Is there such a thing as communication overload? I love all the ways I can keep in touch with more people in my life, from a niece that lives 2,000 miles away to old friends from grade school. I can see what is happening in their lives through social media and feel like we are all walking through life together. Or so it seems.
Instead, I find myself feeling guilty of my failure to maintain relationships. There are too many people to text or message or ‘like’ on social media. I should be texting my niece more. I should be checking social media more to see what is going on in people’s lives to see if there is something to acknowledge or something major happening in their lives. I should be calling my parents more. I should call PEOPLE more. I should be updating my in-laws more on my husband’s battle with cancer. I can’t keep up. My relationships are broader, including so many more people than ever before possible, but they are definitely shallower.
Craig Groeschel addresses these types of technology struggles in his book #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World. We want to believe we are not the sum of our likes our last post received, but it still feels like those little clicks matter. And why do we try to impress each other and put on our best front? We generally connect with people best through our weaknesses, not by impressing them with our strengths.
Groeschel is in his mid-forties (as myself), so he remembers how communication “use to be” and can compare to now. He sees the positives of social media, but also points out the narcissism it can create, the decline in our ability to be empathetic to others, and the opportunity to state your thoughts and opinions and move on without caring or knowing about the destruction you create. He discusses the struggle with counting “likes”, the struggle with being authentic, the struggle with comparing ourselves to others, the struggle of being constantly distracted. He provides perspective and answers too – ways we can recover contentment, intimacy, authenticity, compassion, integrity, and rest.
We can learn how to keep technology in its place, to enjoy its benefits and aware of its obstacles. I found this book enlightening and could connect with many of the struggles. Awareness of the problems with social media is a huge first step in managing it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who frequently uses social media and also wants to follow Jesus.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest review.