Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Highlight Reel

If you spend any amount of time on Facebook at all you'll notice that lots of your friends are sharing videos of their Facebook story. I guess the social media giant turns 10 this week and is celebrating by creating short highlight reels for each member.

I watched a couple that friends had posted and was curious about my own. The "slideshow" music plays while photos of myself, my family and friends show up on screen. The video includes some most liked posts over the years and photos that I have shared.

My first thought was "Hmm- I probably wouldn't have picked that photo for this reel. That was really one of my most liked posts? Really Facebook? You're not representing me accurately with this reel. I wish it had used more of this or that."

I'm sure there is some sort of formula or algorithm or whatever that the developers used to create these for millions of people. There certainly were not cubicles full of software engineers painstakingly choosing the content for millions of members' slideshows. My own family and friends were not consulted in the process to ensure a pleasing portrayal. This is technology. Someone tells it to report back in the form of a slideshow what are the most liked photos and posts that this person shared.

This got me thinking (whoa, watch out!) and I realized it was a good opportunity to remember that my life is not equal to the sum of my Facebook posts. And yet it is. I'll explain.

I know there is much more to me than what I share on Facebook. I don't try to cherry pick only the moments in my life that make me look awesome online, but the fact is, we all have more going on in real life than we show on Facebook- good and bad. I saw more pictures of my youngest child than my older two. Suddenly I fret over the possible perception that I favor my third-born and does that mean my older children will grow up somehow deprived of my love and affection? None of my wedding photos made the reel. Do I not value my marriage enough? Should I be posting more selfies with my husband? Have I been complaining about my house too much?

This is obviously ridiculous. A random sampling of what I post to social media revealed what I would consider an inaccurate picture of who I am and what is important to me. I would want to change the picture. Big surprise, I want more control over how I get summarized in slide show form. It is important to realize that no slide show or highlight reel actually defines who you are and what is important to you. However, it can create an impression in the minds of the people you share with online. We aren't supposed to be constantly concerning ourselves with what others think of us- that would be vanity. We are supposed to reflect Christ in all we do. Privacy settings on social media aside, any person could pull up your profile or glance over some of your posts and form an opinion about you. What is important is not whether or not they like you or approve of your interior decorating or apparent access to a professional photographer... What is important is if they can see Christ reflected in the things you post.

And of course, infinitely more important than Facebook is the highlight reel we all face when this life is over. Except it won't be highlights: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 2 Cor 5:10
What an indescribable relief to know that when that painful show is over, I can be free from all those less than flattering images and damning records because of the blood of Christ. It won't be the bad haircut or poorly lit photo that keeps me up at night, and thanks to Jesus, it won't be any of the actual bad decisions that I've made either. I am whiter than snow.