In recent years, life can often feel like one giant trend after another.
A new thing is invented or the way something is done changes so quickly because it makes something faster, stronger, or better. But people are creatures of habit and long-term effects are unknown, so cue “the haters.”
Social media lends itself well to hating.
It can suck up time, make people feel less in comparison, or make you a distracted parent. I’m sure there are plenty of other things wrong with it. too. But for me, a mostly stay-at-home mom of two under 7, it brings plenty of benefits.
Do the positives outweigh the negatives?
I would argue yes.
Some of the positives include:
- Staying in touch with what friends are doing in their lives
Jobs, trips, marriage, and babies… What mom doesn’t love cute baby pics?
- Getting recommendations from people I know
Everything from what movies and shows are good to what doctors people would recommend and why.
- Finding out about new things quickly
From authors to shows to music to inventions.
- Getting discounts
Coupons and Groupons…just by liking certain pages.
- Staying on top of major news stories of the day
Often as they are still unfolding.
At funny little pictures, videos, or video clips people post or send.
- Watching free speeches
From my favorite authors/bloggers through FaceTime live.
- Discussions in groups
Formed around shared interests, passions, neighborhoods, churches and more.
- Allowing me to share things that are important to me
I can share with friends and family even when I can’t be with them in person.
- Encouragement and celebration
For example, I get smpathy from my friends if someone at home is sick or is having a rough time, and celebration when good things happen or it’s my birthday.
One could argue that social media isn’t the only place to find some of these things, and that’s true.
But many of them are unique to social media and it provides a combined space to find them. I don’t have to check in with a bunch of different websites. I can just follow the pages/accounts/handles of those I want to hear from.
Since my background is in history and in studying the many varied cultures of the world throughout time and place, I can say with certainty that new ways of doing things are always questioned by at least some people. And that’s not a bad thing. It causes us to examine our own motives for adopting something and to really see if the new thing is worth adopting.
But let’s not just outright refuse to adopt a new technology or method just because it has some downsides.
And let’s not automatically assume that those that do adopt it are using it for the wrong reasons or haven’t thought through the pros and cons.
With this attitude, nothing new would ever be adopted.
Here’s a famous quote:
“The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.”
That’s what the Chairman of the Bank of Michigan said to Henry Ford’s lawyer as his reason for not investing in the Ford Motor Company in 1903. I’m sure he had many good reasons—the horse had been used forever, cars break down and need new parts, they need gas, they are expensive, and so on.
But clearly, some new ways of doing things are worth the negatives that come with them.
I get it, change is scary. Our thoughts and actions are deeply affected by the way we grew up and how we learned to see the world. And I definitely agree that there are negatives that often accompany shifts in technology or culture. But let’s use social media for our benefit and just make sure we aren’t getting sucked into the comparison or the “my life is perfect” game. After all, you probably wouldn’t be reading this without social media, and I’m happy to be able to share my thoughts with you.