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How do you think this world would look like if Facebook was not invented or if nobody thought of connecting people through social media?

How would we be spending our time given the absence of these online platforms? Would we still feel special or feel socially accepted even without online friends and followers?

Do you think we could still speak up even if nobody signifies a “like” on our beliefs?

No doubt, social media has dominated our nation. Old or young, the rich and the poor, can easily access and join the virtual world where everyone appears to be connected to and interacting with each other. If you want to belong somewhere, you can easily find your spot out there by signing up and logging in.

Some may argue that social media is not the problem, and that the root cause of the consequences related to social media can be attributed to its users. The user should still be the one in control of his emotions, beliefs, and time, and not the other way around. Sadly, it is true that users unconsciously submit to the standards of the virtual world that cause them to lose sight of what is true.

For instance, people like to be liked by other people.

In the virtual world, popularity, level of influence, and “acceptance rate” can easily be measured by the number of followers that users have, or the number of likes, shares, and comments they receive every time they share their thoughts or photos, or anything.

I myself am a social media user and honestly, I do know how it feels when, after posting a status and wait for about 5 minutes or so, nothing happens. No notifications at all. Some days it feels like nobody cares. Aside from my personal account, I also manage a few FB pages. It’s more exciting especially when you see strangers liking your page and the posts in it. But during days when there’s no new likes on the page or fewer people like your posts, it feels a bit strange. So you’ll think of ways to get noticed or to be heard. Again, it depends on the intention. Many FB pages were conceptualized for the purpose of spreading a very important message or to simply spread love and inspiration. In this case, the number of followers is significant in telling how much of the target audience is reached. But, the number of followers can never diminish nor falsify the importance of the page and the message it brings.

I guess the problem starts when users consciously or unconsciously associate their worth as a person to their status in the social media world. Or, if users begin to conform to what is accepted in social media to feel valued and even loved. As a result, people lose their unique personalities by pretending to be somebody they’re not. We get more and more frustrated with ourselves, and most of all, we forget that we are special.

No form of invention, theory, or human concept can measure how much we are loved and accepted. Our value as a person does not depend on anything man-made.

A few days ago, I found myself in an awkward yet familiar situation. I was about to go home after a Saturday class when a friend of mine invited me to go with her in the mall and spend some time together. I was reluctant since I have an appointment later that day but even before I gave a response, she reminded me that it was her birthday. Yes, I forgot about my friend’s birthday and I wasn’t surprised that it happened because it happens to me all the time. I immediately said yes to her invitation and on we went to the mall.

I said sorry many times to her but deep inside, I really felt bad for having such a poor memory when it comes to dates. While walking towards the mall, my friend shared stories on how she subtly opened up conversations with her other friends to remind them about her birthday, as not all of them, just like me, are aware of it. I was amazed by how the thought of not being remembered didn’t really bother her with the way she talked about it. She went on with her stories until we reached a pause and suddenly, she said this line with so much conviction:

“Okay lang, secured naman ako sa love ni God.”

Her response was something I expect from her knowing how strong her faith is, but I did not expect to hear it that moment when a human heart is supposed to feel sad or lonely. Maybe I was surprised because knowing myself, my human heart would probably feel that way-sad, because people who are supposed to remember my birthday, did not.

We can easily get preoccupied with the standards of this world, both the real and the virtual, and how they’re supposed to make us happy that we forget the simple truth about God’s love and its capacity to give us joy–not just happiness. His love is never-changing, unconditional, and ever-present. Friends are blessings, but when the time comes we don’t have anything else or nobody else by our side; when the day of our birthday comes and nobody’s there to celebrate with us, God’s love for us will remain. God’s love is real, no matter how we feel, one book says. We don’t need to get accepted or to be perfect in His eyes to earn His love, because it’s there even before we learned about love.

That moment with my friend reminded me of how strong the love of God is, and at the same time how weak I am to forget about that love when worldly circumstances try to steal the spotlight from it. I am grateful for that encounter.

How many times in a day would we check our social media accounts for new likes or comments? In my case, about a dozen or more. I’m not saying that I will deactivate my accounts soon after writing this, but instead of worrying about what status I should post, maybe I should be reminding myself every day how much God loves me and I should be more active in spreading the message about how much He loves you too.

It took only one line from a friend to immerse me into that Truth and the same can happen to other people in our daily encounters.

How about we go spend time with our friends in the real world and talk about the love of Christ?

How about we read the Bible as often as we log-in to our accounts to know more about this kind of love that does not require us to be famous?

Wouldn’t it be more exciting to share this love than to wait for people to like us—or our posts?

We’ve got the love of Christ. All of us. If social media doesn’t exist at all in this present time, I believe we’re going to be just fine, as in really fine.

Written By:
Carmela Santos, TLW Volunteer