An open letter to the social media junkie

Ben Reed —  April 20, 2012 — 13 Comments

image credit: Creation Swap user David Lindner

Social media junkie,

It’s okay that I didn’t read your latest status. Really, it is. I’m not offended that you’ve written it…but don’t assume that I read it.

There’s so much information available today, I’m a bit overwhelmed. I’d love to say I have time to read everyone’s updates, but I don’t. And I think that’s okay. Even though you’re my friend. My good friend. Most of what you write I genuinely care about.

But it’s okay that I didn’t read your latest status update.

Because I didn’t read your latest status:

  • I can be genuinely surprised about the news in your life next time I see you.
  • We can have a conversation about the little things, and the big things, in your life.
  • We can laugh together, until we cry, over something hilarious your kid just did.
  • I can look you in the eye and tell you I appreciate you, rather than clicking “like” or ReTweeting your update.
  • Not reading your update allowed me to be engaged in playing Legos with my son.
  • Unless you’re going to offer me a bite of that burger, I don’t want to hear about it.

Keep posting on Facebook and Twitter. This is no indictment. Just don’t assume I, or anyone for that matter, read it all.

Signed,

 

 

Ben

 

 

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Ben Reed

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Christ follower, husband, father, writer, pastor of small groups at Long Hollow Baptist Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.
  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    but I do really care about the picture you took in the mirror with your cell phone… ;-)  

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Ha! Never do that, Rob. I’ll  unfollow you. :)

  • Harold

    If we tried to keep up with everybody on all the sites we are on, it would take up all our waking hours and there are so many more important things to do.  Your blog struck a note with me.  I have a close friend who, unfortunately, I do not see often enough.  So we use the usual linkedin, twitter, e-mail route to exchange ideas “on the fly”.  Yesterday afternoon he called me while he was on his break at work.  He is going through a situation that is bothering him (thank goodness not health or family related) and he justed needed to talk live to someone who understands.  I felt so loved by that call that before saying goodbye I said to him, “I just want to thank you for being my friend”.  And yes during our conversation we promised that we will see each other in the near future.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      That’s good stuff, Harold. Great relationship you’ve got with your friend. I love it.

  • URLoved

    Hospitality and Pastoral Care will move more and more to the realm of social media as time goes on. New social norms will convict pastors to perform traditional roles online. Being attentive to your followers will become a public act that will garner your congregation with good will from those outside your walls who see it. My suggestion would be to be more attentive, and to prioritize that attention as important.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      I agree, and use social media as pastoral care. But I’ve found it to be a rat race…one that’s not scalable over time. If you’re not careful, all of your time will be spent on social media. And though it’s a form of pastoral care, it can’t fully substitute.

      Social media doesn’t allow you to look someone in the eye, cry with them, pray with them, and hug them…which is often needed in pastoral care.

      I’m not abandoning social media. Just being careful.

  • http://kathyfannon.blogspot.com Kathy Fannon

    I hate when people get frustrated with me because I didn’t see their “big news” in their status update. True what Harold said, I could spend all day keeping up with social media. Please just call me or send an email if you want me to know your news.

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Hi. My name is KC and I’m a social media junkie.

    Thanks for not reading all my updates. We should chat on Skype sometime soon.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Ha! Love it, KC!

      Skype soon…yes. Social media junkies unite.

  • Joshua Horton

    Man, I gotta be honest, this is a tough subject for me. Not because I am a social media Junkie. I just don’t enjoy Facebook or twitter. Mostly because I am an old man in a young mans body. I see the benefit, and  I use it. But I’d rather not, and if I had it my way I would get rid of the whole social media infrastructure. Having said that I don’t discredit the good things that can come from twitter and Facebook. And I acknowledge that these things are neutral at the core, and we turn them into a great source of communication and connection or into a catalyst for a socially dysfunctional generation. 

    I know recently in a conversation about getting rid of internet with my wife the point was made “I can’t keep up with Kate and Levi (our 1 and 2 year old niece and nephew)” Which I pointed out that with the time saved being “disconnected” we could ACTUALLY see them in person once or twice a month instead of 3-4 times a year. The allusion of connection can be strong with social media. There is no substitute for face to face conversation. But at the same time, is any connection better than no connection? Were we made to handle all these connections?

    My biggest question as a young pastor is where do I draw the line when it comes to the culture around me. Thats where I would push back a little URLoved, because I don’t think JUST because the world around us is wrapped into social media the church needs to just jump on board and play to the culture. That the role of pastoral care should move fully (or at a extreme level) to Facebook and twitter. But I don’t think the answer is condemning social media and telling people that Blasphemy of the spirit and a Facebook account are the two unforgivable sins. Moderation I suppose. 

    What an amazing/crazy/unique time we live in and get he opportunity to lead in!

    P.S. Enjoyed reading your post a lot more when you made a reference to Crossfit :) .

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks for jumping in to the conversation, Josh. I liked your thoughts.

      I don’t know that there’s an answer, per se, to the tension you bring up. I think it’s one of those areas in our life where we need to pursue balance…not totally abstaining from social media, but not being consumed by it. That’s a tough balancing act, for sure. But one we need to work on.

      So you’re a Crossfitter?!?

  • http://lindseytalerico.com/ Lindsey

    I was roaming the internet tonight in search of a photo to go with my own social media junkie post. Really enjoyed yours :) Good perspective, wish I would’ve thought to write something like this myself (maybe even instead of this: http://lindseytalerico.com/2012/05/04/signs-of-a-social-media-junkie/). Cheers. 

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Love your post, Lindsey!