Using Social Media, Not Letting It Use You!

Social MediaHave you ever thought about how you use social media? Do you have a daily habit of checking Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram? Is this necessarily bad in and of itself? It doesn’t have to be, as long as it doesn’t become an addiction! You know that you are addicted if you have a “gnawing feeling” that you are missing out if you don’t check your social media accounts several times every day! Have there ever been several days in which you have not checked your social media? Maybe you got too busy, you had things going on in your life, perhaps or you just didn’t feel like you had the time to sit down and check your social media accounts. If so, you may be the exception and not the rule! It is surprising how many people can’t let a day go by without checking their social media!

This can be a form of addiction. Now I’m not necessarily saying that you will go into some kind of sweating, shaking withdrawal if you don’t check your social media accounts. But just that little “gnawing” in the back of your mind may be an indication that addiction is a possibility! The bottom line is, I want to use social media, but not let it use me!

Another problem to consider is that if you get all your information, or even a large portion of your information, from social media, are you thinking about it critically? I have mentioned in the last several articles the need for critical thinking. It is not enough to know that we need to think about what we see, what we read, and what we hear through media. We need to always stop and ask ourselves several questions. The key questions are: “Who wrote what I am reading?” Not who sent it. Not who posted it. Because that could have been a close friend, someone you know and trust. But, we need to ask, “Where did they get it?” Are they just mindlessly forwarding something they saw that caught their attention briefly but have no idea as to the source of the information. As an example, let’s say a close, trusted, friend posts an article that indicates that a celebrity has died. That celebrity is one of your favorite actors. You then post on your timeline how much you regret that actor’s death. Or, you simply share the article that your friend posted about the actor’s death. Then you find out that the actor in question is still alive! You feel kind of silly. That’s a fairly harmless example of the problem that were talking about. But what if what you read in various posts, even from trusted friends, about an issue that is even more important, or more critical? You could pass along information, the origin of which you did not know, the contents of which haven’t been confirmed. That piece of information could be read by someone that influences them to think a certain way, to perceive the world a certain way, and may even drive them to some form of action that you never thought of, or intended! Finally ask yourself, “Is someone trying to influence me with this information?” Don’t be a “lemming” that jumps off into the sea because all the other lemmings are jumping! Think for yourself!

You see the process that is troubling in this scenario. Blindly posting, or sharing, information can create situations that have dire consequences! This is a sad fact, but one that we need to take to heart. If you see something online, no matter the source, check out the facts for yourself. Don’t let someone influence you with a random post, check out the source, check out the motive, find out the facts for yourself!

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