I’ve probably said enough recently about my gravitation toward a less-tech existence, but I’m reminded yet again of technology’s shortcomings. Social media, for example, arrived with a promise of connecting humanity for the betterment of everyone. People from all over the world and all walks of life could talk, listen, reason together, and grow. John Lennon’s “Imagine” could soon become a reality. Our twenty-four-seven connection to one another would crumble the dividing walls of hostility.
It never happened, of course, and it never will.
I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I just know human nature doesn’t change because we have different tools. Social media doesn’t help us communicate better. It just allows us to communicate in more ways with more people. The same ideas and opinions which always existed are simply amplified—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Give a violent man a hammer, and he’ll hurt people. Give him an automatic rifle, and he’ll likely hurt more people. His means of destruction will not change his destructive nature.
I quit Facebook years ago because scrolling the newsfeed left me disappointed if not discouraged. Ceaseless debates tired me. Cutesy memes bored me. People posting only the Instagram-worthy parts of their life disturbed me. I deleted my profile as well as my public page with 15,000 “fans” and never looked back.
My relationship with Twitter has been on-again, off-again since I first joined in 2008. After 35,000 tweets and 5,000 followers, I deactivated that account as well. I’ve since rejoined the platform, but I haven’t stopped questioning whether I belong. “What’s happening?” Twitter asks. Some new controversy, I’m sure, and everyone has something to say about it.
No one has ever attempted to take me by force to make me a king, but I think I understand why Jesus often withdrew to a mountain by himself (Jn 6:15). We need to escape the noise. We need space to breathe, think, and pray. Never mind FOMO, our fear of missing out. Missing out may be in our best interest.
It is, at the very least, worth considering.