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What Is Social Media Good For?

February 7th, 2024 | 3 min. read

By Ian Harber

It’s worth asking: What is social media good for? It’s not good for everything, and in many ways, it is, in fact, bad for us. I think it’s important that we continue to sound the alarm about the problems social media (and technology, more broadly) poses to our flourishing as we continue to progress further and further into the digital age and more generations are raised with devices. That said, social media isn’t all bad. There are things that it is good for. I thought it would be worth mentioning a few of those things.


David Fincher’s 2010 Oscar-winning movie isn’t called The Social Media; it’s called The Social Network. It wasn’t that long ago that we referred to these social websites as networks rather than media. That’s because their primary function wasn’t to mediate content to us, but to connect us with other people. To this day, this remains the best use of the social internet.

Patrick and I first met over Twitter (ummm, X) and worked together for six months before we ever met in person. I’ve made many other meaningful relationships because of social media, but that’s mainly because social media was the starting point, not the ending point. The relationships that have been the most meaningful have progressed from tweets to texts to calls to Zoom calls, and sometimes meeting in person. Some of these relationships have had a tremendous impact on my life, leading to job opportunities, significant worldview shifts, and just general encouragement and helpful feedback. The best reason to be on social media remains connecting with actual people.


If you’re an artist, activist, writer, or any other kind of content creator, you no longer have to wait for the gatekeepers to choose you. You can find an audience and speak directly to them. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. With consistency, determination, and skill, you can bypass the traditional avenues of being discovered and have your voice heard by those who want to hear it. It doesn’t take that many, either. Kevin Kelly’s famous 2008 essay, 1,000 True Fans, is still true today. He writes, “To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.”

Personally, I don’t have that many Twitter followers compared to others who you would consider to be true “influencers,” but making connections allowed me the opportunity to be published on larger websites like The Gospel Coalition. After several years of cultivation, this led to the opportunity to write a book with a traditional publisher. This ability to bypass the traditional gatekeepers has its pros and cons. Content can become commodified, lessening the value of every other piece of content that is created. And it can open up the opportunity for grifters to take advantage of vulnerable people. But it also creates the ability for people who would never before have been able to find an audience to get noticed and access bigger opportunities, just like it did for me.


What we see on social media cannot be construed as what is broadly true, sociologically speaking. However, social media can be incredibly insightful, as it allows us to encounter people who are different than us and challenge our preconceived notions about a people, group, or subject. It enables us to connect with people we normally wouldn’t in our local communities who have the potential to positively impact our view of the world.

For all of the talk about social media being an echo chamber, our local communities have the tendency to be echo chambers, too. We have to be intentional in both our physical and digital spaces about seeking out people who are different than us. Social media provides an easy way to do that. Representation of different people and ideas helps us broaden our view of the world without ever leaving our homes. As long as we cultivate godly wisdom in our life and guard against foolish gullibility, uncritically believing whatever comes across our screens that seems halfway compelling, this is something that can be good for us. We need to have a realistic view of the world’s complexities, and social media can help us develop that.

For God’s Glory

Certainly, while there are nuances to consider in each point, I believe these are few ways in which social media, when employed wisely, can be beneficial for individuals. There are also advantages to using social media on a ministerial level. Overall, these approaches can be good for both the user and those viewing from the other side of the screen who are recipients of our faithful presence online.

Social media, like anything else, can be used for God’s glory. With wisdom and intentionality, we can live our lives online in ways that are good and enjoy the benefits of the technology we now live with every day.

Ian Harber

Ian is a marketing manager at Endeavor and is a digital marketing practitioner with 10 years of experience. He has written about faith and technology, deconstruction and reconstruction for The Gospel Coalition and Mere Orthodoxy as well as appearing on podcasts such as Reconstructing Faith, The Alisa Childers Podcast, Love Thy Neighborhood, The Living Room Disciple, Everything Just Changed, and more. Additionally, Ian has contributed to the book, Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church (TGC, 2021) and is the author of an upcoming a forthcoming book about deconstruction with InterVarsity Press (2024). Ian lives in Denton, Texas with his wife, Katie, and son, Ezra and is a member at The Village Church Denton.

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