Friday, March 11, 2011

The Power of Social Media: example #459230

Earlier this week was Ash Wednesday. I’ve never been a very religious person, so I’ve never paid much attention to it. However, my interest about this particular day piqued when I was saw a report on the local news about Christians giving up Facebook for Lent.

Does this mean they’re switching to Twitter?

Church of Twitter

I understand that Lent is a time for spiritual rejuvenation and breaking bad habits to get closer to God. I just don’t think that Facebook or any other form of social media is a vice that should simply given up like chocolate or alcohol. I’ve already talked about how much I dislike Facebook, but I also gave reasons as to why I still use it. As I have said, it is a part of our lives.

I’m not trying to criticize anybody who is doing this. My issue is that Facebook is being singled out as the monster that eats up the time of its unsuspecting victims. We know that there is much that has been said about the evils of social media. But at the same time, there is a lot to be said about its benefits.

Think about what is happening in Japan.

Japan

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan and triggered tsunamis and landslides. It was the largest earthquake in 140 years for the country, and the 7th largest in recorded history. Damage to nuclear power plants threaten a meltdown that could produce fallout that could do more damage than I even want to think about.

It is a nightmare.

Social media is playing a part in reporting on the disaster as it happens. Footage of the earthquake was uploaded immediately onto YouTube. Real-time commentary and #prayforjapan are coming from Twitter. Facebook and other networks are helping many find out that their friends and family are safe.

This is the power of social media. What is a procrastination tool to one person is a lifeline to another. Businesses use it to promote themselves while others denounce them with it. To give it up based on a personal negative impact is letting go of what it can do for you—even if it’s for 40 days. Instead of blaming social media for your procrastination, learn how to manage your time on the web.

For now, please keep Japan in your prayers. You can click here if you want information on giving them donations.