I’m deleting social media by the end of the year.
Social media was a great idea, and it has its beautiful benefits. As someone who lives 3,000 miles from my family, and has made friends across the nation and the world, social media makes it easy to stay in touch.
Evaluating Our Use of Social Media
But what does that mean, “stay in touch?”
Does it mean scrolling passively through a newsfeed to click “like” on your newest picture? Does it mean writing “Happy birthday” on your wall when Facebook reminds me it’s your birthday? Does it mean commenting on one another’s posts without ever actually making time for a phone call or a coffee date?
We live in an age of general ease and convenience. Again, these aren’t necessarily bad things. But as my generation has suffered from severe loneliness, depression, and anxiety, I can’t ignore that these might be unintended ramifications of a form of communication that has never existed before.
Additionally, I know I regularly waste time on social media. I know it distracts me from work and other important priorities. I know it probably contributes to my difficulty falling and staying asleep at night as I turn to my phone’s blue screen to lull me into slumber. I know it probably fuels some of the heightened anxiety I feel in ways I don’t fully understand.
Moreover, I know that one day I want to raise children that don’t live their lives online. And if that’s how I want them to live, I can’t expect anything less of myself.
Sucked In To Big Tech Manipulation
Finally, our Big Tech overlords have shown themselves to care very little for our civic freedoms (such as free speech, freedom of consciences, or even the freedom to think for ourselves and be wrong, for instance). It’s been made clear through documentaries like The Social Dilemma and exposés like The Wall Street Journal‘s Facebook Files that Zuckerberg and the like are most interested in keeping our attention, no matter what it takes. They use manipulation and trickery to keep us scrolling and spending as much time online as possible. That’s not something I want to be a part of, much less sucked into.
I want what is real. Andrew Klavan recently pointed out that this move toward a more immersive online experience (most recently expressed via Meta) is a denial of the human body. But the physical reality around us is vital. We are embodied souls in a tangible world. That means something. And by circumventing that experience by living more and more of our lives online, we are missing out on what it means to actually be human. In a sense, we are divorcing ourselves from truth.
Make Room for the “Greater-Than”
So it’s time to cut the cord. Again, social media has its benefits, and some people are able to use it in a healthy way. I have found social media to be an incredibly encouraging place at times. But it’s time to let go of the lesser-than to make room for the greater-than.
The greater-than is intentional relationships. It’s friends and family gathering around dinner tables with one another. It’s teaching our children how to garden and play music and nourish their bodies. It’s about taking walks and breathing the fresh air. It’s about reading books and writing stories and building something with our hands. It’s about spending quiet moments with our thoughts, without distraction. It’s about communing with God through prayer and worship. It’s about recognizing the world He created around us and called “good.”
The greater-than is calling, and it requires we let go of the lesser-than. As soon as we empty our hands of what is mediocre, we might find our hands filled with what is good and true and beautiful.
Caitlin Bassett is a Policy Analyst and Communications Liaison for the Center for Science & Culture and the Center on Wealth & Poverty. Her main areas of focus are in Big Tech and its impact on human freedom, as well as homelessness and mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys delving into Lewis and Tolkien, cosmology, and running around historical sites on the East Coast. She graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with her Bachelor’s in Politics and Policy.