What The Social Media Did Not Tell Me About Social Media

Posted on July 8, 2019

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What The Social Media Did Not Tell Me About Social Media

Have you ever heard the word ‘Post-truth’? Perhaps you have, perhaps you have not, but in the society in which we live, a malleable sense of truth creates false realities; whether media spin, non truth, or biases that have been accepted by political tactics, as long as they line up with the objectives of those speaking them. But the sad part is that many have been led to believe that these non truths have actually become things that they need to live by.

The lamentable conclusion is that there is no such thing as truth in the public arena of discourse, nor any telling it as it is. And this is the danger that we face on one hand, politicians spinning the things that they want you to hear, and the media, because of the large numbers they want to sell their news to; no one is able to tell you precisely, and you cannot also decipher what is the truth and what is a lie.

Political candidates of all strides all seek to influence their followers through spin and bias. The news and politicians support each other. But sadly, the church also is following in the same path, where it is the pastor’s opinion or interpretation that counts. Where then is the truth?

The idea that illusion and falsehood can be peddled for truth did not just start today. It started in the Garden of Eden when Satan the father of lies said, “Has God said?” This idea of people trying to colour the truth and taking away the boundary between lies and truth is what we are talking about when we speak about post-truth.

The greatest media for spreading Post-truth ideologies is the social media. On the other hand, the greatest media for propagating truth is the word of the God. The word of God leads to life; Post-truth leads to the loss of the soul. Truth is not easy, it is not readily available, it is not common, but post-truth is readily available with little or no effort. It is easy, sensual, pleasurable and entertaining. Most post-truth ideas came as part of entertainment and the greatest of them is the social media.

The Bible tells us in John 7:24 to look beneath the surface so that we can judge correctly. The overriding principle is that anything that takes more of your time and resources is an idol to you, because it can control you. The Social media has the capacity to take most of your time and your resources. Some people may not have food to eat but as long as they have airtime/data to connect on the different social media platforms, they are fine. That tells the danger that social media portends.

In generations before, there was little to contend in terms of media entertainment, but in this generation, from the rising of the sun till it’s going down, there is entertainment going on somewhere. I remember in those days that when we returned from school, all we did was to play football, climb trees or run around, which was good exercise for our bodies. But these days the social media creates room for a sedentary lifestyle and the aftermath is the rise in cancers even in young children due. Some persons can sit for hours on end with their phones; many young people complain of being bored except they are with their phones. Some cannot even sit still for 10 minutes without doing anything, or maintain silence for five minutes.

There is so much over-sensitization going on, so much noise and loudness—no silence and solitude anymore; no quietness to think and exercise the right part of the brain, be creative and solves problems. It is said that creative people are people who can use the right part of their brains, and the food for that right part of the brain is silence. Take a look at most geniuses and you will find that they can keep quiet for hours. Some people call them nerds.

There are some levels of creativity that cannot be achieved without silence or quietness. Originality does not come to those who don’t exercise the right part of their brain. The future belongs to the creative; to those who exercise the right part of their brain to create and invent things. The world places emphasis on originality, it does not pay value to common things. When you can offer the world uncommon knowledge and uncommon solutions, the world will be at your feet. 

Joseph in the Bible came up with an uncommon knowledge and solution and for that, he ruled the world. If you refuse to practice silence and meditation, you will never have depth. The best of God’s resources such as diamonds are not found in street corners, they are found in the depth of the earth. If you are not deep, you will have nothing to offer. How can you have depth when you are on Facebook and Instagram 24hours, sharing and liking what others have spent time to put together?

What exactly is social media? Social media are computer mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and the sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks. The goal is to keep people engaged so that the operators can make their money, while ensuring that the people engaged in it lose sight of important things like family, relationships, goals, etc in their lives. Some young people who are schooling spend more time on social media than they spend reading their books; this is often evident in their results.

Since the advent of social media, the NECO and WAEC performance in Nigeria has nosedived. The spiritual lives of many Christians are suffering because most of their time has been taken over by the social media addiction. Addiction isn’t just about substance abuse, if a person engages in any activity (gambling for instance), to the point where it becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life, that counts as addiction.

The social media addiction is so bad that some people cannot even switch off their phones in a gathering, even in church! Some will get up from a meeting only to go and check their social media messages or to take a selfie. By the time a person is breaking laws because of social media, he or she is addicted to it! Some people cannot save money because they spend all their money on airtime/data to browse. That is an addiction.

Most other substances that cause addiction like alcohol and drugs have an age range of 18years for formal accessibility to them; the danger of the social media is that there is really no age restriction. So it is doing more damage than alcohol and hard drugs. There are many children who have phones and I-pads given to them by their parents, who neither know what their children are doing with the gadgets, nor even understand the technologies of such gadgets. 

The social media places so much pressure on people. A lot of young people these days are always tired. Ask them why they are tired and they cannot even say. Some of them don’t sleep through the night; they were up “browsing”. Statistics shows that most youth under 25years have a 22% chance of being interrupted by a social media message during a meeting and they have a 59% chance of responding to the messages and disconnecting from their environment and the people around them.

Every form of addiction needs to be dealt with. Any person who is addicted to something needs to go for a psychological/spiritual treatment. Deal with your social media addiction, because if you refuse to spend time in God’s presence, you will spend time in the presence of social media; and whatever you spend time with, you will become like. The gospel of the social media is post truth and lies, yet many people take them hook, line and sinker.

Social media makes it difficult for one to give focused attention to something. There is a scientific experiment where a microscope can burn a paper.  This happens when the microscope is focused on the paper. This fire could not have been generated without focus. How about your life, do you live a focused life? You cannot generate fire in your spiritual life or in your academics without focus. When you focus and become a success, the same people who spend all their life on social media will be the ones celebrating you; they will even post your success on their platforms.

The goal of the engineer s of social media is to take your focus from every other thing. They drain you of your time, resources and future. They are in charge of your life and their ultimate goal is control. They have all your data; they know who your friends are, when you are eating, when you are sleeping! How? Because you give too much information about yourself to the world, thereby giving them control over your life. Can you imagine giving your emotions to men who do not have Christ to toy with?

Social media de-socializes us. Some people spend all their lives on social media, Facebooking, instargramming, twittering and so on, but when they are in trouble they remember a family member whom they have never spent a minute to call. Many people today are lost in the virtual world; they have more than four thousand virtual friends, yet they don’t even have up to two friends in real life. Success in life today is all about one-to-one relationships. So if you have ten thousands friends on social media, how many of them would attend your parents’ burial? In some homes, nobody talks to one another, everyone is busy with virtual people on social media, and real relationships are lost.

Imagine that for one week all the network service providers decided to shut down and nobody can browse? A lot of people will die; some people’s blood pressure will go up; some would be depressed. If some people lost their phone today, they would not be able to sleep; they would become paralyzed, as if their spirit has left them.  I want you to know that there is a beautiful side of life offline.

The social media causes depression for people. When you fornicate even though you know it is wrong, you will be depressed. When you post your picture on Facebook for example and nobody “likes” it, you’d be depressed, wondering if you are ugly or if everyone hates you.  Your emotions are being toyed with. What you don’t know is that some people get all the “likes” on social media just because they use Photoshop to modify their pictures before posting. If you don’t know the tricks behind all these things your self esteem will be bruised, and your emotions will be toyed with simply because you submitted them into the hands of machines and robots that don’t have emotions. The end of it is to make you a robot; to bring out the beast in you, because the social media is the beast system.

One of the challenges facing this generation is the breakage of attention by social media. When a student is trying to read his books and has to pause to respond to a social media message, that breakage of attention limits his understanding. You need to understand that there are some things that need undivided attention—for example, studying calculus and chatting on your phone cannot go together; you will need to give Calculus the attention it requires. There is need to reprioritize and reorder our lives.

One of the harms of the distractions caused by social media is under-performance. Those who are addicted to it will find that they are unable to meet up to the ideals they know. When you graduate from university with a pass even when you know you have the capacity for a distinction, you will be unhappy, because all your attention was taken over by social media. You know that by now you ought to have been vast and knowledgeable in the scriptures, but your phone will not let you. Is it worth it? Those are some of the devices and schemes that the devil is using to take away our lives and future from us, through the social media.

Another danger of the social media is misinformation. False realities are usually presented on the social media, and these create inferiority complexes and envy among counterparts. Such things are uncalled for. Many young people, especially girls, are becoming victims of sexual slavery through misinformation and deception in social media. False realities on social media are used in the areas of politics, economics, and even science, all for public perception!

There is a lot of manipulation going on the social media. Any news on social media that has not been verified is a lie! You need to know how to recognize a fake news story—read past the headline, check what news outlet that published it, check the published date and time, who is the author? Look at what links and sources are used, look out for questionable quotes and photos; beware of confirmation bias; search if other news outlets are reporting it; think before you share.

Even the Bible says, that when somebody prophesies, let another verify. Another thing you should ask yourself is, even if something is true, does it edify? If it doesn’t, there is no need to share it because a lot of what is shared on social media only sparks fear in people, instead of faith. We have good news in the word of God, let’s spend time with it and build up faith.

The Social media desensitizes us. I remember that the first time I watched a wrestling match with my mom, both of us were crying. But can you imagine people today crying while watching wrestling? Impossible! Social media kills our humanity and brings out the beast in us. In this generation, instead of trying to help people at an accident scene, what you will find are people busy taking photos and videos of the scene without bothering whether the accident victims need help. That is the height of desensitization!

Violent movies and video games desensitize us to the preciousness of the human life. In this age of terrorism for instance, those who are involved in it are initially desensitized by making them kill people they are familiar with, then it becomes easy to kill anybody. These things are not natural, and we should not be victims of Bible prophecy of the last days where people will lose their natural affection, and become like brute beasts.  Continuous exposure to violence breeds violence, and the result is the height of violence in our societies today, even among the younger generation. 

The Logic of Discernment

How do we discern the proper use of the social media? Let’s think and answer in the scriptures, to know whether something is good or not, remembering that the Bible says “. . . strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14).

 Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” And Psalm 106:29 says, “Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.”

God made man good and upright but man has sought out many inventions. However, when these inventions crosses the lines to the point that it begins to provoke God, He would have no choice than to destroy man. An example if such invention was the building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).  It was an invention of man that did not line up with God and He came down to destroy it. The end of every invention of man that is not used for the betterment of mankind and the service of God is idolatry. That is why the Bible says, you cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is an invention of man—neither good nor bad—but mostly used for evil. That is the same thing with the social media; it is used more for evil than for good or for good. Only a small percentage are using for good and for God. Watch out! Anything that takes the most of your time and resources, and is capable of controlling you is an idol.

What is the balance in using the social media?

The most dangerous thing is to have unlimited liberty. There is no balance until you get your life back into Christ, and are in control.  There is no balance until you are using the internet, and the internet is not using you.

Do a personal audit. The Apostle Paul admonished us to examine ourselves to know whether we are still in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). So examine yourself whether you spend more time on the social media than you do with your Bible. Do you spend more time “online” relating with nobody than you do relating with your brothers and sisters? Do you get engrossed in your virtual world that you become insensitive to the needs of those around you in the real world? Do you live in your home as if you are absent? These salient questions will help you to find balance in your use of the social media. Ask yourself:

  • What is the content? Does it match Philippians 4:8 that says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” So whatever media you see, judge them by these yardsticks.
  • When am I using it? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says there is a time and season for everything under the sun.  Do not allow your use of electronic media to affect time that has been set aside to spend with friends and family; for study, or for spiritual activity. You must be able to have a time-limit for using the social media. Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us to make wise use of time because Jesus is coming very soon! Personally, I have a time-limit of 10 minutes for every time I check my social media messages, but sometimes I end up spending 15 minutes. That’s to show how addictive it can be.
  • Do I have a purpose for using social media? You need to be accountable to someone about your activities online. Do your parents know the websites you visit?  Many parents are not aware of these things. There are many dangers on the social media platforms so we need to be wary of them by being accountable to people who can give us some restrictions on the use of it.
  • Whom are you associating with online? The Bible says, “Evil communication corrupts good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Do you post things that does not speak well of you?  Even when you delete pictures that you have posted, it is never deleted permanently, it is backed up somewhere. Do you release so much information on social media that can damage your future? Be careful about the information you release online. Your post and pictures tell a lot about you.

What would happen if I fail to control the use of social media?

If you fail to control your use of the social media, you may end up failing your exams, becoming a sexual maniac, or never enter into the spiritual destiny that God has designed for you. The Bible says, “Let your moderation be made known to all men” (Philippians 4:5).

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