I went to a training day about social media a few years ago.
It was about ‘How to get the best out of social media for your charity’.
But the first question threw me: How many different social media platforms are there?
Well I sat and thought…Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp…and felt fairly confident that I’d got most of them. The answer was: Lots, dozens in fact!
And the following questions were: How many do you use and Do they work for you?
And the answer that kept coming through the day was ‘If it works for you then great, but when the fun stops – stop!’
And recently I have felt the need to limit my own exposure to social media because at times it has stopped working for me.
Some of us use social media to reconnect with friends from our past: people we went to school with, worked with, socialised with.
And others use it to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world: news, opinions, information, facts.
But is has to be said that some of it has started to stop us being social or sociable – so maybe that’s when the fun stops.
When comments come from pain and anger and fear, so they build a picture of sourness rather than sensitivity.
And when we learn things about the world that frighten us and confuse us but doesn’t offer us the space to be comforted then that’s where it doesn’t work for our best interests.
And what happens when we fall into a group that encourages us to rage – is that really working for us?
Or a group that unknowingly grows fear or deliberately divides and destroys communities - is that really working for us?
And when we spend hours scrolling whilst those around us go unnoticed – is that really working for us?
And I ask myself – where is God in this?
He is in the supportive messages that build and equip.
He is in the outpouring of grief for a friend who has lost someone dear.
He is in the memorial of someone gone when good words need sharing.
He is in the celebration of age or achievement or identity.
He is in the encouragement and creativity and sharing of our experiences.
He is in the calling together of communities and the uniting of the lonely with a group to belong.
And He is in the online prayer time, worship stream and Sunday service of course.
So as you examine your emails, face your feeds, scan your streams, assess your apps – ask:
Where is God in this? What can I bring to this? Is this really working for me? Has the fun stopped?
And then – when you can – go out and remember to connect with real people and be social in real life too.
God bless you today.