I’ve had my Blackberry Pearl for close to a year. I have been on Facebook for about 6 months, and I started Twittering in earnest a couple months ago. I must say I am feeling quite well-connected and socially relevant! In fact, it’s hard to imagine life without them now.
Please hear me say that I am not opposed to any of these, and I still intend to enjoy their vast benefits. But I have noticed something different about me since I’ve gotten so attuned to staying “connected.” I am constantly thinking about them. I have to check my phone every 10 minutes to see if the little red light is flashing, which indicates that I have a new email. If I’m separated from my phone for more than a few hours, I start having withdrawals! And I can’t wait to read when someone comments on my Facebook wall. I actually find myself sitting around wondering who else I need to follow — or who else might follow me — on Twitter!
All this demanding (or yielding) of my attention to social networking has started adding up to something I didn’t see coming for me : clutter, distraction, and frustration. I can certainly see why Keira Knightley said what she did about the internet. The Pirates of the Caribbean star said: “I hate the Internet. I find it dehumanizing to constantly check emails or social sites which have become so fashionable.”
I read an intriguing report that came out yesterday. It said, “Today’s fast-paced media could be making us indifferent to human suffering and should allow time for us to reflect, according to researchers. They found that emotions linked to moral sense are slow to respond to news and events and have failed to keep up with the modern world. In the time it takes to fully reflect on a story of anguish and suffering, the news bulletin has already moved on or the next Twitter update is already being read.”
Again, I’m not trying to beat up any of these latest information crazes. They can be wonderful tools which we can enjoy and take advantage of. However, for me, I have begun to allow them to take priority over my focus on the Lord and on being quiet and still. My mind shouldn’t be wondering back to my Blackberry or Twittering every few minutes. I shouldn’t be drawing my support and need for significance from how other people respond to my latest Facebook entry. I need to take time to reflect on the world and the events around me, and more importantly, I need time to focus on what the Holy Spirit wants to say to me at any given moment of my day or night.
The Bible is clear that I am to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It says nothing about me socializing without ceasing. Jesus was emphatic that Mary chose the best part when she sat at His feet and listened to Him in Luke 10. He said nothing about us needing to hear what other people’s opinions and validations are of us. God is my source of strength and significance. Before I seek to “fellowship” with others each day — before I run to check my email or Facebook page each morning — I must first prioritize my fellowship with the Lord and my meditation on His written Word. That will help keep my attention to everything else around me in divine check.