Un-Social Media?

A recent issue of The Economist (August 17-23, 2013, p. 68) reported on an interesting study into the effect of Facebook on its users. It found that use of the media increased these indicators: jealousy, social tension, isolation and depression. I think many of us are also aware of the high amount of indignation that the digital world spews about. So why do we call these media “social?” Now, if you are expecting an anti-social media diatribe from an old guy, I’m going to surprise you. Go ahead and use these sites. However, I will still make a plea. The study cited byThe Economist found that those who had actual face-to-face contact instead of using Facebook, not only did not increase in the negative indicators mentioned; they reported more of an increased sense of well-being. Those of us who reflect on the biblical teaching on how God has made us with a need for real community (not the virtual substitute) will not be surprised at this study. So, what is my plea? That many more Christian leaders would use these new media with greater wisdom and discernment. What do you think?

Axel Schoeber
I teach Supervised Ministry and Baptist Identity, and I shepherd the Graduate Internship Program for pastors new to the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada. I follow current affairs and, as an old soccer coach, I love a good game, particularly if it involves the Vancouver Whitecaps or the German national men’s team!
  1. Paddy Ducklow
    Rev. Dr. Patrick Ducklow, Pastor Emeritus (CapChurch) and the Right Honourable Erb-Gullison Professor of Family Studies, Carey Theological Collage and Poppa to 2 of the world's best grandchildren. Reply
    I OBJECT! FB is an ally to the pastor who wants to keep up with the demands of a congregation. It is nothing more than the church newsletter digitized and made more efficient. I track the posts and blogs of my son (who I often see face to face) and my friends who I see less often because they live in other lands. I connect with missionaries and single parents without the money for coming to church each Sunday. I follow people from the recent "Truth and Reconciliation" Commission and their erudite comments. My daughter posts pictures of my grandchildren often (as do her friends) so that I can keep up to date with their joys and experiences. I hear from students who talk about my classes and hope I am not on line ("Gotcha!"). I find out about awesome music (eg Boz Scaggs, Eric Clapton, etc.) and I know about early releases of worship music. I am able to send birthday blessings and write prayers for those I love and arrange dinners with my family. And... It is just life. By the way, this IS social media. ("Gotcha!")

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