Like Me, Affirm Me
It has been a year since I first logged on to Facebook. I had avoided it for as long as possible, seeking to simplify my life by not adding yet another online account to maintain. My time on Facebook has turned into somewhat of an experiment, consequently not intentionally. In the process, I’ve gained new insights about my friends and, more importantly, about myself.
My friends are all over the spectrum, but most are passionate — promoting political platforms, arguing about religion, bragging about kids, sharing crazy animal videos, completing random personality tests, complaining about work, sharing memorable photos, or just ranting after a bad day. There are the secret stalkers who rarely post anything but are likely logged on 24/7. (You know who you are). On the flip side are the hard-core posters who always have something to say, keeping their phones in hand wherever they go in case an opportunity to post or check status might arise. Can we turn the phone off at dinner? Please!
What has been most interesting to me about Facebook is my reaction to it. The truth is that I care way too much about what everybody thinks. I get excited when someone “Likes” my post or stops scrolling to take the time to leave a comment. At my age, I thought I had gotten to the place where others’ opinions didn’t matter — that I am unapologetically me. But Facebook has proven otherwise.
Like many of us, I crave connections and seek affirmation, and social media tools allow us to do that very conveniently. It can be useful, but it can also become a hemorrhaging of time, thoughts, and attention. And the reality is that no matter what our position is we can always find someone to affirm us, especially on Facebook. While affirmation may provide an immediate boost, it usually doesn’t last until the next “Like.”
I hope now that my newly discovered self-revelation has gone public, I can refocus my attention and truly live out the phrase, “I play to the audience of One.” In the words of my pastor, Aaron Brockett, in a recent sermon, “God, help me to develop my character rather than manage my image.”
Never mind a “Like”, how about an “Amen”!