The Dangers of Social Media - Radiant

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The Dangers of Social Media

Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg

Perhaps unbeknownst to many people who have gotten into the social media game in the past year or so, there has been a lot of debate as to how to communicate the value of social media to individuals entrenched in old-school business and management thinking. And while this remains a real challenge for social media advocates as we try to communicate its value to our audience(s), much has been done to answer many of those questions from a metrics and brand perspective. On that point, you can check out a blog like that of K.D. Paine.

But there’s much to be learned as we continue forward with the frantic pace of information assaulting the web and our minds on a minute-by-minute basis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big advocate of the concept of social media and as I’ve indicated in past posts, I firmly believe it is right in line with the calling of ministry-based organizations and a tool with vast potential for both ministries and non-profits.

But I remain a cautious advocate. I frequently wrestle with the question of what the ramifications are of what’s going on right now in our society. Just a bit earlier this afternoon, as I was writing this post, I saw this article on CNN. Just read the first few paragraphs and you’ll get a sense of just how deep an impact social media sites can have on a person.

Interestingly, what I’m seeing recently, which I think is a direct result of the challenges we’re seeing with social media is a trend towards a new phenomenon called a “blogatical”.

Back on February 26 of this year, Carlos Whittaker, the author of the very popular Christian blog, Ragamuffin Soul, took a “blogatical” – a term that of course means to take a break from blogging. Since then, I’ve come across a number of other individuals who have taken a blogatical and one person I know just took a break from technology in general.

But in his final post before his break, Carlos said something that has stuck with me ever since:

“This whole Internet thingy we have here is new. We don’t know the damage these narcissistically beautiful tendencies will have on us.”

Admittedly, I’m still chewing on this issue and a big part of me thinks that this is all happening so fast that prognosticating what all the ramifications are just isn’t possible. But the idea that this is, or has the potential to be fed by narcissism is definitely an intriguing concept.

So I encourage you to join me in embracing all the potential and success of social media, but to do so with our eyes wide open to the yet unknown damage it also has the potential to inflict on us. I’d love to hear more thoughts on this idea to see if, and what, others are thinking about on this topic.