Real Life?

I was sat in Starbucks for a few hours writing a talk the other day. There was a table near me that was proving a popular table, as soon as someone left then more people chose it as their table. Yet I think I heard, at the most, 5 sentences exchanged between the 4 different pairs of friends that came and sat there.

But the amount of sentences written on their phones was non stop. I genuinely couldn’t believe these people going for coffee to just then sit on their phones. Who are they really socialising with? Surely that isn’t going for coffee??

How much of your life do you spend online? And is it really ‘real’ life?

How much do we disappear into our phones, looking at fb, twitter or blog posts, seeing what is going on in the world, communicating with people everywhere and in that being distracted from the person you are actually with.

And what is it that we are actually putting online about ourselves? Is it true of who we are or are we creating an image that we want others to see of us rather than our real image?

I was challenged the other day when I listened to a talk that said if the thought of giving up social media for a month is something you couldn’t do, then you’re putting something of God in it. You’re letting the wrong thing control your life. And truthfully, the thought of giving up social media for a month does freak me out…

I think it makes us feel something of sovereign, it makes us feel like we know so much about so many different people and topics. It makes us feel connected to people near and far, in constant communication. It’s turned into the first and last thing I check each day.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not all bad. I could produce an endless list of good things about it… It’s great for being in contact with friends and family near and far, for organising things, for learning a lot about different topics that people are posting about, for making connections you couldn’t normally. But what is it about it that hooks people in so much? How has it become such a major part of people’s lives in realistically a really short amount of time?

And is it not only taking over lives but actually creating a double life?

I think we need to think about, not necessarily how much we share, but what actually are we sharing it for? How are we using social media as part of our real life?

And not ignoring the people in direct contact with you at the time… (which I definitely am guilty of…)


I listened to a great talk with Tim Chester on using social media to enhance, not replace relationships the other day. Check it out here… I would definitely recommend a listen.

(And this is ironically posted on social media I know!)


One thought on “Real Life?

  1. I agree. Social media is something that has become almost “central” to life. How are you supposed to know what’s going on if you’re not on facebook? How are you supposed to hear about the latest breaking news if you’re not on twitter? etc etc. Facebook is without a doubt a useful tool – without it, we would definitely struggle to organise CU! But at the same time that’s a sorry state of affairs! CU has been around much longer than facebook! I guess one argument is that social media is such a useful tool, especially in terms of evangelism, that it would be silly not to use it to it’s full potential. I heard it said somewhere that giving up social media would be like giving up your friends, and in a sense I agree. But I also disagree. Social media is not the same as meeting up for a cup of tea and a chat, and never will be! I think the balance lies within us – as long as we realise that social media is just a tool and that we could in fact live without it (Shock, horror) and that social media is definitely not God (although in some situations, it can help lead us to God through blogs etc), then social media is fine. But as soon as we become addicted maybe it’s time to re-evaluate our usage of it!

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