Facebooking ourselves to death
Are we obsessed with social media, or are we obsessed with ourselves?
Everything is out in the open
I have two degrees in media studies, which basically means I can watch TV better than you can, and I have the certificates to prove it. Try watching TV with me sometime and I guarantee you’ll think, “Wow, this guy is good. He must have a couple of degrees in this.”
Joking aside, when I started in media studies, one of the first books I read was Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. It’s a short book, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about how media affects us. Postman’s main idea is that the immediacy of television, radio, the Internet, etc. (we want it now) comes at a cost.
Basically, we’ve traded rights to privacy for the right to be entertained. Ever seen a video clip from a security camera of someone walking into a lamppost? Or has a friend ever used their phone to film you doing something stupid, but you didn’t know they were recording it?
That’s sort of what Postman was talking about in his book.
It's not all about you
If you add social media to the mix, things get even more interesting. Take Facebook for example:
- When Facebook first launched, many people used it to share things they found interesting about something else.
- Now, it’s main use is to allow us to share things we find interesting about ourselves.
We share status updates about what we find interesting, photos from our weekend, a change in our relationship status, our favourite artists and films – the list goes on and on.
1 Peter 5:5 says,
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'.
If we’re not careful, Facebook (and other social media) can become pride machines that help us focus the attention completely on ourselves. I recently heard someone say that the greatest thing about Twitter is that you can easily share other people’s posts, rather than making everything about you. Interesting point, but I find it’s a bit harder to share other people’s content on Facebook without your own name being blatantly attached to it.
Are we Facebooking ourselves to death? Do you think Facebook is geared towards giving us a chance to present our ideal versions of ourselves? If so, what are some ways we can use Facebook to tell others about Jesus rather than just tell them about ourselves?
Check out the infographic below, and then share your thoughts in the comments section.