Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.
Christian Lous Lange
Technology and the introduction of social media has pushed the world into a different place than it was 10-15 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an engineer, and I love technology. I’m also someone who has enjoyed the connections social media and especially the blogging world have afforded me. I appreciate the fact that I can quickly find the score of the game from where ever I am whenever. I love that I can say “Call Leanne Stolpe” in my car and find myself on the phone with my bride in a matter of seconds talking hands-free as if she were sitting right next to me in the car. I’m thankful I can video call my daughter every week while she is studying in Chile for the semester.
But I’ve had to learn the balance.
I love my kids, and I naturally like to “show them off” to the world. In my mind, they are incredible, and they both are amazingly gifted. With today’s live streaming capabilities, it’s easy to catch a few minutes of my son’s piano practice sessions and broadcast for the world to see. (He really is an amazing piano player.) But he didn’t appreciate this, and he let me know. I quickly took down the post, and I took time to apologize to him later in the evening.
As an author and entrepreneur, there is a battle I fight between self-promotion and genuinely wanting to get the word out about my products and services. Today’s social media world gives me the opportunity to share about my books, my mastermind group for men, and my speaking opportunities. (I hesitate to link to these products and services given the conversation in this post.) I want me to know about these things, so I can help others. Honestly, I also like to share about these things, because I think it makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. As a product creator and service provider, I walk the line between battling imposter syndrome (which keeps me from promoting my stuff) and an amplified desire to self promote. I’m guessing other authors and entrepreneurs may understand this tension. Technology is a blessing and a curse. Technology has paved the way for “ordinary” people like me to write and publish books about becoming “extraordinary.”
Here’s another problem: The social media technology (and much of the technology in general) is very addicting. I find myself waking up in the morning and immediately checking my phone – any text messages? – any Facebook notifications? – check into myFitnessPal to keep my streak alive – quickly check on my Boom Beach and Clash of Clans games – download the latest podcasts to which I subscribe – and check my email (GMail and work email). Before I know it, I’ve wasted 30 or more minutes. I know I’m not alone in this addiction.
I’m also turned off by the growing disharmony that seems to be populating itself all over my Facebook feed. I get people’s opinions about politics, gun control, school violence, President Trump’s latest missteps or Twitter trash. I watch as friends and family members call each other bigots, incompetent, scumbags, and the like. And most of this is done in a very, very disrespectful manner.
I find myself posting less and reading less on Facebook and on my blog. I find myself hiding posts of friends and family who litter my feed with hatred and disrespect for the section of mankind who doesn’t align with their opinions. Some would say I’m not being a good citizen by ignoring these issues on Facebook and other platforms. And some would assume I hold one opinion or other without really taking the time to stop and talk with me in a civil dialogue.
Am I rambling?
Is it even okay that I share these thoughts? Or am I simply hoping someone will give me a pat on the back?
Again I appreciate technology, but I want to be a good steward of my time, my life, my resources, my talents and skills, and technology.
I want to be a good steward and make sure what’s in my heart is what God wants, and then once it’s done and released, at that point it’s up to God and what he does on the back end.
My prayer is that I would represent my wife, my kids, and my faith well in my words, in my thoughts, and in my actions. And my prayer is that I would do so with a level of respect and clarity that builds up people and builds community.
I certainly don’t have the answers, but I think it starts with an intentional mindset. Does this Facebook post – this bog post – this Twitter post – this comment or reply – add positively to the overall conversation and to the betterment of those around me and to me, or am I simply adding to the noise and disunity that seems to be expanding? If I can ask this question before I press the ‘Post’ or ‘Send’ button, I think it will help.