from a hugely varied set of sources, I  find inspiration and I find encouragement. Sometimes it’s just relaxing, helping follow sporting events or having a joke with friends from all over the world. Sometimes, though, it is aimless, pointless and fruitless. The goal is not necessarily to reduce or eliminate the use of social media nor to force every waking moment to somehow be effective, productive or creative. No, the aim is discern the difference between social media as an effective tool and social media as an endless distraction.

That’s not to say some habits aren’t just plain bad and need some radical readjustment – checking twitter & blogs while I’m taking my children to the park being the main one, demonstrating, ironically, both how right and wrong Microsoft was with this.

The issue then, as is almost always the case, not the technology available but the heart behind it that is the problem, my heart. A heart that is easily distracted from what is precious to what is immediate, from what is important to what is entertaining, from what is gold to things that glitter.

The first step is repentance, is acknowledging weakness and failure followed by a resetting of my gaze, onto Christ and what He has called me to. Only once I’ve done that are all the tweaks that follow of any lasting value.

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