Confession: I’m addicted to social media.
It’s the first thing I check when I wake up. It’s the last thing I look at before I go to bed. If a notification goes off on my phone, I have a near-Pavlovian response about checking it.
Earlier this week, I started to think about why.
I’ve heard of “FOMO” – “Fear Of Missing Out” – that is often attached to social media addiction. It’s the idea that we are afraid if we aren’t always engaged on social media, we will miss something. The truth is, I’ve had FOMO since I was a teenager. Maybe earlier. I didn’t want to miss an event because I thought if I did, everyone would forget about me. Everyone would experience something I didn’t. I hated the idea of missing out.
I still do.
I challenged myself the other day to not check my Facebook newsfeed, my Twitter feed, or Instagram all day. I made it to 8pm – and I was pretty excited about that. (Please note, I have been known to check my Facebook updates at stop lights. Yikes.)
Did I feel like I had missed out on anything? Not at all.
Did I feel less stressed, less anxious and more engaged with those around me? Absolutely.
I realized that I often stress about things people post about or link to that would never cross my radar if I weren’t on social media. Terrible news stories about tragedies. Drama people wouldn’t reveal in person – but tend to online. Political or religious ranting that ruffles my feathers or gives me heartburn. Those things were absent from my day. And it was awesome.
It definitely revealed to me the importance of moderation – and the importance of stepping away.
But it also got me thinking about my motives. As a Christian, my primary goal in life is to know Jesus Christ and make Him known. Everything in my life should point back to that “mission statement”, if you were. And this is the question that hit me…
Is my greatest desire to be known…or to make Him known? Is it to make much of me..or make much of Him?
And I realized that so much of my motivation for social media is prideful. That’s not to say social media is a bad thing – it can be used in very strong, noble and powerful ways. But if my main intention is to make much of ME, then I have missed an enormous opportunity to make much of HIM.
That doesn’t mean every post needs to be a Bible verse. Not at all. It has less to do with the content, honestly, than the motivation. My goal should always be to point people to Jesus…not to point them to my blog, my Twitter handle, or my Instagram account.
If that is not my motivation, it’s time to step back. To take a deep breath. To remember who I am, and Whose I am. To check my pride at the door. To realize that I won’t miss out. To realize it’s not all about me.
Do you struggle with social media addiction? How have you learned to balance it in your life?