the power of “likes”

“It always happens. We can both post a picture on Facebook, and your post will get twice as many ‘likes’ as mine.”

These may not be the exact words, but a comment like this was heard in our home recently. Our home with – wait for it – two adults in their 50s. Seriously! And this is not the first time this type of comment has been incredulously uttered.

Now let me clarify. There was a ton of laughter, and nobody was truly hurt by this reality (at least I don’t think anyone was). Along with the laughter, there was some math. Yes, math. (I wrote about how much I love reading last week. Well, I also kind of like math.) The one who tends to get more “likes” on these similar posts is the one who has 2.5 times as many “friends.” It just makes sense. The real tragedy is that the one with 2.5 times as many friends does not get 2.5 times as many likes on these similar posts.

Although we had a good laugh, this is not a laughing matter for many people we know. Obsessing over the “likes” is a reality in our culture. Here are some examples.

  • One person deletes a tweet after four hours when nobody has “favorited” said tweet.
  • Another person likes their own Instagram post to increase the number of likes – but only after there are enough “likes,” so it isn’t obvious.

Maybe you just post what you want with no thought of “likes.” I typically lean in that direction; however, I am not immune to being affected by social media. Recently I celebrated a birthday, and I enjoyed lots of birthday wishes and encouraging words on my Facebook timeline. I will be honest – I didn’t hate it. I think most of us enjoy words of affirmation (even if that isn’t our main “love language”).

Going to bed that night I felt very loved. And then I remembered my birthday four years ago when two people posted on my timeline. Not a typo – TWO! I think two more people posted the day after my birthday for a total of four. I am not going to lie – I remember being a little bummed that day.

So, even though I don’t count “likes,” on that day four years ago I remember “counting” birthday posts. Okay, I didn’t have to actually count because Facebook will tell you, “(this many) friends posted on your timeline for your birthday.” Thanks for rubbing it in, Facebook.

Maybe you can’t relate to my situation. Maybe you can’t relate to the other examples above. Maybe social media is not a big part of your life. But, have you ever found yourself allowing the words or opinions of others to affect you? Have you ever found yourself looking for the favor of those around you?

Why do you think that is? One word:

Idolatry

In her book, face time: your identity in a selfie world, Kristen Hatton defines idolatry as “anyone or anything that takes God’s place in your heart.” When I allow others (via social media or in real life) to govern what I believe or how I think, I am giving them control over my life – control that is rightly God’s. Ugh! Gross!

Thankfully, I can go to God’s word to be reminded of His truth – truth about Him and truth about me. Starting with the truth about Him is key! The truth about me is built on the foundation of WHO HE IS and what He has done for me!

I am also thankful that God has put people in my life who speak His truth to me. They remind me that God is doing a work in my life. They remind me that ” he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Finally, I am thankful that my identity is in Christ and not in the “likes!”

***You can get a copy of Kristen’s book here or here.

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