Using social media to connect and care
Apparently it is the custom in some dinner circles to place your mobile phones on a pile in the middle of the table and whoever can’t resist reaching for theirs first pays the bill.
I suggested to my elder children that this was a great idea but they pointed out that a) they were broke, and b) Dad was worse than they were anyway and he was already picking up the tab!
I have to admit that I, too, love my phone. Some 25 or so years ago, I remember standing outside an electronics store and in the window was the very latest in “portable” entertainment – a device larger than a regular video player which had a television, cassette player, radio and alarm clock all in one!
My children (and most adults) take for granted that we have access to all of this in truly portable form and a hundred times more. The mind of my 14 year old self would have boggled. Imagine a portable phone (instead of one attached to the wall) to keep in touch with our friends instead of being continually told to get off Mum and Dad’s.
Imagine watching the movie of your choice, whenever you want to, and without ads! And taking photos which can be viewed instantly and sent across the world! We are so fortunate to live when, where and how we do.
The downside can, of course, be the misuse of this fabulous technology. But this is not a new concept. I grew up with TV addicts where now they’ll watch Youtube. People were bullied by letter and phone whereas Twitter and Facebook provides more choices. This doesn’t mean that TV, letters, phones or social media are evils that we need to avoid, just that we need to be conscious of the pitfalls associated with their use.
It has occurred to me when thinking of the sermon on the mount story that Jesus must have had a powerful voice to reach so many. Nowadays, if he didn’t have access to a microphone, there are many wonderful apps and websites which he could use to spread his message of peace and draw us closer to him.
As with everything, moderation and self-control is the key. Does it really matter if we miss a Facebook message? It’s part of our human condition to want to feel others are listening to us, and sometimes this means being truly present in the flesh rather than “online.”
Originally published in “My Family, My Faith: Vol 1, 2014”