Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: "Unfriend Yourself" by Kyle Tennant

As a full-time Social Media Analyst, all of the concerns raised by Kyle Tennant in Unfriend Yourself resonated with me and fit into my experience with social media.  This is a book with an agenda, but it's a good one.  Whether quoting the Bible, other authors, or even from his own experience, Tennant presented logical and thought provoking examples about the use and misuse of social media.  Tennant writes, "My hope is that people would say farewell to what we've allowed Facebook to create - a new kind of social and intellectual environment that encourages false intimacy and feigned friendship" (78).

The book is broken into three sections: detox, discern, decide.  It is written term-paper style, which I thought really leant itself well to the content as well as the audience.  Tennant recommends reading it over a weekend where you take a step back from social media to look at how it affects your life.  At the end of each section, there are questions and activities that allow you to apply what you've been reading to your life.  

All day at work, I see people sharing their menial details or exaggerated stories of their lives and I can not even begin to fathom why they would even bother. Tennant talks about how these type of posts lead to an "endless cycle of self-promotion and self-rejection" as users post skewed views of their lives and then end up comparing themselves to other unrealistic life situations (29).  

Though Unfriend Yourself is a Christian book and definitely took some time talking about how social media do and do not glorify God, the main focus was on relationships. This chart helped me to think about the value of relationships and how worthwhile it is to put in the extra effort to what really matters.  I know there have been situations where I have wanted to "just text" instead of calling someone for their birthday, or "just post on their Facebook wall."

This would be a great book for high school or college students and especially adults working with those age groups.  Though I don't think I have a problem with how I use social media, a takeaway lesson for me was that any time you're spending time online on social media is time that you're spending not having face-to-face interactions with other people.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Moody Publishers for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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