5 things Social Media taught me about giving

Photo from engagement shoot.

Photo by danellebohane.com from my engagement shoot.

“I’ll be frank, I want more likes.”

“Man I can’t believe that I got 200 likes!”

If you have heard or made a statement like this, you can be sure that you are not alone. These were actual statements made by two of my friends who are between the ages of 18 and 25. The desire to be liked resonates with so many, social media users and non-users alike. I mean, as shallow as it may sound, who doesn’t want to be admired and liked by others?

For the last few years I have been on a journey of discovery on social media. There were times when I wanted to quit and times where it gave me much joy. Surprisingly one of my biggest lessons from social media is in the area of giving. Here are 5 things that social media, in particular Instagram and Facebook, has taught me about giving.

  1. Give, without expecting anything in return.

Have you heard of the like for a like phenomenon? On Instagram, this is where you trade likes. You will like his photo if he likes yours in return. The problem with this mentality is that you are dependent on another’s action. You are surrendering the control of your emotions to someone else.

It is so easy to fall into this trap of giving and taking. You want to give, but only if you can get something from the other person. This is such a tiring way to live. Let me tell you a secret to happiness: be generous and don’t expect anything of others.

  1. Be intentional about giving.

Social media enables us to so easily consume photos without even thinking of giving back. When I am looking to fill time, I find myself scrolling through photos in an instant and soon I am at the end of my news feed. Now I choose to be intentional about giving back to those that have spent the time creating.

  1. Give praise where praise is due.

When a photo or content has been crafted well, I show my appreciation. I want to be an encourager to those that deserve it. Be someone who acknowledges the effort gone into a well-thought-out post.

  1. A simple act of giving can make someone’s day.

I know that when a friend likes my photo, I feel the love from her. Choosing a simple gesture of double-tapping an instagram photo can instantly brighten up someone’s day. Why don’t we all do it more often?

  1. It is better to give than to receive.

This must be true because both psychologists and the bible say so. Giving lifts the focus off self and channels it to others. It enlarges our world. I cannot be more certain of this. Give it a go. You might surprise yourself at how good you feel in the end.

While I chose social media as a focus, these principles of giving are all-encompassing and apply to other areas of life.

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