In recent weeks, Facebook (now Meta) has come under heavy scrutiny for their alleged focus on profit at the expense of their users. Frances Haugen, the whistleblower and one-time employee of Facebook, claims that Facebook harms children, sows division and undermines democracy in pursuit of breakneck growth and astronomical profit. She also claims Facebook is capable of more than it suggests in making their platform safer, and in the case of the Capitol riots, could have done more to prevent it from happening.
Regardless if the specifics are true, anyone that uses a social media platform can see the intentional pull social media has on us and how long we can scroll, almost mindlessly, through its posts or videos. How do we manage to avoid losing productivity and time, especially when these platforms are often important for our work or careers?
In John Brandon’s book, The Seven Minute Productivity Solution, he writes, “You set parameters for how often you use apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn and decide what you want to accomplish.”
It’s an easy practice to try. We use social media for an allotted amount of time, and then we don’t use it for an allotted amount of time. Seems simple. But the effect that can have on how we start our day, or how we use our break time, or even how we use our work time can be transformative. We don’t stop using social media for the tool that it is, but we stop letting it hinder our productivity.
Another important topic that relates to social media is the influence it has on our peace. Particularly during a controversial moment, like election season, we can get lost in all the things we disagree with and we can start to fixate on them. We become angry at strangers. We are snide and hurtful. Paul writes in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
Let us take a moment to let that verse really convict us about how we use social media. Perhaps we need to unfollow people that post controversial things. Maybe we need to apologize for hurtful things we have said. Maybe we need to stop commenting altogether. We as Christians need to be bringers of peace. If we recognize that social media isn’t filling us with the fruits of the Spirit, it is important that we change habits and allow the Spirit to reign more in our lives.
Being peaceful people that use social media wisely within time limits will give more control over what we see and make us more productive. Being more productive gives us more time for what matters and more time to succeed in our goals. Brandon writes further, “Good plans with parameters make us more productive…We can stop seeking for that which cannot be found and rest in the fact that we have already found purpose, truth, meaning, and intention.”
Social media is here to stay, however when used within boundaries, it can be a tool to keep us connected and further our careers without controlling our time and productivity.