#ReformingSocialMedia: a review of the book by Mandy J. Hoffman
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When my oldest daughter lost her two front teeth, I immediately snapped pictures. And my first instinct was to post them to Facebook and email them to the great grandparents. But then I remembered a story Mandy J. Hoffman told in her book #ReformingSocialMedia. When her daughter got her ears pierced, Mandy refrained from immediately posting the pictures to social media, and instead let her daughter get the joy of showing her grandparents her earrings in person. I adopted the same approach and got to watch the exclamations of surprise when my parents encountered my daughter’s toothless grin a few weeks later.
Pausing before I post is just one lesson I’ve learned from Mandy’s new book. #ReformingSocialMedia is about using social media to glorify God rather than our selves by examining our use of social media in light of God’s Word. Mandy exhorts us that in this information age, it is of utmost importance that we let the Bible not only inform our use of social media, but literally reform it.
While social media is not sinful, sin abounds in social media. However, wherever there is sin, there is also the opportunity for God to display His redemptive power.
In a style that’s both conversational and convicting, this pastor’s wife addresses the tough topics of social media with confidence and grace. She’s quick to point out that even though social media claims to be all about connecting us to each other, it can often make us feel more disconnected than ever. Not only does it often give us “too much information”, but the endless scrolling can leave us lonely, and the daily drama can divide friends.
Gossip is already a sin that seems to be easy for anyone to commit… Social media just makes it faster.
But Mandy doesn’t leave us staring at the negative aspects of social media; she shines the light of the Gospel into an often dark place. #ReformingSocialMedia explores how our use of social media can complement God’s original design for community: the church.
Social media should not drive us away from real community; it should draw us to it.
Whether you use social media every day or it is something you avoid like the plague, Mandy’s book will have many a word of wisdom for you. Using personal stories and practical application of Scripture, Mandy exhorts us that whether or not we use social media, our choice must be for the glory of God.
Disclosure: I was delighted to receive a free review copy of this book. I’m even more delighted to review and share it with you, because I believe so firmly in the message it contains.
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Gretchen, thanks for this review of what sounds like an incredible book for someone like me. I find social media helpful in keeping in touch with family and where I need it to be for my writing. Yet, I not only find it sucks the time out of your day, it can also take the Light from your life. Struggling recently with mild depression, I’ve taken a good, long look at myself and my daily activities. I think Mandy’s book may just be what I need; I just purchased a copy.
Part of my 2016 plan is to be more intentional about how I serve and show others who guides my Path, who walks that Path with me. My one word is the one I used above, “intentional.” Can’t wait to see where “intentional” in my life leads me.
On my wish list. Great review, Gretchen!
(By the way, if I’m not mistaken, we have the same phone and the same case. Great minds…) 🙂
Seriously?! That is too fun. 😉 Samsung Brightside with the cutest case on eBay, for sure. Though I must admit I’m looking forward to switching to a smart phone this winter!
Uh, yeah. 😉 I may get to switch in January, and I’m excited about that!
Thanks for sharing Gretchen. I actually bought her book the other day and can hardly wait to read it. This has arrived in my life at just the right time. As my sleeping issues have turned monumental and I’m dealing with all the results, I have needed to slow down in a major way. I haven’t been as active on my social media, especially twitter but still have blogged. And in the midst of all this, I’ve been thinking and dwelling on the whole idea of social media. I understand the purpose and why as writers we need to do it, but to what extreme? At what cost? And how do we involve ourselves in the media with glorifying God in the process? How do we do it without overly promoting ourselves? Anyways, looking forward to the read. Always enjoy your posts!
Diane, I so understand your sense of being overwhelmed! These are two posts that have helped me see the place social media holds for writers/authors (http://janefriedman.com/2014/09/22/social-media-extra/), and how blogging is changing because of the effect of social media (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2014/12/01/is-blogging-dead-how-blogs-are-changing-and-how-you-can-stay-on-top/). They’ve been an encouragement to me about keeping social media, but keeping it in its proper place. Hope they are the same for you!