Kyle Tennant is a youth director, a recovering social media junkie, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, and a guy trying to have real friendships.
Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern and Decide about Social Media is a book I really wanted to read. The premise of this book is the effects of social media on our relationships. I had been thinking about this topic for awhile, on how much I rely on social media to maintain contact with friends as opposed to getting together in person.
Kyle Tennant makes an excellent argument on this subject throughout this short, but meaty book. I agreed with much of what he accurately describes as flaws that exist with social media. His findings were thoroughly researched and biblical. What I also appreciated was that he never tells you to delete your Facebook or Twitter accounts, on the contrary. However, what he does convey is the need for awareness in the utilization of any social medium.
In our fast paced society, it is very tempting to rely solely on electronic means of communication. We hardly pick up a phone or even get together with friends anymore. I can admit that this has been the case in my life. I am guilty of relying heavily on emailing, texting or interacting on Facebook, rather than getting together with friends. However, after reading this book, I am fully convinced that social media should be supplemental to real relationships.
I admit, I actually started to see how social media is just a cheap substitute for the real thing; relationships, communication and community. I really identified and agreed with Kyle Tennant's points. One point that stood out for me in his book is this, "Here is the linchpin of why we must not seek community online: when we venture there, we miss the most important part of community, which is experiencing God as we experience one another." What a true statement.
Kyle Tennant also references the apostle John preferring in-the-flesh communication over writing letters. "Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete." (2 John 12) Later he writes, "I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face." (3 John 13-14)
I never quite saw that before. When I read those Scriptures it just jumped off the page and pierced my heart. I bore witness that social media can never replace an in person friendship, communication or community. Kyle Tennant writes that social media is a great tool - a tool we must subdue, and not be subdued by.
All in all, I thought it was a very good, informative and helpful book. I highly recommend it.
In conclusion, I want to personally thank Janis Backing of Moody Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.
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