When my youngest daughter and her best friend travelled to Europe a few years ago, the first thing I did every morning before I got out of bed was reach for my mobile phone. I’d click onto Facebook to see where they had gone and what they had seen while we in Australia slept.
Their posts were mostly selfies. Their two beaming faces took up most of their photos, but there was usually a clue as to their location — was that the tip of the Eiffel Tower in the distance? And that white thing in the background, perching like a beret on top of their heads — was that the dome of the Sacre Coeur?
Actually, I couldn’t have cared less about historically-significant or world-famous landmarks; it was those two smiling faces I wanted to see. Thanks to social media, we are able to connect with each other like never before and this is what World Social Media Day (30 June) celebrates.
Social media has revolutionised the way we communicate. The latest Global Digital 2019 reports from social media management platform Hootsuite and We Are Social tell us that in January there were 3.256 billion mobile social users. That figure is surely no surprise to any of us; all we have to do is look around us to see how many heads are bent over phones in shopping centres, public transport, on footpaths (and even in our lounge rooms).
Social media certainly has its negatives. There has been much public discussion warning us of the dangers of cyberbullying, of becoming addicted to our social media networks, of anxiety because of FOMO (fear of missing out) and depression through comparing ourselves to the apparently amazing lives of everyone online. But it also has positives. With the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen we can connect with family and friends, whether they are in the next suburb or across the world.
Being connected is crucial for mental and physical health. We don’t need to read the plethora of studies and reports done by researchers to know this (type ‘importance of being connected’ into a search engine and you’ll come up with almost 800,000 results). In the same way, being connected to God is vital for our spiritual well-being.
Being able to facetime God would be handy, and although the Almighty hasn’t given us access to his Facebook account we can still send him a friend request through prayer. We can ‘log in’ to God through reading the Bible; in fact, with the ability to read/hear the Bible via apps, podcasts etc., connecting with God through his word has never been easier.
But our connection with God starts with his son, Jesus. “There is only one God, and there is only one way that people can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who as a man gave himself to pay for everyone to be free” (1 Timothy chapter 2, verses 5–6).
What’s left to say except #share #worthgoingviral #tageveryoneyouknow?