Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Social Media: How Much Is Too Much?

Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in "muchness" and "manyness," he will rest satisfied. --Richard Foster

We live in an era earmarked by the most astounding technological advancements of all time. The winds of change in this arena over the past three decades have been nothing short of a whirlwind. What is most remarkable about all of this change and development is the sense of connection to others it has brought us. And while our ability to click a button and connect with one another across the globe through various social media most certainly has its merits, there are pitfalls that should and must be considered.

As wondrous as Facebook, Twitter and iPhones are, it is imperative that we do not allow the "noise" of these portals of community to drown out the quiet voice of our own souls and the solitude that the soul craves. Richard Foster wrote about the importance of solitude in his book "Celebration of Discipline", and it is a practice that we are in danger of losing in our hyper-connected world. We used to have quiet moments to think, reflect and still ourselves throughout the day; waiting for our dining companion in a restaurant, in the carpool line at your child's school, in the library, at the dentist office, in traffic, sitting in a coffee shop, or even while using the bathroom! But now we can Twitter, Facebook, read blogs, check e-mail or talk on the phone anytime, anywhere. Does everyone really need to know what you are doing all day every day? Could it be that we miss out on some "living" when we spend so much time "reporting" on our lives?

Please do not read into this that I am against any of these things. I do, however, think we must be very careful to control the place that these "connections" have in our lives. Silence, solitude and quiet thought is essential to our well-being, to our growth and health as Christians and as human beings.

So, ask yourself-
Are you more "connected" than you should be? When was the last time you connected

"I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up." -Pearl S. Buck


td March 25, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

Beth that is so true. It is a message more need to receive in our world of instant communication. I have to admit I turned my phone off and did not check email for 48 hours last week. It was liberating. It also was a little strange. But at the end of the day it was awesome and a great way to be able to "hear" and process.

Beth Brawley Taylor March 25, 2009 at 9:46 AM  

That is awesome! I did that when we were in Orlando recently and it was really good for me.

Cee March 26, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
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Cee March 26, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

I concur wholeheartedly Beth. On most evenings I do not view the computer or my mobile phone - my husband, my children and my own soul (and it's necessary solitude as you point out) are too important for that. I definitely organise my life so I can have solitude and am grateful my husband allows me too. He too sees the need.

Shark Bait April 3, 2009 at 6:16 PM  

Good post, and very pertinent.