Did you know your vacation photos could directly affect someone’s future summer plans? According to one news source, “roughly 40 percent of (young adults) pick vacation destinations based on how ‘Instagrammable’ the pics will be.”
In other words, people now make plans, not just on how scenic a place might be, but how it will look to others when they post their pictures on social media like Instagram and Facebook.
Given the growing number of people posting to social media and the growing influence of those posts, now at the end of summer is a good time to review just how we are using social media and what it says about our lives.
‘Look at me’
Sociologists have coined the term the “Look-At-Me Generation,” referring to adults—mostly young adults—who have come of age at the same time of social media’s appearance. As the term suggests, if you glance at this segment of the population’s daily social media, you are almost guaranteed to see someone talking about themselves.
“Look at my trip!” “Look at my exercise results!” “Look at my dinner plate.”
There is nothing inherently wrong with talking about what is going on in your life, and we can and should take an interest in what people are doing and thinking. Jesus Himself was alert to the habits, attitudes and circumstances of those around Him.
If we are not careful, though, we can fall victim to becoming a little too self-involved. Popular author and pastor John Piper, in 2009, said social media can “lure people away from Scripture and prayer, disembody relationships, feed the fires of narcissism, cater to the craving for attention, fill the world with drivel, shrink the soul’s capacity for greatness and make us second-handers who comment on life when we ought to be living it.”
‘Look at this’
Many social media posts scream, “Look at me,” while others seem to say, “Look at this!” People today share a lot of information and ideas about various issues. “Look at this political topic,” “Look at that sports news,” and so on. There is something inherently good about using this platform of social media to advance viewpoints and the Christian message.
John Piper went on to say we should “try to fill these media with as much provocative, reasonable, Bible-saturated, prayerful, relational, Christ-exalting, truth-driven, serious, creative pointers to true greatness as you can.”
Christians therefore must be more careful not to add offense to the cross with brash comments about politics, sports and culture. When you are trying to espouse opinions and articles that are interesting to you, be sure to consider how it would enhance or detract from your Christian witness.
‘Look at Him’
Whether we are typically talking about ourselves or the issues of the day on social media, Christians would do best to post on social media with Jesus in mind. Whether we are talking about ourselves and the daily happenings of life, or are posting an interesting photo, it should all come back to Him.
In the end, most social media posts will still say, “Look at me!” or “Look at this!” Yet only when our social media posting habits shout, “Look at Jesus,” will they have the lasting impact we want. Because we ultimately want to affect, not just someone’s future vacation plans, but their future eternity with the Lord.