At the beginning of 2020, I felt like God was encouraging me to more regularly practice the spiritual discipline of silence. Consequently, I moved Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter off of the first screen on my iPhone — putting them inside a folder on the second screen. It effectively curbed my use of those apps for awhile.
But then COVID-19 hit. In those early weeks, especially, it felt like virtual community was my only opportunity for community. So in March, I pulled those apps out of their folder. I still kept them on the second screen of the iPhone: less accessible than December but more accessible than February.
Naturally, I started using social media a lot more frequently.
In the last couple of weeks, however, social media has become more unhealthy for me. Especially with (1) People expressing their views on mask usage versus no mask usage in the reintegration of society in the time of COVID-19 and (2) People protesting the death of George Floyd and police brutality against people of color. I’ve had strong feelings on both of these issues — (1) Pro-Mask, and (2) Anti-Racism — but I’ve observed that the echo chambers of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are not helpful in promoting meaningful dialogue. And even if that statement seems questionable for some, I can say for sure that they’re not helpful for letting my heart rest in the presence of God.
So I’m pushing social media back to the margins of my life. The apps are now relegated to the second screen of a folder on the second screen of my iPhone. And already I’m starting to feel more peace. It truly does feel like there’s an inverse relationship between time spent on social media and time spent in the presence of God. At least for me.
I’m excited to reallocate time in a way that more meaningfully mirrors my priorities. I don’t expect that everyone else needs to manage their social media usage in the same way. I don’t expect that everyone else will be enthusiastic about the decisions I’ve made for my social media usage. But I know that I want to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and let everything else fall into place after that.
I still plan to regularly share my perspectives — even on politically charged issues — here in my own web-space. But I’m going to try to work towards checking in on social media only once or twice a week. Until I feel directed otherwise by God, anyway.