Social media can be a powerful way to connect with others, especially during a pandemic, but has it hindered our ability to offer meaningful service? The answer will be different for everyone, but it’s something we should consider.
What was meant to be a starting point has become an end for many of us. Instead of using social media and our online activities to begin deeper conversations and inspire faithful action, it has become an all too easy way to check off a box without any real work. President Russell M. Nelson’s challenge to give thanks over the Thanksgiving holiday is a great example. As we pondered on what to post, did we also think of how we could show our gratitude in meaningful ways? What’s better? Posting on social media about how grateful we are for someone or telling them personally?
Ideally, the answer can be both! As we post and share, we can receive inspiration on what to do next.
The Problems With Social Media Service
In order to understand how to use social media for good, it’s important to recognize some of the dangers it poses.
First, social media should never be used as an easy way out when real service is needed and able to be provided. All too often we feel like our work is done when we click post. We should always be asking Heavenly Father what we can do next.
Second, on the flip side, social media can make us feel like we’re not doing enough. We can be really hard on ourselves as we see the great things other people are doing. We can also experience low self-esteem and envy as we compare what we have and what our lives look like to others.
Finally, social media should never be used as a measurement of someone’s faithfulness. We no longer post because we have something genuine to share; we post because we feel obligated to. We shouldn’t judge others for not partaking in the latest social media challenge.
Great Ways to Utilize Social Media
So, what can we do to utilize social media to its fullest extent? Here are a few ideas.
- Support Others. Social media is great for short, sweet interactions. Reacting to what others are sharing can help them feel supported and loved.
- Connect with Communities. There are many great groups and organizations you can become involved with. Online communities help connect people with those who share life experiences, providing opportunities for resources to be shared freely.
- Creating an Open Door. Communicating on social media is like opening up a door for someone to come in and find rest. The messages you send and the things you post can act as an open door for others who need help. It’s a bridge that is easily crossed and doesn’t require a lot of bravery.
Great Ways to Move Beyond Social Media
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have both the responsibility and blessing to perform powerful acts of service. We can receive direct revelation on how to meet the needs of those around us as the Savior would. Ponder these ideas on how to move your service beyond social media:
- Go Old School. When you want to share some love on social media for another person, consider doing it offline instead through a card, note, or phone call. All show a level of personal care that social media just doesn’t allow for.
- Put Your Phone Down. The Lord puts people into your path every day and there is a good chance you can bless their life! Try putting your phone down in both public and private settings. Strike up a conversation in the grocery store and take time to really notice those in your life.
- Pray For Guidance. At the end of the day, Jesus knows what people need. If we are willing to follow the promptings He gives us, we can feel confident.
What are some other ways you use social media to inspire real-life acts of service?