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Why I Have Reduced My Usage of Social Media

Most people are not on social media to change their minds about a topic.
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I was among the first people I knew that joined Facebook. I have been a proponent of social media and encouraged many to join after I did. When I joined Thefacebook (its name when I joined in 2004), it was a simple website. Only students from chosen colleges and universities could join. One made a profile page that had one photo, education information, sex, residence, relationship status, contact information, and personal information such as hobbies, favorite music, favorite movies and favorite television shows. There was some group capability and "poking." There were no notifications other than having a new private message. There was no news feed. There were no "likes." There was no presence of companies and institutions. There were no apps. It did not cost thousands of dollars to get people to see a post.

In my opinion, the addition of apps was the worst change to Facebook ever made because that is when it changed from something that was just for looking at information about other people and interacting with other people.

At one time, I always had a Facebook tab open on my browser. A couple of months ago, I decided it was time for a change. I decided to no longer have that tab open on my browser and only look at Facebook when I get a notification from my church page. There are a few reasons I have decided to do it.

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I never would have thought that Facebook would become a propaganda tool of the progressive agendas and become one of the most important websites on the internet. It has become a news aggregator and chooses which news topics it wants its users to see. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Headquarters support many progressive causes, which is not an issue because it is their right to support what they please. However, they engage in deception, which is an issue. In 2016, some Facebook workers admitted they "routinely suppressed conservative news." Some left-wing claim that these allegations are unfounded, but after this story broke, the Senate Commerce Committee questioned Zuckerberg and Zuckerberg invited Glenn Beck, Dana Perino and Tucker Carlson to Facebook Headquarters.

Another way that Facebook censors conservative use is by labeling conservative views as "hateful" and a violation of their terms of service. Media critic Mark Dice had his account suspended for 30 days because he posted a link to a Dove commercial about a man identifying as a woman and saying that it wanted to make him puke. There were no threats made. He was suspended simply for publicly disliking the commercial. A homeschool mother with a popular blog was suspended for posting Bible verses about homosexuality. People are being literally arrested in Canada and the United Kingdom for anti-immigration Facebook posts. Many in the media warned us that Donald Trump would create an Orwellian state. If arresting people against immigration is not Orwellian, I don't know what is. Facebook has censorship deals in place with Germany and China.

Twitter bans conservative accounts. They allow inappropriate posts regarding Donald Trump and his family, including posts about rape and assassination. They also censor or promote "trending" topics as they see fit. These companies can do whatever they want, but as long as the mainstream media and social media companies pretend to be impartial, I will criticize them because it is obvious they are not.

Social media is a waste of time. Most social media users have wasted countless hours looking at content. Arguments or discussions most often go nowhere. Most people are not on social media to change their minds about a topic. Internet arguments can be compelling and fun. There are some that obviously bear no spiritual fruit such as arguments about music and movies. Perhaps there can be fruit from arguments about things pertaining to God. Admittedly, I love arguing on the internet. However, I don't think there is much fruit from it. However, as a counterpoint, one never knows what seeds God has planted. The main problem is the vitriol that is present in internet discourse. Since there are essentially no personal repercussions and it is easy to hide behind anonymity, users are free to be as haughty as they want. It's especially bad on Twitter, where comments must be short, so there is less room for explanation. One former Facebook executive went as far as saying that "social media is ripping apart society."

The purpose of using social media is primarily for vanity and self-promotion. Most posts are about drawing attention to one's self. The themes of posts usually are along the lines of "Look at me," "Look where I am," "Have pity on me," "Look at what I accomplished," etc. Everyone loves a chance to promote themselves. It's human nature. It's a competition for the most "likes" and comments on your page. It's a perpetual high school popularity contest. We want others to envy us. When I look at my own past social media posts, it disgusts me. There is a host of Scripture about vanity, pride, humility and haughtiness. Some verses that apply are Galatians 5:26, Philippians 2:3-4, Galatians 6:4 and 1 John 2:16.

These issues contribute to anxiety. Facebook has admitted it can be bad for mental health. Because of social media, we can fear missing out on things we did not need to know about in the first place. Users can become anxious if they are unable to check their social media for a period. They feel they need to see what is being posted instantaneously, might be worried how a post is perceived, or what other people may say in response to their discussion or argument. Many studies have shown indicated that usage of social media contributes to feelings of loneliness and anxiety.

Not having the Facebook tab open on my browser has been freeing. I don't even think about looking at Facebook anymore. I am more productive. I am less anxious. I post photos of a trip now and then because family wants to see the photos. Instead of posting in real time, I wait until my trip is over. I enjoy the moments while they happen instead of worrying about bragging about it on social media. The good news is that salvation is not dependent on how much time we spend on social media, but it might be a good idea to pray Psalm 119:37 (NASB): "Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in your ways."

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