Scrolling, Scrolling, Scrolling My Life Away

The internet was cool when it started out. In a round about way I even met my wife because of it. I traveled all the way across the country to meet a girl I’d met online. True, it didn’t work out with that girl, but it did bring me to the place where I meet the one who would later become my wife. I was a maverick in those days- I tried internet dating when hardly anyone dared to do it. It wasn’t something you talked about then, let alone did. People thought you were weird if you went on a date with someone you met online. They would be concerned for your well being if you actually went ahead and met your online connection in person.

Now it’s all so commonplace.

The internet is now weaved into my life to such an extent I can’t imagine life without it. Being online used to be a blip on the screen and now it feels like all I ever do is look at screens. Desktops, devices, smartphones- all with their glowing screens. Sometimes I feel like I’m scrolling my life away. I got rid of Facebook years ago but still use my wife’s account from time to time. I was on Instagram but got rid of it. I’ve avoided Snapchat and other social media apps like the plague because it feels like social media steals my life by robbing me of time- Time I could have been doing something, anything, other than looking at a screen scrolling.

I’ve heard all the arguments about how social media helps us to connect. Why then do I see couples at a restaurant staring at their cell phones instead of staring into each others eyes? Is that not sad? How many of us get together with family now only to have everyone departing to their own virtual world via their smartphone?

Somehow things have gotten way out of balance.

 

Look at me!

Everyone’s broadcasting themselves on YouTube like they’re a celebrity. A lot of social media isn’t actually social as much as it is “look at me and my life” propaganda. People are creating brands out of themselves and selling themselves to their “friends”!

It’s kind of messed up when you stop to think about it.

The internet used to be pretty cool when it started out, but it went downhill pretty fast. There was a time in human history when the power to publish was only enjoyed by a few. Most of the world only wished that they had the power the big players enjoyed. The elite controlled the media and the message. Over time and through innovation the power to publish became more widespread. Today anyone can publish to the world. So what do we put out there?

Lots of naked photos!

Instagram is filled with people leaving nothing to the imagination. Twitter is overrun with well known celebrities displaying all for the world to see. Why? Aren’t celebrities popular enough already? Do we really need to see them naked? What is driving people to be so desperate that they’ll do anything to be noticed?

The world is given the power to publish and what they put out there is naked photos of themselves?

“But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant…” – 2 Timothy 3:1-2

And we’re all kind of getting sick of it, aren’t we? And it’s not just naked celebrities, it’s your neighbor next door and whole lot of other people down the block looking like they’re all trying to outdo each other online.

 

I have friends I don’t even know!

Then there’s Facebook. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through post after post on Facebook from friends we don’t even know, or thought we knew, only to learn we never really knew them at all. We discovered things about them better left hidden. Things we didn’t really need to know. Things that changed our opinion about them maybe.

Facebook broke down the walls that have existed in social circles since time began. It forced transparency and voyeurism and proclaimed how this new openness was good for society when it was really only good for Facebook’s bottom line.

And now that Pandora’s box has been opened via Facebook? The ugliness is coming out- people defriending their “friends” for posting opinions that differ from their own! A beautiful world isn’t it? There’s this thing called “boundaries” that Mark Zuckerberg tore down. A very important thing that has existed since man has inhabited the earth. Maybe I don’t need to know everything about everyone and everyone doesn’t need to know everything about me. Maybe privacy is actually healthy and has a protective effect on relationships?

 

I’m a YouTube Expert!

Forgive me for coming back to YouTube, but aren’t you tired of the endless YouTube channels from self proclaimed “experts” on every subject under the sun? Or the vlogs of unknown people looking to make a name for themselves by posting vapid videos depicting the ordinary minutes of their lives they seek to make important by making a video of them?

And we scroll, and we watch, and we waste away the hours because that’s just kind of what we do now. There might be a gold nugget out there so we pan through the dirt and garbage to get to the few gems that are truly worth discovering. There are some really good cat videos, right? And yes, I’m being sarcastic, but how much junk, honestly now, are we scrolling past every day of our lives? How much pure trash are we taking in subliminally because we really can’t unsee the stupid meme or video clip we’ve just scrolled past?

The internet was cool when it started out but it grew into a TMI monster. Too much information- we’re told that can never happen. Knowledge is power and all of that. Well, it’s not true! I don’t need to know most of the stuff that people are putting out there, it just wastes my time.

“But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.” – Ecclesiastes 12:12

Can you imagine what Solomon would have thought about our internet age? If that’s how he felt about books, what would he think of the endless scrolling through the reams of “knowledge” that we sift through online?

All I can say is that I think Solomon was right- It is wearying to the body, and the mind, and the spirit. This excessive need to be “connected” online is stealing our life from us.

 

Am I scrolling my life away?

What more can I say? Maybe a visit to this “social eating” channel will make my point. Will the sucking sound of the social media vacuum ever end?

There must be more to life than this.