Recently I shared some thoughts about problems with social media. But to only take a negative view of social media would not be fair or appropriate. As with most everything there are two sides to the issue. Clearly social media has some attraction because billions of people around the world participate in some form or another. Facebook alone has over 2 billion active users. That is about one third of the world’s population, which is incredible when you think about it.
Having a better understanding of some key points will help us recognize a few of the benefits of participating. To completely ignore the good may cause us to miss out on some things that could benefit us. So today, I want to explore a couple of the more positive aspects of social media.
Prior to social media, we were connected with a very limited number of people. We rarely, if ever, saw old classmates, childhood friends or distant cousins. Now we are connected to people we don’t even know. We see children grow up, couples get married, students graduate and babies born. Though the argument could be made that social media creates thin relationships, the truth is that we are connected to people more than we ever would be otherwise.
Personally, I have also been able to connect with people with whom I have a mutual friendship and with others who have the same interests and vocation that I do. It also allows me to connect with people who I may never have met nor have any clue of what their life was like. Social media should never be a substitute for depth in relationships, but it certainly does broaden our ability to at least stay connected with people that we otherwise could not.
I have found this to be one of the most beneficial uses of social media. As a pastor I care about the people who I am responsible for. I have found social media to be a great place for me to stay aware of things happening in people’s live. Hospital stays, sickness and surgeries, new babies being born or just a need for prayer. As a matter of fact, if I see someone asking for praying on social media, I try to always stop and pray and respond to their post. Many of the needs that I see I would never be known to me otherwise.
Just being aware of what is going on in the lives of the people around us will help us relate to them and other better. It will create conversation with people and help us be empathetic to their needs. Though I mentioned that some people love drama, there are many people just looking for support and prayer in a difficult time. Social media makes me more aware than I would be otherwise.
I am sure you have some thoughts about social media. Share in the comment section below your favorite part of social media. Maybe you have a great story of connection or awareness that would encourage all of us.