Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Please "LIKE" me by Heidi McLaughlin
Impressive. Twenty-six “Likes” in the first seven minutes meant that my post was hitting the mark. I kept clicking the stats and with each new “like” I experienced a feeling of pleasure. I must admit the satisfaction of success is a very addictive feeling.
Two years ago I was having a delightful conversation with my daughter Michelle, and with a sparkle in her eyes she said: “Mom I not only love you, I really like you.” Those simple words rocked my world. There is an intrinsic need in all of us to know there is something within us that is likeable.
Over the past year I have been inundated with friends, colleagues, companies and people I’ve never even heard of, asking me to “like” their Facebook page. I am more than happy to “like them but I plead ignorance with regard to the value of this new social media trend.
I fully comprehend our need to know that our written words have an impact. It is a writer’s greatest passion and fulfillment to know that we are making a concrete difference in people’s lives, breaking down barriers and leaving a substantial difference in this present age. But most of it is now done through social media and here is where my tension lies. “Is our social media obsession and validation more important than human interaction and affirmation?” Writers sit behind their most valuable tool-a computer screen. I am familiar with this occupation. When I am writing a book or a new Bible Study guide, I become consumed with my computer and technology. I sheepishly confess that there were weekends when I got out of bed, turned on my computer to “write just a few words” and found myself in that same position twelve hours later.
I mentor an outstanding woman in Virginia who has written the book called THE DIGITIAL INVASION, How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships.[i] Her words in this book have caused me to examine the amount of time I spend on my computer, doing research or posting blogs and articles. The author, Sylvia Frejd makes it clear that we are living in a decade of technology that has the potential danger of creating isolation and loneliness.
The past year has been a difficult journey as I struggled to juggle my career, speaking/writing ministry and care for my mother. When I buried my mother on December 6, 2013, I was made acutely aware of the importance of sharing our lives with other people. How crucial it is to laugh together, share deep intimate stories, examine our passions and dreams, pray for one another and learn to really “like” each other. I love writing, blogging, sharing posts on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Yet, at the end of the day it is words that we say to each other that will truly impact our existence. Words like:
· You’re a good mother.
· I saw what you did back there…that was awesome.
· How can I help you?
· I hear you’re going through a hard time. Can I come by and pray with you?
Because of the struggles I experienced this past year, I deliberately and carefully examine how I balance my social media time, and the most important connection on this earth. Eyeball to eyeball human relationships.
I really hope you “like” this post.
Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. She is married to Pastor Jack and they have a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 9 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her husband and special friends. You can reach her at: www.heartconnection.ca
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