“People like you more than they like me,” I jokingly complained to my husband.
“What are you talking about?” my husband asked.
I explained to him that he had more Facebook “likes” on his fan page than I did. He scoffed at the whole idea. “Maybe you just post too much.”
I pondered over his conclusion. Maybe I do post too much. That led me to ask myself, “Why do I post?” As I’ve reflected on that question, I’ve come to a lot of conclusions. All of our family is far away. Many of our friends live quite long distances away as well. For me, posting is a way to keep family and friends in the loop about the major happenings of our lives. With so much negativity all around us, for me, it’s a way to celebrate positive people, places and things. Most importantly though, it’s been a way for me to not only share what God’s given me to share, but also to learn and get support from other believers.
While all of this might sound fairly reasonable to many, I must admit that I have some other much less noble reasons for posting on Facebook. I like the “like.” I’ve noticed how different I feel when I post a blog and there’s no interest in it, opposed to posting one where there has been a lot. There’s a validation that comes from knowing that people “like” what you’ve posted.
There’s also the marketing aspect to Facebook that you can’t get away from—especially if you are selling anything at all. As an author, it’s important to connect with readers to let them know about your work. It’s surely an art not to beat people over the head with what you’re selling, but to gently rouse up interest and support. We can also endorse products and services with the “like.” This, in turn, generates more business for the thing we “like.” We can also find out about new products, get promotional deal and use coupons—all through social media outlets like Facebook.
I began to do a little Google search about the psychology behind the Facebook “like.” Studies have discovered that Facebook can actually trigger the brain’s reward center, much like food, sex, acceptance, and money. I wonder if that’s why, for some of us, Facebook has an almost addictive quality to it. We use it because it gives us a feeling of satisfaction.
For others, I shall call the Facebook lurkers, who never “like” hardly anything, but always see everything. They pride themselves on not posting or rarely posting because they’re “above that.” They’re too private to post, but peer into everyone else’s lives. Strangely, they are just as fascinated at others’ posts as the average Facebook Joe but have convinced themselves that they are much too enlightened to engage in petty posting. In fact, over the years I’ve been told, “You are always on Facebook!” I always chuckle to myself, wondering how they know. In spite of it all, even the lurkers find pleasure by observing and not “liking” much of anything.
A study found that we get more satisfaction and experience less loneliness when we receive a comment from someone on Facebook as opposed to a “like.” Some FB users have stopped “liking” posts all together and just post comments, finding more satisfaction from that type of interaction than a simple “like.” An obvious takeaway is that, generally speaking, Facebook posting helps us to feel more connected to one another–especially posting comments.
Lately, I’ve realized that while striving to stay connected, support others and market for my upcoming novel, I cannot allow the lure of the “like” to overshadow the ultimate approval I should be seeking. My daily aim should be to please God. Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” When we seek to please Him first, we get a lasting satisfaction, not only in our brains, but in our body, spirit and soul. His approval lasts far beyond the fleeting pleasure of a “like” or comment on social media.
Often the things that receive the most nods from others are the very things that can be detrimental to us. James 4:4 says, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” We live in the world but we’re not supposed to be of it, meaning that we don’t live to gratify the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes, and succumb to the pride of life.
Another verse in John 15:19 says, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” We can be assured that when we truly live for Him, there will be many times that we have to walk alone. There will be many times when we won’t be liked; in fact, we will be hated. It is okay though. He has overcome the world! He loves us now to eternity.
I like Facebook, and many of us do. Most, if not all of us, love to be affirmed. We like it when others think well of us. It feels good to be validated and help others do the same. However, we have to be careful not to let the lure of a like, whether from social media or other areas in our lives, keep us from seeking His approval in everything that we are, do and say. He is our Creator, and He is the only One who knows all that we need and desire. He is the only One who can quench our thirst and satisfy us in every area of our lives.
Knowing that God is looking at my life in its entirety, would He push the “like” button for who I am? What about you? Is He pleased with you? Not just pleased with what you’re doing, but is He pleased with the condition of your heart? Yes, He accepts us as we are, but He wants us to love and serve Him first and with our whole heart. He is looking for a life that is dedicated to Him, not a perfect one. He wants us for Himself. Will you trust Him with your life today and always, not concerned with who likes it or not?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16