Hey, it’s nothing particularly novel, but I feel it’s something I’m realising afresh: let’s not let social media time kill our own personal reflection time.
I’m convinced reflection is important. Really important. By reflection I basically mean thinking. Processing. For me that means thinking things through with an attitude of repentance and faith. With the mind of Christ. And a learning, thanking, thinking. Thinking back. Thinking forward. Being intentional in doing so. Pondering about what could be. Looking with thankful eyes. Reflecting.
But that’s not new for me. I’ve written before on how I think it’s really important not just to experience things, but to reflect on those experiences. That’s how I think we often learn. In fact that’s why I first started blogging (back in May 2006 – wowzers!).
But I’ve been realising afresh that something is killing that process time.
You see the times when I often process best are at what I call ‘bit-times‘. In-between moments. Waiting moments. Break moments. It’s in those bit-times that we naturally tend to think about what’s just happened, what’s coming up, how it’s all going.
But something’s killing my reflection time and that something is social media.
I’ve been struck recently by how my default response in ‘bit-time’ seems increasingly to be to get my phone out. Whether it’s that I’m waiting for someone, or I’m moving from one event to another, or I’ve just hit the end of the day and crashed out on the sofa, my next move all too often is to reach into my pocket and pull out the said device.
In all likelihood it’ll either be that I’m scrolling through the latest posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instragram – probably in that order) or else I’ll be checking my inbox for new mail. But as a result reflection is going out the window. It’s in with new, new, new. And there’s no space left for reflect, reflect, reflect on everything else.
Of course reflection doesn’t need to be done alone. It might be that daily debrief over dinner with a spouse or a housemate. It might just be walking somewhere with someone – taking ten minutes in the lunch hour to go for a thoughtful, thankful wander. But let’s not let social media kill those precious times. Even when we’re with others it can quickly become party policy to get phones out and scroll away. We give permission for each other to do it by doing it ourselves.
One of my friends has this killer John Piper quote as their background on their phone:
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
My intention here isn’t to talk particularly about prayer (although of course prayer naturally forms part of the God-centredness of a Christian’s processing of life), but it’s a pretty devastating exposure of both how slow we can be to pray and how quick we can be to drift to social media/email.
Any advocate of any productivity method will know that it’s uber-unproductive and counter-intuitive to be checking email more than a few times a day (and at any time when you can’t actually process the email you’re receiving there and then).
Well, likewise, how about only checking social media at a few particular slots in the day? An end-of-the-day fifteen minute Facebook catch-up? Twitter scrolls three times a day, using an app like Tweetdeck that allows you to quickly see if those who you’re really interested in have posted?
So this is me (someone who’s convinced that Instagramming/Tweeting/blogging are potentially good and godly uses of time) saying that because it’s personally important for me to be giving time to reflecting upon my life, I’m therefore gonna seek, with God’s help, to not let social media kill that all-important process time.
Here goes. Wanna join me?