This past week, Facebook turned 10 years old, and in celebration they released a video for each person to highlight their most memorable moments from previous years. They did highlight some beautiful memories, and reminded me of many good times with my friends and family. Something about the videos struck me, though – they highlighted the individual’s “Most Liked” posts from the time period. This is, of course, innocent enough in its own right, but it made me realize something important about our culture.
Think about the amount of time you spend on Facebook every single day. Perhaps you are on it for communication with distant friends and relatives; perhaps you use it for education or keeping track of social events (like the events from Serviam Ministries!), or perhaps you use it to browse through the posts of your peers. Inevitably, I think most of us are on it for the latter option (myself included), and we are drawn to “Liking” something that somebody else posts. As well, whenever we post something on Facebook, we are posting it for the benefit of others (you probably aren’t posting something strictly for yourself!) Thus the question arises: how much do we desire “Likes” on our posts, our photos or are sharings?
In this, the Age of Information, we are being constantly bombarded with information and media from all directions. We are losing the personal sense of communication with other people; I have to stop myself from using my phone, or being on my laptop for work, in order to slow down and take a break. Perhaps because of this, the Facebook phenomenon has uncovered something hidden underneath the busy-ness of our society: our desire to be affirmed, to be acknowledged, and ultimately to be loved. When you changed your profile picture, did you feel happy when you saw 30 “Likes” on it later that day? Did you feel affirmed when you saw 45 “Likes” on your Facebook status, when you shared a quote from a saint or an excerpt from a papal encyclical? Perhaps the comments that have been left on your posts have made you a “popular trend” in your Facebook friend circles. I will be the first to say that all of the above and more are very true for me.
Do we find it difficult to find time to pray in a given day? Do we find it taxing to spend even 10-15 minutes with God amidst our schedule? I know it’s difficult for me on many days, and yet to waste time on Facebook is somehow effortless (where did the time go?!). Yet, we ALL want to be loved and acknowledged for our talents, our personalities and our time with our friends. Jesus desires the same with us – He desires to be our BEST friend, our Lover and our constant companion, guided by the Spirit and in obedience to the will of the Father. It seems to me that, as culture attempts to push God out of society, we tend towards more and more desire to having “Likes” on our Facebook posts, attempting to fill the “God-sized” hole in our hearts that we create when we refuse to let Him in. The devil loves this tactic; being the prince of lies, he will eagerly use a medium which can be used for so much good, to distract us from having a personal, face-to-face relationship with our Lord. Again, I am guilty of all these things myself; I am also not saying to simply avoid Facebook (it can be used for a lot of good!). We shouldn’t, however, let a social medium try to compensate for our desire for God in our lives, a desire that we all have whether we realize it or not.
Pray without ceasing!