Stop the Social Media World; I Want to Get Off! Well, at least for the next 15 days, perhaps longer.
Believe it or not, Facebook is only 16 years old at the time of this writing. Instagram is only ten years old, and Twitter is 14 years old. Smaller start-up alternative social media sites pop up regularly. Some make it; others don’t. Nevertheless, social media’s combined influence has drastically changed all aspects of communication newsgathering across the globe.
24-hour news channels keep their followers hooked by repeating the same news clips around the clock while bringing in so-called experts to analyse every tiny nuance of those clips. At one point, such news channels tried to camouflage their political leanings. That no longer appears to be the case, especially in the United States.
Fed up by major network news bias are seeking alternative news sources, people are looking for independent sources. However, conspiracy theorists and organisations with their own agenda make it almost impossible to find accurate news on a global level. The far-right and the far-left appear to be in a cosmic tug-a-war, both claiming to be ‘saviours’ while denouncing the other as evil incarnate.
As a result, people are angrier and vindictive, suspicious and defensive. We are quick to denounce another person’s views without bothering to fact-check our own opinions.
People are actually leaving churches they’ve attended for decades because their pastors are addressing issues from the pulpit or they are not addressing issues from the pulpit.
Heaven help the loving and caring pastor who dares to suggest that their flock’s mental and spiritual health might be better off if they limit their time viewing the news and engaging in angry debates on social media.
Some brave pastors and leaders of major Christian organisations are doing just that. They are actively encouraging their congregations and followers to either totally fast or curtail their activity on social media sites that are driven by political agendas, angry tirades, and conspiracy hunting for at least two weeks. These leaders are urging their followers to fill their consequent free time with activities that will fill their souls and breathe life into their hearts. It’s time for us to clear our heads and shake the cobwebs that have formed through our constant scrolling down our newsfeeds.
Here’s my plan for the next 15 days, if not longer.
I will be on Pause on Social Media outside of my commitments as an Admin and member in Facebook groups to which I am a member. I will continue to post the Daily Christian Quotes on Facebook and Instagram. My weekly Blog will continue as usual. I will also maintain my current ministry obligations on other sites.
However, I’ve permanently deleted ‘news’ apps of any type and ‘alternative’ social media sites that vigorously promote a strong leaning to one side of the political spectrum. I will not be mindlessly scrolling down my newsfeeds on Instagram or Facebook. There is a lovely feature on Facebook where you can snooze people, pages, and groups for 30 days, and I have used it. I am not discriminating against any individual or group, but I am putting myself in time out,
I need to take a break for my personal mental and spiritual health. It’s time to reflect and refocus.
I will skim news headlines once a day directly from local news websites. I live in a large urban city, and my local news covers most international news. As I have watched none of the 24-hour so-called ‘news channels’ in years, I will continue that practice.
What will I be doing instead? Well, a fast is not a fast unless you fill the void of what you are fasting from with something else that is beneficial.
I have some studying to do for an upcoming online conference. I will listen to music, catch up on some reading and watch a few uplifting movies. I have some great audiobooks that will keep me occupied and hours of teaching mp3s and podcasts on file. I’ll check in with local friends to see if they want to socially distance with me in a local park. I’ll be enjoying life.
If this tugs at your heart at all, consider doing the same. Take your eyes off the tiny screen on your smartphone and laptop and focus on the big picture.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden