You decide to check your Facebook before bed and see that you have a new friend request. Thinking to yourself, “Hmm, have I met anyone new lately?” you curiously click the notification to unveil your potential ‘new friend.’
You aren’t exactly sure what to think when you see the name, Jesus, appear before your eyes…
Now while it is completely crazy to think of Jesus uploading selfies to Instagram or posting tweets such as, “Just Got Baptized!! #WWJD,” on Twitter, it is interesting to think what his social media profiles would look like if he had them. This was an idea that the priest expressed at Mass this morning, and one that he encouraged us to think about: what do our social media profiles tell others about us? Do they tell others that we are children of God or do they tell others that we are “YOLO-ing” – only living once – and therefore drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and living promiscuous lives while documenting these events via our social media outlets?
Social media, texting, snapchat, all of these forms of communication are not in of themselves a bad thing. They can become a bad thing, though, when they become the center of our lives and a primary means of communication. They can become a bad thing when the thought of calling someone or physically getting together and talking seems weird. What ever happened to the good old days of calling and visiting our friends and family?
We can learn so much about a person based off of how they communicate. And I’m not just talking about in the written sense. If someone speaks with some sort of an accent we can immediately think, They must not be from around here, and when they start using words that are unbeknownst to us we might think, This person has an impressive vocabulary. Their body language when speaking can reveal a lot as well. Think about it. If someone says the following words, “It was so nice talking to you,” in a straight-faced no inflection type of voice, it wouldn’t give off the same effect as someone saying those words while smiling and changing the pitch of their voice to communicate that sincerity.
The part of the priest’s homily that I liked the most was when he was talking about what one’s actual words can reveal about a person. A person’s interior spiritual and emotional health can be revealed by what words one chooses to speak. If someone is consistently complaining and constantly poking fun of others, chances are they are not well inside. If a person has this desire to post 30+ Facebook statuses/with pictures daily with the sheer intent of getting ‘likes’ or snaring a prospective suitor, they are not well inside. The priest went so far as even saying that those of us who constantly encourage and ‘like’ these posts/tweets/etc. might not be well either as should we really be that concerned about how others spend each minute of the day?
All the while the priest was talking about this I couldn’t help but think of my own social media/texting use. Just last night one of my best friends and I were out with a few other friends, and we probably spent close to 3 minutes trying to take the perfect ‘selfie’ while everyone else was talking. We spent at least three minutes of our lives staring into a cell phone camera screen just so that we could get this ‘cute new profile pic.’ Was taking this picture necessarily an evil thing? No. But does it demonstrate how technology has become such a huge part of our lives? Yes.
I really like this idea and challenge to think of Jesus having social media. I also thought of this after church, but what if Mary had a social media profile? What kinds of things would she post? Would she post at all?
I guess the message I’m trying to get across in this post is nothing groundbreaking. We all know that technology can be consuming at times, but what can we do to fight it? How can we make using social media a positive thing? I think the following are some practical tips:
- Plan to have a ‘no cell phone’ night once a month when hanging out with friends. Even if it’s just you not using your phone, think of how much more engaged you could be in conversation/how much more fun you could have!
- Set limits for how much time you devote each day to social media. If you find that you automatically wander to Facebook/Twitter/insert-name of social media, the second you turn on an electronic device, try logging out each time, so you actually have to type in your user name and password each time. I’ve actually started doing this with my Facebook on my computer because that has always been a struggle for me, and it’s helped!
- Don’t use social media as a place to complain. Complaining only opens others to complain/add their two cents, so just don’t do it. Even if you really received terrible service at a restaurant or whatever, is it that important that you share those thoughts with the entire world?
- On those same lines, don’t use social media as a place to bring down other people. It’s just not necessary.
- Unfriend/unfollow friends/people that consistently post negative things. Try following favorite inspirational speakers instead!
I’d be curious to hear any other thoughts on this topic. Lately I’ve debated getting rid of snapchat- I honestly don’t use it very much, but I’ve been thinking about this lately, “I wonder how much time I spend each day just reading/watching snaps?” Even if it’s only five minutes, that’s five minutes I could have spent praying or doing anything else besides watching videos of puppies doing tricks.
I will leave you with a picture I posted on my blog last year, but writing this post made me think of it . Hope you had a great weekend!