Social Media - The Lure of the 'Like'

As I sit trying to write something poignant about 3 years, I am caught up short.    There is something on my mind that needs to be written...

Social media.

Watching the development of social media from another country is mind-boggling.   As more and more people hangout in Google and post their selfies on Instagram, I feel more and more lost in it all.

Of late, I've realized something HUGE that I really should have seen before now.   Social media allows us to create whatever version of ourselves or our work that we want.    The reality of what goes on behind the posts, the pics, the hashtags, and the likes may be vastly different than what is happening on the ground.

I know, I know... I'm way behind.  Most of you already know this :).

So... send me some perspective on this, friends.  

On any given day, I could write about the fact that my husband has to pump water across a field and up into our tank and it takes him 2 hours to do so because the pump doesn't work or there is a small hole in the tubing, etc.  OR I could write about the wonderful sponsors that have contributed to Reach Out Honduras and how happy the kids are that they sponsor.    

On any given day, I could write about how bad our water pressure is and how tough it is to get clean OR I could write about how much I love my neighbor, Aida.   Which sounds more 'Christian' to you?  Which motivates you to 'follow' us?

In any effort to keep my complaining to a minimum here in this space, I try to focus on the positive.  In doing so, do I leave out one half of myself, giving you a partial perspective of me and our work?

How about Facebook... I love it and I hate it.    I love that we can communicate quickly, that I can see what is up in the lives of friends.  I hate that I don't see all that is going on - the good and bad.  I hate that keeping up with social media has become a part of my 'job.'

What do you think?   Does it make a difference that we have an active Facebook presence?   For those of you who have been here to Puerto Lempira, do our posts accurately reflect what you see in our lives?  Or do we make things sound like some sort of mountaintop experience with God that never has dips and lulls?

We have created accountability for ourselves through the Board of Directors of our organization.   This is serious business.  We have asked people we trust to look at what we post and make sure we are giving credit where credit is due and not taking credit for work of other organizations.   We have asked them to call us on the carpet if they see any hypocrisy in us or any exploitation of the people we serve and love here.    Is this enough?  How are we all doing in this area?

The goal of Reach Out Honduras is a marathon, not a sprint.   The organization itself is God's.   We will do our human best to represent Him well during our time, but ultimately, the future of Reach Out Honduras is in those that will walk behind us... and those that will walk behind them.    How do we do this well in an age of 'flash in the pan', 'here today, gone tomorrow' marketing?

Pray that the lure of social media 'approval' does not distract us from the work.    Pray that we can communicate the work in a way that pleases God.   Pray that people see the heart of the mission, the human frailty behind God's merciful provision.  Pray that we are good stewards of the time we have been given... in other words, how much of that time should be devoted to writing newsletters, posting on facebook, etc.?   Pray, friends.  Pray!


Luke Holzmann said…
I try to keep in mind that social media--like everything else--is a tool. So, use it to do the things you need to get done. Small personal example from Facebook: I use it to see how "my kids" are doing. Before they all come over for Movie Night, I hop on Facebook and scroll through their feeds. This is a great way to catch up on the their lives and, if I was better at the practice, pray for them.

I also use Facebook to help coordinate my film shoots. It's a great way to get the word out about the upcoming project and get RSVPs.

Writing updates, as you point out, is something else entirely. But I would suggest that this issue is nothing new. It's the same with support letters, status updates (via letter or church presentation), and what we say to people who ask. These are just a little more public, which changes things. In the past, we could tailor our messages to each individual. Now we have to write something that will be heard and understood by "everyone." And that is, naturally, impossible.

May God give you wisdom to know how to best use the tools at your disposal for His glory. May He give you great encouragement through these fantastic opportunities to connect with people around the world. And may He use you in these social spaces to share His goodness, grace, and redemption through both the good and the difficult.


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