Facebook is not a waste of time (for me)

Lately I’ve heard several admonishments about how much time is spent on social media and the ills that accompany our involvement.  I’ve been sent on a guilt trip by various Christian leaders, friends/acquaintances, and even through this cheesy video.

I have no doubt a lot more would get accomplished if I did away with my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  The question is, WHAT would get accomplished?  Would I read my Bible more?  Pray more?  Spend more time with my family?

I already know the answer to those questions is “no”.  Our family tried that experiment.  You can read about our Media Free Mondays and see for yourself.

Instead, I’ve decided to embrace technology as a means of deepening my relationship with Christ and with others.  Social media has unlocked the door to relationships and growth opportunities I could never have otherwise.  Facebook actually complements ministry I do in the real world, and Twitter gives me access to global resources.

In the past 24 hours alone, I’ve been able to encourage and receive encouragement from dozens of people.  I’ve stayed connected with family, former students from youth group, and friends I haven’t seen in years.   I’ve shared Scripture and accessed study guides I never knew existed.  I’ve prayed with and for people, many of whom I’ve never even met in person.  Some of my most deep and meaningful relationships have been initiated online and/or maintained here.

Yes, I may take a few minutes here or there to watch a silly video or get caught up in a pointless conversation (i.e. any debate about religion, politics, or football).  I suppose I could work on doing less of that, but overall I don’t find my time on social media to be wasted at all.

I’ve even found it to be a valuable parenting tool.  I can bond with my kids over a YouTube video or by bragging on them in front of the online world.  I can get to know their friends and the friends’ parents.  I get glimpses of things that go on in their world that I wouldn’t normally be privy to.  (And no, I don’t stalk them.  Well, not usually, anyway.)

I try to prayerfully consider everything I commit to my electronic footprint, but sometimes I fail.  I try to be positive and encouraging, not critical or self-righteous.  Sometimes I fail at that too.  These humbling lessons help shape me into the person Jesus wants me to be, and I have social media to thank for that.

So, I’ve returned home from my guilt trip and don’t plan on taking one of those again over this issue.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go check my Facebook.  :)

P.S.  If you want to read a heartwarming story of how a critically ill woman has been inspired by social media, click here.


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