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  • Writer's pictureRusty McKie

When Facebook & Instagram Shut down

The past two weeks, we've talked about A Cure for Loneliness and Pharmaceutical Friendships.

Today, I planned to share ways we can live into faithful friendship. But then, Facebook and Instagram went down for an entire 6 hours (more on faithful friendships next week).

Today, let's reflect on the experience and reaction to our go-to social media site's unavailability.

A Digital Scrapbook

Beyond the fantastic memes populating Twitter on Monday, the experience also revealed anxiety.

Many use Facebook/Instagram in the same way people once made scrapbooks.

The fear quickly solidified that Monday's shutdown might be the old-school equivalent of a house fire that burns up all your memories.

Tweet after Tweet blazed with loss and grief — even at the possibility of losing a feed full of memories.

We could immediately bemoan our plugged-in lives here, or we can take up the digital scrapbook imagery to see these platforms in a more positive light.

There's goodness in being able to document your life.

There's grief when that record is potentially lost.

A Digital Surrogate

While it's good to spot goodness in our platform of choice, let's also not give in to naivety.

We all know we're addicted to these platforms to some degree, yet we all continue a love affair with our digital surrogate self.

Typically, Facebook rewards me with novel images and dopamine hits. On Monday, the app doled out low-level disappointment every time I realized it wasn't there.

The 6 hours without Facebook revealed (yet again) my habitual inclination to scroll my life away.

And I found myself wondering, What if all these social media sites went away for good?

The Scriptures are clear that life is a puff of smoke (Ecclesiastes 1:2-4; James 4:14).

The loss of our digital surrogate — here one moment and gone the next — became a parable. Our life is fleeting.

A Digital Wakeup Call

The Facebook/Instagram shutdown can wake us up to reality.

Are we spending more of our lives in digital spaces than real relationships?

Don't be fooled; this will cost you.

Let's enjoy Facebook and Instagram as digital scrapbooks and reject them as digital surrogates.

Let's live our lives to the fullest because they're brief and precious.


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