The Age of Social Media

The Age of Social MediaAccording to the Global Web Index 2013 study, there are currently over 500 million registered Twitter accounts and 359 million monthly active Google users. The stats go on and on compiling information from Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and more. One can only conclude that it’s working. If the goal was to connect us, technology has certainly exceeded its goal. We can virtually, all day long, check in on multiple sites with each other on any topic we choose. How we’re feeling, what we’re eating, what we’re photographing, who we’re angry with, who we’re in love with…it’s a bit like Kramer said in a favorite Seinfield episode, “I’m out there Jerry, and I’m lovin’ it!

So where is it all going? What are we going to do with this freedom to report to the world around us all that our hearts are beating for in real time? This is the big question and, to some degree, all we have to do is look around in order to answer it. It is not uncommon at all to see a couple sitting at a restaurant two feet across the table from one another on their smart phones typing away; faces down, fingers at work, fast and furious to get the next thought out or to read the latest Facebook story. What in the world is happening here?

We can laugh and even confess how ridiculous of a scene this is but the truth is, we’re hooked; or at least most of us are.

Now, rewind that scene to say…1970, before the first e-mail was ever sent. A couple enters a restaurant holding hands instead of phones, maybe laughing a bit as they go over the events of the day. They quietly sit down and continue their conversation amidst the ambiance of the room, not the world. It’s private between the two of them; no one else is allowed in. Not a relative from California or an old schoolmate from Pittsburgh. Just Mr. and Mrs. so and so…and that’s it. The “do not disturb” sign is in place and dinner is served. Whew, that sounds nice doesn’t it?

Social media is a rather large topic to tackle in 500 words or less, but I think most would agree that as wonderful as it is, the downside is significant. Ironically, we are connecting and disconnecting at the same time. Unless we are incredibly disciplined about when we socialize through media, we are usually connecting with someone at the expense of the person who actually chose to spend time with us. We are habitually escaping our current location in exchange for another, and our current companion for a cyber replacement. There is no denying that there is some self serving going on here that has the making of a disaster with regard to relationships.
There are many things that compete for our time on a daily basis, but God desires that we have good fellowship, not just with him but with one another. See Hebrews 10:25 which says, “not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing [those wretched smart phone addicts!] but encouraging each other.”

So fellow Twitter hitter, the next time you and I actually have a human sitting across the table from us, let’s extend a hand in the opposite direction of our phone and do some real connecting.
Nothing communicates love to another better than the gift of our undivided attention.

Robin is a singer and published songwriter. She is currently enjoying being an at home mom and serving her husband and three step children. Follow her on Twitter at @robinmahria or email her at [email protected].

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