Intentional Online Sharing
by Carmie Sanchez
In this age of social media, we have the ability to share anything, anywhere and at any time. With just the tap of a few buttons, we can post virtually any minute detail of our lives on Instagram. There are thousands upon thousands of blogs that we can access or even write ourselves where we can, again, share every detail of our lives. Through photos and words your best friend just down the street or the person a thousand miles away can see what you ate for breakfast or the new shoes you just bought displayed against a beautiful mosaic floor. We are so used to the ability to share every detail of our lives. Whether it’s the lovely latte art from our favorite café, or the latest healthy smoothie that we just concocted, we seem to feel this insatiable urge to make sure everyone knows what we’re doing. Why? What is the point? Is it to say, “Hey look at me, I have this super cool life, you should be jealous that you’re not me”? Is it because we genuinely feel that the photo is worth storing away for the rest of the Internet age?
Recently, a friend of mine went to the beach with a friend of hers and later posted something along these lines on Facebook. She said, “If you go to the beach but don’t take any pictures, did it really happen?” Stop and think about that for a minute. Are we so caught up in the chasm of social media and sharing that we feel bereft if we fail to share such a monumental occasion as going to the beach? Or if we let that perfect latte art slip past us? Or a cozy evening inside wrapped up in a blanket with a good book? What about the good ol’ sunset photo – because, #no filter? What drives us to share everything? And on the flipside, what if we let go of the need to share every single detail of our lives?
I believe that we need to be intentional about what and how much we post on Instagram or Facebook. We need to closely analyze what our purpose is in sharing a photo. There are many perfectly legitimate reasons to post a photo, but posting because we’re bored or just to show off some aspect of our lives is pointless. Maybe you’re not trying to show off, but the principle is still the same. We don’t need to post all the things. We just don’t. That doesn’t mean that we can’t photograph all the things, but what if we simply kept those photos for ourselves instead of putting them out there for all the world to see? I challenge you, what if you went to the beach and took tons of photos……but didn’t share a single one? And all the millennials gasp in horror. Have we lost the ability to take delight in our own memories without the need to have others relish in them as well? What if we took those photos and, instead of sharing to social media, had them printed into a beautiful photo book and then when friends and family come to visit, passing it around as a tangible way to engage them in your life without staring at a rectangular screen? Thereby, sparking real life conversation and community that is only achieved in person.
It’s popular right now to have a pleasing aesthetic to your Instagram feed and honestly, it’s not all bad. Having consistent color tones and a theme throughout your Instagram gives it a cohesive, well-thought- out, intentional feel. That is definitely not the end goal, but like every other area of our lives, it is something that we ought to do to the best of our ability. If we have any form of an online presence, it must be a reflection of who we are in Christ. You wouldn’t show up at the store wearing your pajamas and that morning’s bedhead, would you? No, because a no-care attitude like that is not a reflection of a person whose life has been changed by Jesus. It’s not about trying to create this life online that looks so perfect and beautiful, it’s about capturing the parts and moments that are beautiful amongst the chaos and mess.
Maybe you don’t take social media this seriously. I want to challenge you to be careful what and how often you post online. What we post online is a direct reflection of what our priorities are and what we value. Give your presence on social media some serious thought. Are you contributing to the community there in a meaningful way? Or are you just throwing your photos into the vortex of pointless posts that do nothing to encourage or inspire or that in twenty years will be completely meaningless? Let’s learn together to be more intentional in every area of our lives, including our online presence.