Social Media: The Sacrifice That Costs (And Accomplishes) Nothing

Social Media: The Sacrifice That Costs (And Accomplishes) Nothing August 17, 2018

Let’s face it: There’s a lot of good that social media can do.  It helps us stay in touch with friends and family members.  It allows us to share memes and videos and quotes that make us laugh or clap or cry.  It offers us the opportunity to read articles and essays and blogs that make us think deeper and differently.   It provides forums to share ideas and opinions and information.

But the problem with social media is that it costs us nothing.  (Except time and angst and emotional energy.)

The pitfall of social media is that if we feel strongly about a social justice issue, we can hit the “post” button with more force than usual and feel like we’ve accomplished something.  Like we’ve made a dent in the issue of racism or abortion or politics or immigration by virtually weighing in.

But research shows that isn’t true.

Very little (if any) change happens when we post on social media.  We get a false sense of accomplishment, personal vindication and the unvalidated idea that we’ve proven how “right” we are.  And….that’s it.

This week, I’ve seen people post pictures of mutilated fetuses and felt like they did something to prevent abortions.

People posted links to biased political publications and sat back, arms crossed, feeling like they’ve proven themselves to the virtual universe.

Others have posted pictures of asylum-seekers separated from their families at the border, or refugees fleeing violence in Bangladesh and South Sudan and Syria.  Those well-meaning posts tugs at our heart strings, but in reality, they don’t do anything.

One of my favorite scenes from the Bible is when King David was told to make a sacrifice on behalf of his people to stop a plague that was killing tens of thousands of Israelites.   When he arrived at the threshing floor where the sacrifice was to be made, the man who owned the property presented David with all the supplies to make the sacrifice.  But David declined them and paid for the supplies himself, saying, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing.”

My friends, with all our well-meaning, self-justified feelings of using social media to make the world a better place, the reality is that most of the time, social media is the “sacrifice” that costs us, and accomplishes, nothing.

So here’s the reality.

If you believe in something, if you feel that injustice is happening on your watch, if you are passionate about how to improve your neighborhood, your country or your world, log off of your social media account and Do. Something.

Make a donation, show up at a rally, spend time with people who are suffering, volunteer at an organization that’s making a tangible difference.

Refuse to be satisfied with hollow, costless gestures.

Realize that the world needs your actions and your generosity and your resources more than it needs your opinions.

Be the loving hands and feet of Jesus to those around you.

Say with David that you won’t give to God, and to the world around you, that which costs you nothing.

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  • Elaine Matthews

    Let me take it one step further, please. You’ve see these; we’ve all seen these in our e-mails—these petitions which are e-mailed to you from your senator/congress-rep mailing list. I don’t think these are paid much attention when these 50,000, 60,000 etc. signature electronic petitions reach the US President’s or Supreme Court justices’ desks. I just see the recipient use these electronic petitions as confetti because these gov’t officials just want to carry out their own objectives. Although these petiitions have a massive amount of signatures, that means nothing to government officials.

  • Dwight Lee Wolter

    CAN YOU OFFER, PLEASE, THE CITATION FOR DAVID REFUSING THE OFFER OF SUBSIDY OF EXPENSES RELATED TO THE SACRIFICE? Sorry for the caps. Just noticed. Not angry. Peace, Dwight.