Never before have we supposedly known more about our neighbour – whether our neighbour’s literally in our street or on the other side of the planet.
Social media has made it possible to publicise even the drabbest details about our lives, but people are apt at promoting a better life than they actually enjoy. (Though there are some who go the opposite way and play the ‘woe is me’ game for their world to see.)
It’s so easy nowadays to check out a friend’s page, even though we would hardly say hello to some of these friends if we passed them in the shopping centre – we just don’t know some of them that well.
Friendship has never been cheaper than in this social media age.
But, then again, this social media friendship phenomenon has facilitated many good things.
Given that we conduct our Facebook time on our own the majority of the time, here are five negative factors we should all be aware of:
1. ‘Stalking’ causes envy or pride or both. The practice of secretly looking at other people’s pages will generate a false impression of what their lives are really about. We might expect to feel worse or feel too much better as a result, and this is all seated in the mode of comparison.
2. ‘Stalking’ betrays our soul and compromises our relationship with God. Secrets kept for secret’s sake because of guilt or shame are damaging. Such secrets kept will degrade our confidence, not build it, because our consciences know very well when we lack integrity.
3. People often only place their best stuff on Facebook. It’s a real pity that we’ve generally all become a little more narcissistic since the social media age began. We likely only post what will make us look good, different or special. As we stalk people on social media we begin to not be able to differentiate between a healthy interest and our envy and/or pride.
4. We cannot ‘unknow’ what we learn. This is such an important fact. We ought to be very careful what we learn. Some things we learn we learn to regret learning. They make our lives harder, not easier.
5. We may actually give our game away. If we are careless in our stalking we can leave some sign that we did what we did. That may well be justice.
For all social media’s benefits it can also be a temptation into an unhealthy and inappropriate interest in others.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.