Social Media or Social Burden?

John Wylie —  February 1, 2012 — 14 Comments

Social Media Can Become A Burden

I have often been asked the question on my social networks ‘How do you get so many friends/followers/connections?’
Well – the truth is…I am famous and am hiding it from the world…not!

The fact of the matter is that I was/am hooked on social media. It is an addiction of mine.
It all started about 7 years ago when I discovered MySpace…and the all too awesome ‘whore trains’ (don’t judge me for that word…it is what they were called).
You would tell your friends to add your one friend, and they would tell theirs to add you.
It was incredible.

I would get about 500 friend requests a day when I was doing this all day long.
I was hooked.

This fueled a fire that made me spend money on ‘friend adder’ programs.
For what though?
A new 1,000 friends to add to my 10,000?
Sheesh.

Then I met Twitter…oh dear.
This just added fuel to the fire.
I would do nearly anything for the next 1,000 5,000 or 10,000 followers.
Seeing the numbers climb was my addiction.

But what for?

What was I chasing?

The approval of man?
Oh man was I lost…oh man AM I lost.

I tend to seek the next big number – when I just need to keep one thing in perspective:
If my message only impacts 1 follower, I am doing the work of Christ properly.

I need to stop caring about the numbers,
And start caring about eternity.

Easier said than done, right?
Well, I can tell you this:
Social media became a burden for me.
It began to drain my real social life.

I would stay on my computer all day every day,
Adding people on MySpace – following tons of people on Twitter.
Totally neglecting my duties as a Christian.
I would make up excuses and say things like -
‘I am doing my duty! I am tweeting and blogging about bible verses!’
And the like.
But what was I really doing?

I was being vain. I was chasing my online persona and character more than my real life one.
Talk about a wakeup call.

So the question(s) for you today:
Are you chasing your character online more than real life?
How much time do you spend on your social networks (growing, connecting and sharing)?
What about your family?

John Wylie

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John Wylie is the man behind the cartoon - a guy who enjoys drumming, hanging out with friends, and traveling. John is currently attending the SevenTen Discipleship Program with Ryan Dalgliesh in Texas - he plans to use this education to preach & teach all over the country (and hopefully, the world). John also feels very awkward typing in third person.
  • https://twitter.com/#!/Ello_Luv Angie

    Im addicted but not to how many friends I can get…It’s more of just being nosey I think! lol

    • http://www.ivoryjohn.com John Wylie

      Love that, Angie! :)

  • Dizzy

    I understand the issue of over doing it, but why can’t building your social network online be just as important (and acceptable) than offline? I hear this argument all of the time that “kids these days don’t know how to talk on the phone” because the new generation has texts and Face Book. But at one time not so long ago people were saying, “Kids these days don’t know how to write a letter!” because those kids grew up with phones. Hell, even Socrates expressed his concerns with the evolution of technology and its impact on those who take it more seriously than traditional means, the only difference being that Socrates hated books and felt that they were diluting culture. Again I understand the problem with people who literally do nothing but sit on their computers rather than go to work or even eat, but what’s wrong with taking this next evolution of technology and embracing it? Instead of ignoring it or only giving it a “sometimes” status (as if it were poisonous) why not embrace the social media, write a blog, fight with facebook, make a lot of friends online, and help push this new technology where it needs to be and make your mark on the medium while it’s young enough to be marked on? It seems like you’re already doing this, John, and you’re doing great.

    • http://tolulopesmusings.com Tolulope

      I like your comment and I am so grateful I was born in this dispensation partly because of the available tools and technologies. They could be harmful but they could also be useful tools.

      Social media is not necessarily bad, it is how we use it, just like everything else. I love this: “Why not…help push this new technology where it needs to be and make your mark on the medium while it’s young enough to be marked on?” Thank you for that.

      We could be addicted to the numbers offline or online. So perhaps, social media is not the issue but our tendency to prefer quantity over quality at times?
      Tolulope recently posted..Stand in the gapMy Profile

      • http://www.ivoryjohn.com John Wylie

        Tolulope – I think you said something key about the quality over quantity bit!
        Great point, friend!

    • http://www.ivoryjohn.com John Wylie

      Dizzy – I think you have a good perspective too. All about using this new technology to spread more. I get that.
      But at the same time – consistency is KEY. Be the same person offline that you are online.
      Pursue the same types of relationships offline that you do online. Connect..it is a good thing.

  • http://tolulopesmusings.com Tolulope

    Beautifully said and we would all do well to align with this: “If my message only impacts 1 follower, I am doing the work of Christ properly.”

    Thank you.
    Tolulope recently posted..Stand in the gapMy Profile

    • http://www.ivoryjohn.com John Wylie

      Thanks! :)

  • http://www.google.com Adriana Johnson

    Anything and everthing in life is about balance. Balance of the family, physical health, family, friends, church. We live in a busy, busy world. I did not start a twitter and facebook account until I was not working. It has helped me tremedously with many, many things. I am actually getting healing and inspiriation thourhg it and courage. It can be used for good. However, that being said you are exactly right it can be used for bad even in its good by the amount spent on it, time taken away from your time with the Creator, Scripture, family etc. I think in all areas we have to ponder, pray am i balanced am I edifing Christ in my life. Thank you for your post and insight to ponder.

    Adriana Johnson

    • http://www.ivoryjohn.com John Wylie

      glad to help, Adriana! :)

  • http://twitter.com/#!/flygirljc Jan Carver

    numbers mean nothing to me – they do not impress me & when is see people with 1,00 to 7,000 followers – not friends on any social media i whence – i know something is not right there…

    i keep my friends to a minimum – less than 60 to 70 on facebook & it is nice that we have the ability to open up to subscribers that we don’t know & are not our friends & that is what i have done but have only acquired around 40 of those & i keep my twitter followers to a very small number – following & followers & most of them are about scriptures or human trafficking & aviation. NOW – my tweets are a huge number because i mainly retweet others & say very little of my own ideas/thoughts/text & usually that is in a reply… ♥

    i have been home & not working for quite some time & i feel being on facebook & twitter has helped me be encouraged & able to share God’s blessings while i have this time to do so. social media can be used for such good & also for bad & can feed addictions for sure – but these addictions will probably manifest in other ways if not on/for social media – and yes, it is always about balance for sure… ♥

    sometimes i get overwhelmed & back off of one social media or the other – right now it is twitter & my main focus seems to be on facebook – just seems more personal to me at this point in time & i personally know way more of the people/real friends on facebook instead of twitter – so probably why i am gravitating toward real face to face friendships that i personally know & i also check my flikr account daily & spend some time on there – mainly to store photos but interact also & that comes & goes also – depending on the interaction with others & i have no real time friends on there – people i have no idea who they really are – which disturbs me somewhat…

    i am sure all this will change when i re-enter the corporate world once again…

    • http://www.ivoryjohn.com John Wylie

      “my tweets are a huge number because i mainly retweet others & say very little of my own ideas/thoughts/text & usually that is in a reply”
      I like what you said.
      I need to do this more. – Sharing is caring! :D

      • http://twitter.com/#!/flygirljc Jan Carver

        thank you for acknowledging you like something in what i wrote – sharing is caring for sure… ♥

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    Very convicting questions, John.

    For me it’s more about being purposed with the time I have. When I’m on Twitter, what’s my goal? When I’m home with the family, am I present? When I’m at work, am I focused on the task at hand?

    I honestly think multitasking is a myth and time is more efficient and impactful when singularly focused.
    ThatGuyKC recently posted..Wise Guy: Jeff Goins, WriterMy Profile