Did you share a Facebook Year in Review like the rest of the world? I did. Look at mine and you’ll see photos of happy people doing fun things, enjoying life. I like that.
But my Facebook Year in Review represents real life about as much as reality TV—and that’s OK. I read the love and the hate of the Year in Review and I just keep scrolling. Then I read this in a blog post:
We are not living our true selves in front of the world, much less in front of those who matter most. We are curating memories and moments as if they were pieces of art to be hung on the walls while the rest gets stuffed in the basement. Why do we do this?
I think it has to do with fear. We hide because we are afraid of being known. Because at our core many of us believe we are unlovable. If people really knew me, I often think, they wouldn’t like, much less love me.
The quote above challenged me to question my motives with social media posting. I agree that some of what we share and don’t share has to do with fear but I think there’s more to it than that.
First, Facebook is a tool. That’s all. A vehicle of sorts to get and stay connected with friends, family, and contacts all around the world. It is not the sum total of life, nor should it be. One’s timeline, photos and status updates mostly skim the surface of life and present an overview of how we spend our days.
Second, what’s shared on Facebook often has to do with time management. We share what we have time to share. Usually that comes in the form of downtime at night or during holidays, vacations, and dinner out with friends.
Third, the choice to share/not share certain things doesn’t mean we’re trying to come off as having the perfect life or that we’re being unreal or inauthentic.
- My life is not perfect. My year in review does not show the heartbreak, the tears, the epic fails, the frustration, the sugar-binges, the envy, the insecurity. Do you want to see all that? Really? (If you said “Yes” to that I can recommend a good counselor.) And since my life isn’t perfect I assume yours isn’t either. The goal is not to make my life look better or worse than yours. I think we are striving in real life and on social media to focus on the good, the blessings, the celebrations, the wins . Let’s keep doing that!
- Occasionally my life has a fairy-tale moment. My year in review doesn’t show those either. In general, I define a fairy-tale moment as: something that brings tears to your eyes, a heart-overflowing proud moment, a dream realized, or a prayer answered. Yes, sometimes those moments are shared. But I believe there are many more that are not. Some treasures are reserved for those closest to us.
I’m a late-comer to Facebook by most standards. I admit that from the outside it seemed shallow and petty. Once I realized the opportunity to connect and reconnect with old and new friends around the world I was all in. I’ve enjoyed almost every minute of it. If you’re not on Facebook, don’t apologize or criticize. If you are, be an ambassador of encouragement and kindness. Share stuff you like. Promote your business. Help someone find a good carpenter or a lost dog.
Facebook is a wonderful tool but it in no way replaces or erases my need for real life relationship
Jon Acuff recently wrote: The more time I spend on Facebook, the more I realize face to face interaction matters. The best online technology in the world will never be able to replace offline relationships.
Once I heard someone ask, “Would Jesus do Facebook?”
I can’t answer “What would Jesus do?” and I’m not sure that’s the best question to ask.
Based on the truths in God’s Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit I can confidently answer “What does Jesus want me to do?”
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
God created Mark Zuckerberg and the mind that created Facebook. I don’t believe creating a Facebook timeline or a page is a moral issue. What I do with what I create is. I choose to use it for good to the glory of God.