So, in being transparent I have to start by admitting that I have been questioning my true friendships and basing it on the amount of likes I receive to either a post or a picture I decide to share through social media. It pains me to admit it but I feel a sense of satisfaction when I get a crazy amount of unexpected “likes” to one of my posts. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we measure our worth by the number of followers we have and the number of likes we get. It somehow falsely validates our existence and gives us a sense of “connection” to those who are in our “friends” circle. But through time I have come to understand, that more often than not, the interaction through social media is somewhat superficial and has no deep and life-changing effect on our daily life.
You see, in an effort to connect to those outside of our circle, we have left those inside our inner-circle totally disconnected. We are so focused on sharing with the outside world our events, thoughts and accomplishments that we rarely enjoy the company of the people who are right in front of us. In a society of so many technical advances its sad to see how much we have regressed socially. Technology promotes communication and freedom of speech at its best. But, face-to-face communication has dwindled to the point where its visibility, or lack their of, is extremely apparent especially during a family get-together.
What has happened to sitting at the table with your family discussing daily events in a face-to-face real time conversation? What happened to picking up the phone and having a live conversation with someone you care about? Why have we substituted meaningful conversations for sending and receiving a text or sharing a post.
It doesn’t take genius to see that families have lost a true sense of communication. If you just sit back at a public place, like a restaurant, you can see the interaction between the people there. You will most likely see husbands sitting with their wives texting other people. Children plugged into their phones or tablets during dinnertime. You will see young adults sitting around the table and instead of talking they are all on their own devices. You will see everyone and their mother taking pictures to share with the world… what’s funny about that is that the people who really care about your post are the people sitting in front of you in that same place posting the same thing you are posting so they can share it with the “world”.
I recently attended a picnic where one of the guests, a young man between 18-20 years of age, spent every second plugged into his phone. Not even to eat did he un-plug. Needless to say I do not remember his name, let alone details about him or his life. How could I? He never spoke to anyone at the picnic. We see this on a daily basis, and still ask ourselves why our generation is lacking so much when it comes social skills?
We are all victims of the new technologies available to us. Ask yourself this question: How many people did you text this year to wish them a “Happy Birthday” or just to congratulate them on a life-changing event? Then ask yourself: Since then… how many of those people have you called just to say hello or stay connected?
So the real question is: Are we truly connecting or is technology just another mechanism to help us hide our lack of depth and social skills while allowing us to feel like we are making significant connections that aren’t truly real?
All of these new social media applications give us an unrealistic sense of relationship. They create an illusion of connection that, for the most part, doesn’t really exist. We have hundreds of friends that we would not even remember it was their birthday unless we got a notification reminding us.
The word of God says in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I want to encourage you not to conform to the patterns of this world. Don’t allow what people are calling the “norm” to become your norm. I want to encourage you to invest time in those who are around you. Take the time to truly build relationships that have long lasting effects in your life. Don’t pass up the opportunity to have meaningful and life-changing face-to-face conversations. Don’t be so obsessed with sharing your events with the outside world that you forget those who are in the event with you. And above all, don’t let your worth be defined by the approval of others. Seek God’s approval above everything and the rest will just fall into place.