I have long been fascinated with our preoccupation with celebrities in this country. I have wondered if it’s because we don’t have royals? Are we living vicariously? I think it’s a combination of those two and others. In our society where anyone can have 15 minutes of fame, the tickle and tease of being renowned is tempting for all us.
Alas, most of us are in the wings and may never achieve fame. But, have no fear, this is where social media comes to the rescue. Our avenue of fame is as close as the app on our phone. We Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram what we had for dinner, where we are, where we’re going, what we’re doing, what we think, along with a host of posts from others that we repost on our timeline. We have followers and though they are not paparazzi, they are still following us, right?
And we follow. We become “friends” with friends of friends, building our network of what really amounts to just acquaintances. We check up on our friends. Become re-acquainted with high school or college chums. Sometimes we become rather obsessed with what others are doing, or what they think.
What is social media doing to us. Are we becoming more narcissistic as a society? Someone has remarked that “social media is the cigarettes of our time.” In the 1940s, 50s, etc. when cigarettes were in their prime, just about everyone smoked, but no one asked about the long term effects of smoking. What are the long term effects of social media?
In Jurassic Park, when shown how dinosaurs were being brought back to life, Dr. Ian Malcolm remarks, Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. Are we so preoccupied with doing (could) social media that we have not stopped to think about should we be doing this?
Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. –Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park.
Everything in God’s creation is good. It tells us that in Genesis. But, right on the heels of that proclamation comes sin. Sin perverts all that it touches. It twists what might be good into it’s own counterfeit version of the truth. So social media isn’t bad in and of itself. I have reconnected with people from my past that I otherwise would not if it were not for Facebook. When we become obsessed with social media, then it becomes counterfeit.
Lastly, here’s a bit of irony. As social media becomes mainstream (90 year olds are on what was once reserved for college students) we’re also more and more concerned about our privacy. People refuse to give their email addresses at check out. They put tape over their computer cameras for fear that someone is watching them. Yet, and here’s the irony, they post everything about their lives on social media. Houses are robbed because people have posted they are on vacation. Cars are repossessed because the repo man monitors social media. Perhaps this is the biggest bit of irony: we are more concerned with what we post on social media than our “followers” or “friends” are—very few, if any, people care what you had for your last meal, where it was or who you were with.
…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you so that you may walk properly before outsiders be dependent on no one. –1 Thessalonians 4:11-12