Pete Wilson, pastor of Crosspoint Church, posted a blog today about an article wrote by Shane Hipps called Is Facebook Killing Our Souls for Relevant Magazine. Here is an excerpt from the article that Pete Wilson posted,
The narcissism created by these technologies is unique. It encourages not just self-absorption, but, more accurately, self-consumption. We become creators and consumers of our own brand. We become enamored by a particular kind of self, a pseudo-self. A self-image controlled in much the same way corporate brands are controlled. Complete with pictures, videos, songs and, most of all, metrics—the number of friends we have, the kinds of friends we have and the kind of associations we have. We endlessly refine, create and consume a digital projection we want others to see. However, we are rarely what we project. This image approximates reality, but it is not reality.
This heavily edited and carefully controlled self easily hides certain parts of ourselves we don’t want others to see. This is hardly new, of course. In any social situation, we seek to control the impression we give. The problem is that in real social settings, there are limits to what we can hide. At a certain point, people intuitively see through us. Eventually they get a sense of who we really are. And in this way, real friendships can function as a healthy mirror. They become an honest mirror that loves but doesn’t flatter us. Facebook is more like a funhouse mirror. Feeling short and squatty, no problem, just bend the mirror and presto! You are who you wish you were.
Over enough time, this subtle effect creates a minor split in us. A split between who we are, and who we think we are. This tiny fracture may seem insignificant, but if we remain unconscious, it leads us away from a life of wholeness and integration.
Narcissism is a rather exquisite vice. It is very difficult to detect in oneself. And when something is hard to identify it makes it hard to dissolve. The real buzzkill, though, is how it affects relationships. Studies indicate narcissists have trouble forming meaningful relationships, tend to be materialistic and are prone to higher levels of infidelity, substance abuse and violence.
So while Facebook and other social media connect us to more digital relationships, at the same time, they deteriorate our ability to maintain healthy relationships in real life.
Our social technologies are increasingly serving as an obstacle to this process in young people. If certain kinds of social media are introduced prematurely in the lives of teens, they may inadvertently short-circuit basic developmental milestones crucial for establishing healthy relationships later in life.
I can see where the author is coming from. I do think social media can cause deterioration of relationships. It’s easy to portray yourself as something you are not on these sites. But I think this mostly happens when people are already losing touch with reality. It is not just Facebook or Twitter, it is a lot of things they struggle with. Their false reality exists in more areas then just on social media sites. I believe social media can contribute this Narcissism but I do not think it is where it starts. That starts within the person.
I want to hear your thoughts. Is this something that could destroy our ability to have healthy relationships in real life? In ministry, I frequently use these types of media. Am I contributing to this by using it? Let’s hear your thoughts!