If there is one thing I have learned during my years on social media, it’s that all of us, however modest we may be, have a deep desire to be noticed to some small or large degree. Many of our profiles have the goal of reaching people through different means, whether through music, photography, fashion, health, humor. After all, it’s wonderful to be able to share knowledge and information with others, and, if you’re like me, you will always be looking for an opportunity to share what you love with the world around you.
The internet has given us the opportunity to impact and influence people without even leaving home. How you have impacted people around you? Has your influence been for the good?
You have probably at some point witnessed a scandal involving a celebrity because of some oversight committed on social media. Recently, an influencer who had just recovered from COVID-19 was all over the media for breaking quarantine and hosting a party at her house. How did everyone find out? She posted about the party herself and said other unnecessary things, apparently under the influence of alcohol, which caused her to lose contracts with several companies. Our circle of influence may be much smaller, but it is of no less importance. Have we considered the impact of our posts?
Our life on social media becomes an open book, and perhaps it’s time to reevaluate what we have written and allowed others to see and read. “But it’s my profile, and I should post what I want!” Yes, you are right, and I am not here to dictate rules concerning social media. I would just like to offer a reminder about how noble it is to think not only about ourselves but also about the people we reach by our posts. After all, “words convince, but an example moves.”
J. Lacan said: “The source of all human beings’ desires is the desire to always be desired”, and this caused me to pause and reflect on the intentionality behind our posts. For example, have you ever noticed how women in bikinis or shirtless men generate more likes on the internet? And not just likes; much of what goes on in people’s minds is expressed in empty, superficial comments that inflate the ego of the original poster. People want to feel desired, some more than others, but each uses what they consider to be a potential tool to reach their objective.
We all post what we think is beautiful and what we think other people will also like. For example, I know I’m beautiful, that I have a beautiful body that is always hidden underneath layers of clothing. If one day I go to the beach and put on my “nothing-Gospel-about-it” bikini, attract looks, compliments that make me feel good about myself, and then I take some pictures, my first impulse will be to share my best photo to continue the influx of affirmations. I’m sharing this because it has crossed my mind before. During my adolescence, I was excessively thin and on top of that tall for my age. I tried to hide behind bad posture. Low self-esteem has, in the past, made me question whether it’d be such a big deal to share photos in a bikini top and shorts. I too wanted to be affirmed that I was beautiful, popular, desired.
What I came to understand is that exposing our bodies will not make it more beautiful than it already is, nor will it fill the void we insist on disguising but that continues to exist. I’ve also come to the conclusion that not everyone deserves to know me that well. I’m not merely an object to be desired. My motive behind such posts wasn’t worth the sacrifice of the principles I had committed to uphold. And that is the main factor.
Are we being intentional with what we post? Why do we post what we do? Are our motives in alignment with the standards we have? Will our posts benefit others? Are principles worth sacrificing for a 24-hour story or for likes?
Is it worth exposing every aspect of our personal life? Everything we eat, wear, listen to, do? Every comeback, thought, like or dislike?
I invite you to learn, as I still am, how to be prudent when it comes to what we post on social media. It’s nobody’s business what we do in our personal life. But if we have studied the pillars of our faith and publicly committed ourselves before God and the angels to walk according to what we have learned, we must develop a greater sense of responsibility. Many are inspired by us and the enemy will use seemingly insignificant things to discourage others through our example. I hope you never have to hear: “I never thought I’d see you doing/wearing that” because it will hurt and be a harsh wake-up call to question your own actions.
I invite you to reflect before posting. Really evaluate what you should post and what needs to be kept just for you or your family. Daily changes, however small, are necessary. “How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen,” (Matthew 18:7).