I am currently on a social media hiatus. You could call it a detox. I realize that may sound strange since I am writing this article. I know blogging is a form of social media. But it’s really just Facebook and Twitter that I am breaking from for a while. Let me explain.
I have wanted to do this for a while, but there have been a couple of legitimate things that have kept me from taking the plunge. The first is that social media is the way I stay in contact with some of my friends. I participate in a discussion group on Facebook Messenger that is an encouragement to my soul. That group has been one of the blessings of social media for me. The other reason I was hesitant to step back from social media for a while is my role as a pastor. As most pastors do, I use social media to let people know about upcoming events and activities at our church. I sometimes share thoughts related to my sermon for the week as well.
There is no doubt that there are some very good things about social media. I have been able to stay in contact with friends from high school and college. I have been able to meet new people that I did not know previously. Social media also allows me to connect with church members in real ways during the week when we are not at church. I certainly don’t intend to throw the baby out with the bath water. Social media can be a great blessing in a number of ways.
However, social media has also been a curse for me. The worst is the way it drains my time. Social media has stolen countless hours of my life. By stolen, I don’t mean that I am not culpable or that I think there is some sinister plot by the creators of Facebook to rob me of my time. I simply mean that social media has a way of sucking you in and causing you to waste your time without you even realizing it in the moment.
I will never get those hours back. It has taken time that I could have been spending with my kids. I mean real time. Time down on the floor playing rather than sitting in my chair looking at my phone. I’ve lost time that could have been spent having real conversations with my wife instead of exchanging memes and laughing emojis on our phones.
Social media has also taken time that I should have been focusing on work. My productivity level has already been higher this week since I shut down my social media accounts Sunday night. It’s part of the reason I have time to write this article. I’m not mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Twitter. I’m getting my work done.
The drain on my time is the primary reason I have stepped away from social media for a while. But another way social media has been a curse in my life is that it often draws attention to and exacerbates disagreement. This is true when discussing SBC issues with fellow pastors. It’s also true when it comes to politics or a host of other issues that threaten to create division in my relationships with the people I love. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the days when it wasn’t anyone else’s business which candidate you voted for in the last election.
I’ve learned a lot of things from a lot of people through social media. There’s no doubt that my interaction with others on Facebook and Twitter has shaped me in ways that I cannot possibly begin to calculate or evaluate. Much of it good. Though I haven’t set a specific timeline for my hiatus, I expect I will be back on social media at some point. I’m not quite ready to completely dismiss the connectivity that social media provides. I haven’t become a Social Media Pharisee. You do you.
But for me, I need a break.