Sometimes social media is HARD.
For me, the platforms in which I choose to participate are – like most other major decisions – made by the urging in my heart. If God can use me there for His purpose, as opposed to, “hey, this one looks fun!” And anytime we are in service to God and others it can be a both a blessing and a discouragement.
As an example, one place I go is Christian-based, although of course all (clean, family-friendly) topics are permitted. 95% of the posts are, however, Bible verses, copies of devotional readings, faith-based memes, thoughts (and opinions) on various religious topics, etc. And of that 95%, probably 90% are one-way posts. Meaning there are no comments, no discussion, no encouragement, no shared experiences or thoughts – nothing but one person seemingly speaking into a void.
I remember my mother admonishing us of the pointlessness of talking just to hear ourselves talk, which comes to mind often as I read through the posts at this site. Oh there may be people who need to hear those words, of course, and we know that God’s Word doesn’t return void. Do these posters ever feel like they are only hearing themselves talk? (Are perhaps some of them there only for that purpose? Honestly?) Do these posters offer anything to others as well as putting their own stuff out there? Many of these posts are perfect for discussion, sharing similar experiences with each other, etc., but that doesn’t happen. I’m not sure why. We mostly seem to be speaking out into nothingness, without even an echo in return…not offering even an echo of interest to others who are speaking their hearts. (I don’t count a couple of clicked icons as discussion or sharing; that’s barely support.)
It has always been my opinion that joining any group of people comes with responsibilities to support the group as a whole, not just be there for our own benefit. Even in churches the majority show up to be fed, and to get out of their presence (can’t even call it participation) what they can, without contributing or offering any sort of sacrifice. Trying to get anyone to give up an hour a month to help clean the church? Asking for help in planning/setting up special events? Getting anybody to sign up for community outreach? Cooking for shared meals? Every pastor and his wife need to go to dental school because they will be pulling a LOT of teeth in their ministries!
My sense of purpose in social media has always been the same, even back in my FB/IG/Twitter/etc. days: to be an encourager. (The same is true “IRL” as well, by the way, this is my minstry!) On this particular platform, however, even comments of support and encouragement are mostly ignored, except for maybe the occasional 👍. Is it too much to ask people in social media to do more than share their own stuff and then sit back and wait for feedback – even complaining when they get none – yet not offering the same to others? Really, we DO get back what we give in life.
So it is HARD to go to this platform, which should be enjoyable and even fun. Because walking in the door my mind’s eye sees a whole bunch of individual bodies, wandering around an otherwise empty room, occasionally shouting out a thought or a verse, and nobody answers. It makes me sad.