Recently Chipotle had a hack on their Twitter account. Someone got onto their stream and posted nonsense tweets. It turns out, they did it themselves, for a publicity stunt. After all it worked for Burger King who did the same think and gained 30,000 followers. Read more about the stunt.
Thirty thousand is a lot of people. In the eyes of business, that’s a ton of new customers. Yet is that the point of social media—to get attention? To build “the numbers”?
It’s understandable why that seems important. A larger number “followers” impress our bosses and our friends. A larger number of followers attracts more people, too. (People like to be connected with important people.)
I understand. I have great connections on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and I continually have to tell myself that each one of those numbers is a person with joys, desires, and needs. I know this to be true. There are people whom I’ve connected with on Twitter whom I now consider good friends. We’ve met in person. We’ve celebrated birthdays together. We are even friendlier in person than online! (I know, can you believe it?)
I’ve also met some of my online friends on vacation and at booksignings. I love giving a hug to those who’ve encouraged me through tweets and posts!
I love social media, but an important question to ask is, “What’s all the attention about?” Is it about making ourselves look good or about finding new customers for our products—whether it is books or hair clips?
For me, I’m awed to have this reach to share the good news of Jesus. I’m amazed to read my stats and see that every day thousands of people visit my website/blog from all around the world. (Jesus took it seriously when I prayed, “Send me!”)
Yet there’s danger that comes with that too. It’s tempting to seek attention. It’s tempting come up with nonsense that will draw and entertain the crowds. Thankfully, I have a case study on how Jesus handled it.
During the first year of His ministry, before the official opposition began, Jesus was immensely popular and great crowds followed Him. However, the crowds did not impress Jesus, nor did He cater to them, because He knows what is in the human heart (John 2:25). Anybody can join a crowd and go with the flow, but it takes courage to stand alone for the truth and obey it.
It looked as though that crowd was seeking spiritual enrichment from Jesus, but the Lord knew better. Most of them wanted to see something sensational, like a miracle, while others were concerned about something to eat (John 6:26). A generation later, the Roman satirist Juvenal wrote that the Romans “longed eagerly for just two things—bread and circuses,” but this Jewish crowd was just as bad, and so are many crowds today. The apostle John would have called them “worldly” because they focused on “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16 NASB). Warren Wiersbe, Jesus in the Present Tense
Friends, the truth is that many people visit blogs for the same thing: “bread and circuses.” They want free stuff, and they want to be entertained. If you’re not going to give it to them, they have millions of more sites to visit. I’m not saying that free stuff and entertainment are wrong. Personally, I love both. I just need to make sure I’m spreading the messages Jesus has asked me to, without being worried about the number of views my posts get. I’ll leave that in Jesus’ hands.
I’ll never have all the answers, but I just might have a few I’ve learned (from experience) that will guide men and women to the Truth.
What about you? What do you think of social media attention?
Wondering what’s up next for me? My book The One Year of Amish Peace releases soon. You can pre-order it here!
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