Social Media and Digital Discernment – MacArthur

Although I do have this website, I’m really very illiterate when it comes to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.  I don’t have accounts so most of facebook is unavailable to me.  I have at times contemplated getting accounts since often I will find out about something after the fact, like a prayer request, but by the time I find out the need is past. 🙁  However, the advantages have yet to outweigh the disadvantages in my mind.  I’m honestly not interested in what someone ate for supper or the great shirt they just bought. (Granted everyone doesn’t include such mundane details, but I’d only be interested in that kind of detail from very, very few people; husband or son.)  Of course, I could do what my oldest son does.  He has an account with minimal info available and he never posts.  But that allows him access and “friend” status enough to know what is going on with others.  He has been accused of “lurking”.  🙂

There are portions of social media that just set wrong with me and honestly the only way I can explain it is it is like high school popularity all over again.  See you can strive to be friends with lots and lots of people but to what purpose?  You can’t truly be friends with that many people.  Then of course you can un-friend people and relatives when you get mad at them.  The ultimate insult. {sarcasm}  Social media can give a false sense of intimacy.  There is no way to be truly intimate friends when just passing sound bites back and forth.  True intimacy is a lost art, even in the physical sense.  Social media doesn’t seem to be helping.

But granted I may be wrong and might at some point change my mind.  But for now the benefits don’t outweigh the time investment.  But MacArthur has a post about being discerning with social media.

Social Media and Digital Discernment

On the one hand, social networking websites provide numerous benefits and opportunities. Many of the ministries with which I am involved (like Grace to You and The Master’s College & Seminary) utilize social networking to dispense resources and keep people updated with ministry news.3 Social networking can be a useful tool when used to communicate the right things—messages that honor Christ, exalt His Word, and direct people to profitable tools for spiritual growth.

But social networking can also be abused. When it consists of nothing more than random babblings and personal monologues, it can become self-centered, unrestrained and narcissistic. When it consumes our lives, it can be addictive and controlling. Used unwisely, it is filled with potential pitfalls and temptations. For those who follow Christ, we are called to submit every area of our lives to His lordship—including how we use social media. With that in mind, let’s look at the following five areas of caution:

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This article is referred to in MacArthur’s post – Solomon on Social Media

…  Count to ten before posting, sharing, sending, submitting. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him (29:20).” How many arguments could be avoided and how many relationships saved if people were only a little less hasty with their words? Before posting an article or before replying to a Facebook status, it is always (always!) a good idea to re-read what you have written and consider if your words accurately express your feelings and if expressing such feelings is necessary and edifying. And while I’m on the topic, a spell-check doesn’t hurt either. …


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6 thoughts on “Social Media and Digital Discernment – MacArthur

  1. You are so right about the false sense of intimacy; your points are exactly what my husband has said! People, he says, “Friend” their next door neighbors and use Facebook instead of getting together IRL with people. It;s a false sense of intimacy. You are very correct, and Macarthur’s points are well-taken. I have FB because it’s fun to keep up with old classmates and see pics of their kids; also, I use it to evangelize friends in Bulgaria (in a low-impact way), and eventually it will be somewhat helpful in getting the word out about my book. I have most of that mundane stuff like games hidden. But I can definitely see where it would be a hindrance.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Marie,

    You know your husband, you and I all remember a time when social media wasn’t available. I didn’t even have internet until I had my first child! I worry about those who have grown up in the average household today where social media is a way of life. Do they even realize the difference? Do they have a clue what real intimacy is? Could the reason youth are so depressed and suicidal be that they realize how truly lonely they are and don’t even know why having hundreds of “friends” makes them even lonelier? I think we will see even more and more deterioration in friendships and families. 🙁

    I can see where FB would be useful in keeping up with long distance friends. I have a few that we might could benefit from that type of regular contact when we don’t see each other often. However, that would just be a fill-in-the-gap until we could reconnect in person. I’m sure many can keep FB in the rightful place and use it productively. But never without seriously thinking about it and working to keep it from becoming a hindrance.

    Berean Wife

  2. I don’t do facebook either, for many of the reasons you cited. I actually set up a page a few months ago, but I never, and I mean never, look at it.

    People use it in the most absurd ways. I’d much prefer a phone call.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Terry,

    I have contemplated just setting up a page in order to “hear” from friends who use facebook as their main source of communication. However, since I don’t want to be constantly screening I haven’t bothered. Not that any of my friends would necessarily post inappropriate things. But I have run across friends whose other friends will post inappropriate pictures or language. 🙁

    But then ultimately time is the biggest factor. I can’t get so distracted throughout the day or we’d never get anything done around here. At least for this website, I can set aside an amount of time and then leave it until the next time. Facebook seems to want to require more continuous interaction to really be using it.

    I agree phone calls or even emails work best for me, too.

    Berean Wife

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