Social media leaves me feeling empty. Now what?

Have you ever noticed this?  Maybe it’s just me.  Sometimes I can only manage about 10 minutes of facebook / reddit / twitter / whatever before I can feel my brain turning into mush.  I’ve experienced this for a good while now and finally realised it makes good blog-fodder.

The feeling is something like a, um .. “sokerikrapula” (Finnish) – sugar hangover.  That exhausted and and nauseas feeling you get when a sugar high is wearing off.  For me it’s like that, but with a touch of .. vertigo?  Claustrophobia?  Panic attack?  This feeling sometimes even attacks me by proxy.  Just being next to someone in a lift who is glued to his/her smart-phone is enough do it.

I’m wondering if it’s related to our need for being connected to something outside of ourselves?  The need to belong.  We all have this desire in us.  Social media and mobile devices (smart-phones, tablet PCs etc) all promise to fulfil this need and make us .. feel, but instead I am met with a slowly loading web-page containing adverts, click-bait on a sheet of glass in my hand.  I receive only the smallest morsel of what was promised.

Homesick for heaven (tm*)

What am I looking for when I log on to <insert social media site here>?  Most of the time I’m just bored and looking for a connection with something bigger and more vibrant than the toilet paper next to me.  For a while I experimented with Reddit or Twitter to see if they would give me some new edgy and raw news feed.  Breaking news, but without political filtering.  It’s like there is some undefined itch in my soul which is demanding to scratched.  I just … can’t … reach … it .. no matter how I twist and turn on the internet.

Facebook, for instance, seems to be trying to promise a full and meaningful connected existence.  It wants to be an on-line representation of your real life.   Your complete network of close friendships, memories, shared experiences – your life, but an online facsimile.  We do have a real need to feel connected, loved, that we are important and that we belong somewhere.  That need is part of every single one of us.  It’s a yearning that social media is cashing in on.  This yearning is something that has been with the human race ever since it left Eden.  Sometimes I even think it’s like a homesickness

Maybe that’s it.  Maybe I have some weird homesickness for a home which I’ve never seen.  Maybe the feeling of the dislocation comes from trying to fill in a hole which is more a homesickness for heaven.  When Jesus was around, He said that had come to give life, and to give it in all it’s fullness;

The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness. (John 10:10)

Social media can be, admittedly, pretty good, but it’s not even half as good as life with my flesh and blood family and friends.  At worst it can be a thief.  Stealing our time, our relationships and our life.

What next?  How do I detach from social media and how can the space be filled?  I really am thinking out loud here ..

Maybe I can avoid:

  • Checking my messages first thing in morning
  • Logging on to social media in the late evening
  • Not reading social media on the loo (be honest, I know you do too!)

Screen-free times to expand on:

  • Sofa time with the family
  • Dog walking & being outside
  • Reading a book on the bus
  • Playing guitar by myself or with friends
  • Taking the scenic route home on the bike
  • Coffee with friends

Here’s a thought: What’s the worst that could happen if I don’t “quickly catch up” with my FB/Twitter feed?  The world isn’t going to end.  Although when the zombies do invade, I reckon the last thing some people will see is the zombie lumbering towards them via the screen of their smart-phone.  When family or friends want to find me, they generally phone or send a text message or email.  To this day, it is very very rarely something dramatic which means I have to radically change my day.  And this never happens through FB.

Does any of this make sense?  Could you share your thoughts in the comments?

Otaniemi footpath
Otaniemi footpath – a good antidote for FB
  • Homesick for heaven : A song I wrote ages ago

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