Monday, July 1, 2013

Unfriend Yourself by Kyle Tennant (book review)

I have been aware of my Facebook/email/internet addiction for awhile. I've had the internet since before high school; probably before many of my friends because my dad is really tech savvy. I remember dial-up (ugh). I've been familiar with computers since at least 4th grade. This technology starts younger now; my children know how to use iPads better than I do. I've seen 1-year-olds on their parents' phones playing games or whatnot.

This technological overload takes its toll, doesn't it? I know several friends who have fasted from Facebook (and other social media sites, but mostly that one) because they, too, are aware of the drastic pull this mediator holds over them.

That's what "Unfriend Yourself" by Kyle Tennant is really about. It's more "should the church use social media" but it applies to individuals as well. Along with reading this short book (91 pages including the notes and such), Tennant suggests to do a 3-day fast from your favorite social media platform. I chose Facebook.

Here's what I learned from this book and from my 3 days off Facebook.

1. face-to-face relationships without mediation (such as the internet or phone) allow our "joy to be complete" (2 John 12). When we meet face-to-face it's so much better than a phone call, even a letter. And SO much better than texts or a message on Facebook. Today (after my fast) I've made more phone calls than I have in months. And I've actually ran into several friends I hadn't seen for awhile - it was awesome! Made this truth stand out so much more.

2. I boast online a lot. I don't even mean to sometimes, but I'm telling the world (at least my friends and their friends) about my accomplishments, the neat-o thing I made or did. Now, I have a sort of business online, so I do need to promote those things in order to sell them. But I am so guilty of just plain ol' boasting. And the Bible says that's wrong! Plain and simple.

3. I've known this truth for a long time. We are responsible (or will be held responsible some day) for every careless word that comes from our mouths. How many careless things have I put on Facebook or my blog(s) or Twitter? How many of those have hurt someone? I'm not just responsible for the hurtful things I say in person (usually to my family) but online things as well.

4. We aren't to let social media rule us. Social media tools are not evil. They can be. They are not good. They can be. It's all in how we use them. I've been using Facebook as a community when it's a network. It's a networking site meant to connect people, not build relationships. It's a useful tool to set up for parties, get togethers, Bible studies - stuff like that! It's also useful to share pictures of my family to the rest of my family far away. I enjoy messaging missionaries and family that are too far away to talk to on the phone. It's also a wonderful platform to share our faith about Christ - the good news!

5. I need to only post whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. I also only need to think about such things.

Really great, quick read. I think this has opened my eyes to being sober about the influences of social media in my life.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may have different opinions than my own.

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