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The Need to Perform Well on Social Media

I’m not sure we’re fully comprehending the need some people feel to perform well on social media.  I was upgraded on a flight from Dallas to Los Angeles the other day and sat next to a twenty-something woman who literally spent the entire flight taking selfies.  She must have snapped off 150 or more shots of herself.  She was next to the window, so she experimented with the shade for lighting, fussed with her hair, checked different heights for the camera.  Three and half hours of this.  For many people of all ages, social media pressure is increasing.

I would love to see pastors and Christian leaders address this at the church level.  Where do we find our identity?  Who are we trying to please?  

Right now, Snapchat appears to be gaining traction, especially among teens. Snapchat passed Instagram in an April Piper Jaffray survey of American teens. According to the semiannual survey, 28% of more than 6,530 teens polled said the disappearing photo app was their top social network, edging out Instagram with 27%.  Just six months earlier, 33% of teens ranked Instagram first and 19% favored Snapchat.

One interesting note we’ve discovered is that the pressure to attract “likes” on Instagram is so great that teens often delete photos that don’t do well. One survey showed some teens delete about half the photos already posted in their Instagram feeds.

Everyone needs to be appreciated and supported.  But when that support comes primarily from “likes” on social media, where is the actual physical connection, the relationship, or the real-life community?  I love social media, and I have to admit to occasionally feeling frustrated when a post doesn’t perform well. But as we survey social media at Cooke Media Group, we’re becoming more and more distressed at just how much some people look there as their number one source of accomplishment.

How should we as Christians address this?

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  1. I received this interesting note today from Pastor Eric Eichinger (Twitter: @SpartanEich) –

    “I thought your twitter post was important and timely, re: ppl’s need for social media success. My thought progression: I have a biography coming out by Tyndale about Eric Liddell in Sept 2017. Eric Liddell:Quiet Example, Roaring Faith (working title). Eric Liddell was the quintessential superstar, but SHUNNED media attention, and left it for the obscurity of China. The book speaks inadvertently to the very problem ppl (and Christians) have with chasing attention today…

    It convicted me more than I realized during the writing process, to the point that now I try to only focus on positive posts, and lifting up others, as opposed to lifting up myself w social media attention (or to shutting it down all together) a REAL temptation, but I figured I need to stay engaged, and also signal that I while could inflate myself, I choose not to. an important lesson many need to learn and re-learn. self- included.

    So with Hollywood Reporter articles hitting with my film news, or publishing deals, i haven’t posted, or retweeted everything nice that ppl have said this year. it just looks so self-serving for me to do so, while I’m really trying to point them to Christ. It is also the reason I didn’t reply to your only post on twitter as it would look like I was selling my book— a bad look for a pastor.

    As John the Baptist said, “For HIM to increase, I must decrease.” timely for Advent… The dilemma of course is, how will ppl know if you don’t tell/share w them, but I figure I will let God work the marketing plan through those he raises up to do so.

    Blessings and Happy Christmastide!

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