The Side of Social Media We Need to Take Seriously
Social media gets its fair share of bad press. I saw on the news the other day that a student got suspended for mean-spirited tweets targeted at a classmate. Social media is often known for bringing people down and offensive or passive remarks.
Honestly, I love social media. I love the ability to keep up with friends all over the country, and I am a sucker for cool Instagram photos. My siblings and I send funny tweets to each other, and I’ve had tears stream down my face from laughing at Snapchat videos. You are probably reading this now because it was posted through a social media source. It is advertising and PR all in one. It is almost critical to any growing business today.
Social media is a business. In fact, it’s our own self-promotion business.
While social media has its fair share of problems as any millennial trend, I think the biggest problem is rarely discussed because, well, we all do it. Social media is the ultimate humble brag.
We’ve all experienced (and probably executed – and in my case, definitely executed) the humble brag. Sometimes it’s merely keeping people up-to-date, but really we are flaunting how awesome we are: “So honored to be named the new President of this super important club!”
I’m not saying your club isn’t important. I’m not saying I haven’t typed the first couple words of that sentence. All I am saying is that we are casually building ourselves up through this post.
Sometimes it’s just taking pictures with some of our close friends: “Blessed with the best.”
Again, while our friends may be the absolute best, and while you could probably find that caption somewhere on my Instagram feed, are we also not subtly reminding the world how loved and popular we are? Are our candid pictures proving that we are fun, light-hearted, and love to laugh? And honestly, are we trying to prove this to the world or ourselves how loved we are?
Sometimes it’s the casual tweet about how someone confused us with Blake Lively and OMG did that really happen again?!
Seriously people, please stop confusing me with the most gorgeous actress out there. It’s getting ridiculous; my name is not Blake.
The more I thought about this, the more frustrated I got. And then the frustration turned into conviction. Sometimes I really do want to just post a cool scenic picture of where I am, but am I also subtly trying to remind the world of how adventurous I am? I love posting pictures with my friends and I am SUCH a contributor of candid laughing photos, but am I also indirectly reminding other people how fun and hilarious I am? Sometimes I really do feel blessed and feel the Lord’s faithfulness through the job or internship I’m working in, but will I feel that more when I post about it and everyone compliments me?
Social media wants our entire lives to revolve around, well, ourselves. I believe the Lord’s Kingdom can be built through social media; I think that is really cool. I believe more people have access to sermons and truth because of social media. I believe we may be more informed of what’s going on around us because of our access to have it all at our fingertips. However, I also believe sometimes we are too busy subconsciously building our own empire. We are incredibly “humbled” by the opportunity so we must tell everyone, but isn’t true humility the ability to praise behind closed doors?
I think that as much as most of us agree we hate the humble brag, we also can all be humble braggers. (I’m looking at you, proud Facebook moms. And I’m looking at myself.)
The Lord isn’t going to check your Instagram bio to make sure it has a Bible verse in it on the way to Heaven. I really think He’s a lot more concerned with our heart posture than our content’s quality, but hey, I may spend ten minutes scrolling through filters anyways.
We’ve all become marketers and promoters, whether or not we realize it. Let’s just make sure we are building the Kingdom, and not our own empire because, hey, Facebook likes won’t bring us to Glory and your Following-to-Followers ratio probably isn’t eternal.