We live in a world that is inundated with information. The second a story breaks, the news travels worldwide. We don't have to wait to learn anything. With the touch of a screen, the world can see, read, hear, and even feel what is happening anywhere else in the world. The globe is quite literally at our fingertips. But is that always a good thing? As fast as the information travels in today's world, something else is making its way around the world as well.
Instagram. Twitter. Facebook. Vine. Tumblr. The list of social media sites and opportunities continues to grow. And with it, the belief that the world is all about "me".
With the world literally at our fingertips, too often we fall into the trap of thinking the world needs more of me, my opinion, my viewpoint. We believe that the world has to know – and wants to know – what we're thinking right now, about every situation we see.
Today, with the popularity of social media, pride is no longer seen as a vice; it's perceived as a virtue. We use social media to promote ourselves, our agenda. And on one hand, that's the purpose of social media. It is about letting our circle of influence know what is going on in our lives. But too often, we cross a dangerous line…a line that segues into dishonor and destruction.
Take the tragic death of Rick Warren's son last week for example. One of the great Christian leaders in our world today lost his youngest son to suicide. And in the midst of dealing with a devastating personal tragedy, this man who is widely known for helping millions of people experience the most out of life has to also deal with critique, criticism, and flat out hate spewed online.
Just days after losing his son, Rick tweeted, "Grieving is hard. Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest."
Too many people cower behind the veil of the digital information. They rush to type, post and tweet things they would never say to someone's face. People are quick to ridicule celebrities, rip apart politicians, and revel in someone's personal tragedy.
But that's not what social media should be about.
Social media doesn't have to steal our ability to communicate effectively, rationally, and honorably. On one hand, too many use social media to damage and destroy. But the great side is that it can be used to celebrate and support!
The day after Rick Warren posted that previous tweet, he posted this: "I've cried almost as many tears of joy as tears of grief in the last 48 hours, because you've loved Kay and me."
For every hateful thing that was said online, people from around the world sent thoughts of hope, prayers, reminders of God's goodness, and encouragement for the Warren family. THAT'S some of the great stuff of social media.
A Fine Line
We need to be very careful about how we use social media. Don't rush to the keyboard or the smart phone every time you have a thought.
There's fine line when it comes to using social media. Which side of the line are you on?