#sociallyspeaking: Is Social Media Dangerous?
I remember a number of years ago when the wife of a friend reconnected with an old friend through a high school graduates' website. The site was like a forum where old classmates could share information and get caught up on who was doing what. Pretty much all the same things people might do at a class reunion. Her reconnection was with an old boyfriend, and she decided to leave her husband for this fellow she had not seen in 15 or 20 years.
Not long after this, there were a few reports of the same thing happening via Facebook. One church pastor went so far as to encourage his entire church to get off Facebook and made all of his staff close their accounts.
Often people fear new forms of communication due to the problems and excesses of a few. Facebook is approaching one billion registered users worldwide, but everybody is not leaving their spouse or abandoning their family.
Social media has made it easier than ever to reconnect with people from your past. Just enter the name of your high school and suddenly you see the names and faces of people with whom you sat in shop, for whom you blocked in football, and maybe even one or two who joined a dare to cut classes. Many memories, both good and bad, can flood back in a short period.
There is no direct line, though, from using social media and becoming involved in sin. It is frustrating to think about it, but the fact is people have been sinning long before social media ever made an appearance. Frankly, they've been sinning a lot, too. King David did not need a smartphone, Internet connection or Facebook account to start a downhill slide into adultery, deceit and murder. Gomer did not need email to leave Hosea and go back into harlotry.
Social media, just like the telephone, may make connections easier, but does not plant the temptation in our hearts. Jesus warned it's not what is outside of us that is corrupt, but what is inside (Mark 7:18-20).
On the other side, social media presents us with ongoing opportunities for learning, encouraging and being encouraged. My friends regularly post prayer requests and the answers to those requests. Pastors give praise for how God is working in their churches. People on mission give immediate updates on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
The opportunities with social media far outweigh the negatives. It opens doors to dozens or hundreds of relationships waiting to be impacted with the gospel.