Why I’m Furthering Myself from Social Media

 

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When I first came to China, I was getting pretty upset almost daily with the restrictive nature of the internet here. Almost access to every western or non-Chinese website or app are blocked here in China. That means when I first got here, I had restricted access to almost everything that I used regularly on a daily basis. No Facebook, no Google, no Twitter, no WhatsApp, no Youtube, well you get the picture. In fact, there are many websites that are blocked because they rely on other websites that are blocked. The websites that are not blocked, typically are slowed down to a crawl. But even though there are days in which I am a little annoyed with how slow a website that I might use is going because it is not a Chinese website, it is becoming more of a blessing than I originally realized. I thankfully still have access to some News Podcasts and Tech Podcasts that I follow, but I want to talk about some of the issues I have been reading or following up on concerning social media and the news media in particular.

Long story short, I have been listening to a very well tech journalist, Leo Laporte, since I was back in high school. He used to be a tech personality on the TechTV cable network, but eventually, the cable network went under. So Leo Laporte decided to take his ideas and passion for technology to the internet. He launched his own technology network online under the title Twit (This Week in Technology). He has podcasts or shows that literally talked about everything with a chip in it. I cannot keep up with all of his shows, but to name the three I try to keep up with are Macbreak Weekly, Windows Weekly, and This Week in Google. I used to keep in touch with his radio broadcast The Tech Guy, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the time anymore.  One of the main topics lately on one of his shows in particular (TWIG- This Week in Google) has been the social hacking of some of these IT tycoons like Google, Amazon, and Facebook on us. I used to think when I was younger that things like internet addiction weren’t really a thing, but as I am been experiencing more of life, I see that it is becoming a big problem, particularly with the youth.

 

I have been a teacher for the past six years now, I have been blessed to teach in my home country of America and I have been equally blessed to be currently teaching Guangzhou, southern China. I have been able to see the impact of social media in two countries and being removed from my old social networking habits, I have been able to reflect on them. Students are sometimes downright aggressive when you try to separate them from the phones or laptops. I’ve even had some students in America tell me, “I will die for this phone”, here in China, I have had students yell trying to be confrontational. What is exactly happening to our youth and for that matter, ourselves?!

I didn’t really see just how much time I was focused on social media inside the USA than I really was. But the topic just doesn’t end there. I noticed that media itself was beginning to consume my life. The 24-hour news media cycle, who basically constructs stories in order to keep you glued to the news (which by the way are entirely negative stories), the TV networks are all dedicated to distracting you from what really matters. I cannot really fathom just how much of my life has been lost because of these forms of mindless entertainment. Now I have realized I have been talking quite a lot already, so perhaps I should end my thoughts here, but I would like to make two closing points.

I have been mentioning American or Western social media networks competing for our addiction, but the same is happening in China. Corporations like Tencent (they developed WeChat and QQ) are using the same social hacks that make us constantly reaching for our cell phones.

The second thing I would like to say is that I have come to the conclusion that these mass media corporations are pushing an entirely different culture on me (even us!) and are trying to rob us of our independent ideas. Please keep these words in mind from the Apostle Paul, “15 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet! 16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. 17 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. 18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. 19 But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites” Philippians 3:15-19- quoted from the Message translation of the Bible. 

I will write some more on this topic in the near future, but for the time being, here are some of the articles that I have been reading in the meantime that pertain to this topic. I would like to encourage you all to check some of these out. God bless

Harvard University Article on Social Media Affecting Health
Cornell University Article on Internet Addiction
The Vice Article on Facebook Addiction
The Guardian Article on Facebook Addiction

~ by branhow on February 12, 2018.

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