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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)

TITLE: The Dark Side of Social Media
By Gwen Plauche
09/15/11


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Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it's spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I'd be a slave to my whims. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (The Message)

I was blessed to grow up with a wonderful great-grandmother. One thing I always giggled at was how she knew the business of all her neighbors, all from the view of her kitchen sink window. She knew when they came home, who visited and if they did not come home.

Fast-forward forty years. This same information, plus much more, is now available to the world – no kitchen sink window needed. Welcome to the world of social media!

Social media has experienced explosive growth in the past few years. For example, Facebook added 100 million members in a nine month time period.1 If Facebook were a country, it would now be considered the world’s third largest and twice the size of the United States.1

One in five divorces can now be blamed on Facebook.1 Besides divorce, there are other potential pits to avoid in this new virtual world.

Once the social media community of friends or followers is created, the user easily moves into the stage of communicating. The first part of the dark side is nearby. Users hooked on constant notification and checking updates frequently are living on the stage of public opinion 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is a constant anxiety or wondering if anyone liked the opinion posted. This reminds me of high school clique days when we had to consult with our friends before dressing for school.

The second part of the slide into the dark side is when the probing questions from curious bystanders push in asking for more. This should alert the user that the dark side is taking over. Unlike my great-grandmother observing at the sink, this new world of comments has enabled onlookers to not only watch, but to poke and openly comment on how they feel about you and your activities. This is the role of one’s own self-created paparazzi that must now be harnessed.

This monster satisfies its appetite at all times of the day and night. What is going on with that situation, what will the family do, what is next? This cliffhanger, I-have-to-know-more thinking is what hooked women of a generation ago to the daytime soap operas. Worry about typically unimportant events with people you do not even know cause the sacrifice of the precious hours of today to watch and wonder what will happen next. The similarities to today’s popular reality TV are striking.

Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. 1 John 2:15-17 (The Message)

Am I anti-social media? Absolutely not! I post and comment on Facebook often, but I realize that I need to make adjustments. I simply do not need more things to think about. Nor do I need the constant approval of my friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter to live my life. No wonder I don’t have enough brain energy for creativity! I have used up my energy wondering what others are going to say about my comment about Susie’s aunt, whose daughter’s son, lost his first tooth after being hit in the face (or something equally as urgent.)

Please do not misunderstand my intentions. Social media is a great tool for communicating to today’s generation. Social media is here to stay and is technically legal. The challenge is using a tool for what it is good for and not for what could be a spiritual demise. Whether posting every inch of your life, your needs, your progress, and your failures for the world to see and comment on is spiritually appropriate, is a question only you can answer when you are willing to look at the dark side.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Bill Cosby (posted by a friend on Facebook)

1 Qualman, Erik (June 15, 2011). 10 WOW Social Media Statistics. Socialnomics. ww.Socialnomics.net


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This article has been read 335 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Belinda Borradaile09/15/11
Not qualified to give writing guidence...but can say I liked the feel of this. And yip, the question of balance right? How much is too much and how much is using the facility God gave us to utilise in this world we live today. I had a little stint with overuse a while ago- so basically 'fasted' from it for about three months...no- one missed me! THAT was an eye opener! And put it quite clearly into perspective:)
CD Swanson 09/16/11
Amen to the social media presence. I often feel the same way, Progression is a wonderful thing and yet a hindrance in many ways in society overall.

I liked this story and message, concise telling the reader where the true pulse of society really is.

I loved it. God Bless~
marcella franseen 09/17/11
Your message is right on. I know I am always having to check myself on the time I give to social media. The line between something being good and something being bad is usually very fine. I think you did a great job.
Patricia Turner09/17/11
This is well written and makes some good points.
Lillian Rhoades 09/17/11
Thanks for reminding us of the unmistakeable pitfalls of modern day technology. There was a mild tone of condemnation in your piece which I think you tried to soften with, "Please don't misunderstand my intentions."
Consider rewriting words like
"is when."
Your message resonates with me, especially when I see the younger generation and how modern technology contributes to their lack of scholastic achievements.
Theresa Santy 09/19/11
Great message.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/19/11
I liked the comparison of your grandmother peering out the window to FB. Social Media definitely makes gossip easier.

I'm not sure have on topic it was though. Your statistics alone disprove the fact thatpeople are afraid to go there. It may have fit more if you had shown how people use FB or Twitter to bully or intimidate others.

It was an interesting essay and definitely made me stop and think. You made some good points and backed them up with references.
Edmond Ng 09/21/11
Social media certainly has its pitfalls, yet much has been gained out of it as well. Communication online has never been so easy until now, and if used for the right purpose, it can reach out to the masses in sharing Christ, as well as touching lives. I personally run an FB page which links back to my Christian blog, and this has helped propagate more Christian related stuff. Without doubt, of course, there is the flip side of such convenience, and I've seen lots of nasty comments floating around over political issues among other matters. Balance is certainly important on both counts. Thank you for sharing your take on the social media with us. It helps your readers think over carefully what should and what should not be done online. God bless.
CD Swanson 09/22/11
Congratulations. God bless~
Linda Goergen09/22/11
Congratulations Gwen on a well deserved HC win!