social media is not community.
that sounds like a "duhhh," but that kind of thinking can sneak up on ya! it's weird, we can convince ourselves that we're connected with everyone, just from knowing things about them and watching little pieces of their lives unfold. but social media is highlights, curated moments, little glimpses, often filtered. i'm not saying we all need to go delete our accounts, i actually love sharing highlights and trying to be creative in what i see! that kind of thing is my favorite! i'm saying we need to be careful and not confuse the people we follow on instagram to having community.
i don't know about you, but i don't post pictures of myself crying about hard things, or losing my patience with my sister. i didn't make a blog post about how yesterday i didn't even recognize my own heart in the way i was acting. about how i knew i wasn't being who God created me to be in heart postures of entitlement, arrogance, annoyance, impatience... (which all unveiled their ugly faces yesterday, by the way, ugh). i didn't snap a picture of the person i work with who is really mean without reason and the hard time i have responding well to her.
john mark comer (my favorite teaching pastor) said when you get married, every ugly thing inside you is magnified. not because it wasn't there before you got married, but because you are suddenly made aware of it through your mate, like you were given a mirror to see into yourself. that, i think, is so good and so necessary. that is community. that is accountability and sharpening. the other day, i made a mistake in a friendship without even knowing i had hurt the other person and she called me out on it. that's what community is and that's what friendship is. i need more of that. we all need more of that. especially because following the way of Jesus and purposing to become more like Him is not a single-person endeavor. following Jesus on our own "just me & God" is not an option. we need each other greatly.
what social media magnifies (though i think this tendency is already in us without social media) is an ugly beast which is romanticizing other people, other relationships, other traits, other situations, without knowing the whole person, and yet thinking we're connected to them. it's a doozy.
kind of funny how i don't actually romanticize the people i know the best & am closest to. i'm not saying humans are incapable of amazement and wonder and respect, absolutely not! the opposite. i admire my dad to the point of tears, but i also have seen his less admirable moments. the difference is i have seen a full picture of him because i'm in relationship with him. things change when you bring people up close.
this is probably ending abruptly, but i think i've said what i wanted to. ha. these thoughts have helped me, so maybe they can help you, too, next time you're looking at someone's profile. remember followers or friends or likes are not community.
remember we're all human. we're just like you, man.