My brother-in-law commented on my first post for LifeWay Social with, “Social media has permanently killed humanity … not to mention books!!” I think there is something to this.
Not the books part – it’s interesting, but I have no clue about that.
The killing humanity part, there’s something to that.
Social has rarely (if ever) been accused of being a well-spring of abundant joy… Shoot if it is ever accused of anything, it’s as the illustration of bad examples.
What my brother-in-law is on to is what I’ve talked with parents about when it comes to letting their children use social media. The problem is not just social media. For parents, social media uncovers something deeper, it uncovers the trust relationship between them and their children. Is their relationship strong enough to bear the dangers and pitfalls of social?
For humanity, social media does something similar. It uncovers something deeper, it uncovers our brokenness.
As Christians, we believe there is sin in every member of humanity. This brokenness runs deep. It whispers to us that things are not the way their supposed to be, and attempts to make things right by filling a void with anything and everything that might just work.
In social media, we see it as the desire to be right. The desire of our political party to fulfill our longings. Or for our life to look like their life – or maybe theirs. Pinterest helps fuel the desire for neat and tidy. Instagram helps us show the best while avoiding the ugly. Twitter lets us boil arguments that demand nuance to 140 characters (and now 280). Technology in total is desiring to progress more than it is desiring to be ethically and morally right.
The fall of humanity into sin shattered us, and we are constantly developing new and innovative ways to try and cover that up. But even in our attempts to cover it up, we accidentally – as in the case of social media – come upon a tool that actually uncovers the brokenness in an amazingly tangible way.
So, while I don’t quite think social media has killed humanity, it has unveiled a portion of what is killing humanity, sin.
Again, going back to that first post, believers are offered to opportunity to push back the fall (after a fashion) on social by building God’s kingdom rather than our own platform. There is great advantage to getting the message of the gospel (both in its essence and its implications), out using this tool.
So, the question is put to you again, how are you using social media?
Sam Morris, is the Electronic Marketing Specialist for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife have one son.