Oi vey, lately with Lent upon us, I find words insufficient to communicate how annoying I find it when people do things like give up Facebook as a sacrifice to the Lord. Really? That seems like such an over-spiritualization of an opportunity to truly commit something sacrificially to the Lord. How lazy. My favorite though is when that person announces to all of FB that they are doing that and then you see them get online half-way through and totally fail. Maybe you did need to give up Facebook for Lent…
I shouldn’t rejoice in people’s failures…
I can be really cynical sometimes, as I just publicly aired. I’ve designated entirely too much thought to the issue of communication and technology. I was a communications major in college and I LOVED my major. I mean not only do I love to talk but I get to talk about talking? RIGHT ON!
I’m all dinosaur-like though and it was before social networking had really grown into what it is today. Now I’m sure there are entire blocks of classes about how technology in our day drives communication and how that degenerates or improves us socially…Ooohhh…that would be a FABULOUS paper to write….
Look, we all have an opinion about social media. For those of us on Facebook we see the ebbs and flows of the whining that goes on around that very topic (and Pinterest). The bottom line is that every single person on this Earth, no matter what your culture, everyone has to decide how much information they are willing to take in, how often and how they will engage and respond. Whether you live in a hut in the jungle or San Francisco.
In fact, I bet there’s a grouchy old man in a loin cloth in some jungle complaining about how loud the drums are being beat at night.
The difference is the speed at which you have to make those decisions. The Amish believe that all those decisions distract you from God and from what He has called you to in this life. I loved a quote from an Amish documentary I recently heard. The man was saying something to the effect of “just think of all the aisles I don’t even have to walk down in a large box/department store just because those things do not apply to my life?”…Wow. So true! The decision NOT to engage in technology takes a lot of pain and frustration out of life.
I have a great friend who has made that decision and she stands firmly on it. She is not on any social media site, she checks her email probably between 3 and 5 times A YEAR, she does not own a smart phone, she does not know how/desire to know how to send a text message and her calendar consists of a book of the year with big boxes and a pencil. A #2 pencil. Not mechanical.
She is the exact same age as me. In fact, we have the same birthday and middle name. Whoa. Is it annoying that I can’t just put out a short and pithy statement to her on FB? Yup. Is it frustrating that I can’t spy on her life? Not really. Look I just know that this is how my friend approaches her life. She’s actively chosen not to participate in that side of technology because she doesn’t want her relationships to be that way. She doesn’t want short and pithy. She wants depth. So I know that I have to call her on the phone or send her a letter if I want to talk to her. And I know I should block out at LEAST one hour so we can do so. She doesn’t whine about her choice. She is fully aware that a lot of her friends have chosen to do otherwise. She just knows what she wants and what works for her, so she stands firm on her decision in how to live her life.
I respect and appreciate that so much more than the flakey-give-up-FB-for-Lent-and-not-come-through kind of person.
Social media heightens our flaws. It lets you know really quick who is needy and who is craving attention, who is awkward and can’t discern what you should and shouldn’t say on FB. But it can also be a wonderful and effective tool for communication.
Nothing will ever replace intentional, face-to-face communication. The touch of a hand, the hug from a friend, true emotion in the eyes and in actual spoken words. As a fast-paced, technological culture, I hope we realize this more and more rather than less and less. But each of us are personally and individually responsible for the levels in which we interact with communicative technology.
So make your choice. Stop whining about what everyone else’s choice is and look at your own choice. Stand in it and live in it. That speaks way louder than your eternal whine about how mad social media makes you.
And um, I’ll work on my cynicism. 😉