Oct. 4, 2021, is this generation’s “date which will live in infamy.” Okay, that may be a little drastic, but it definitely felt that way. For nearly eight hours, 2.85 billion users could not use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and the other subsidiaries of Meta (the parent company of these social media apps formerly known as Facebook). I can’t tell you how many times I tried to refresh my apps, even checking to make sure I paid my phone bill and texting friends to ask, “Hey, can you get on social media?” Facebook, for many, has become a daily routine. In between calls, while you are waiting in a doctor’s office, on public transportation or in a prolonged committee meeting, social media can serve as a necessary distraction. Whether we use it solely for entertainment, communication or connection, it is part of our lives. Over the last year and a half, it has been something that brought us closer together. During the pandemic I went on virtual dates through video chats. At some point during the quarantine, Facebook added watch parties and screen sharing. People could now connect with others across their screens, enjoying virtual game or movie nights.
The abuse of power and mishandling of misinformation by Facebook (now known as Meta) has led to lots of debates about whether we should continue to use it or not. We can also identify negatives about other social media outlets. But what is good, and what has always been good, is the way social media connects us. Personally, my online community has made me think, create, build and grow in ways that amaze and fascinate me. It has introduced me to strangers who are now friends. And it’s a great tool for evangelism. I use social media to share my faith, struggles, hopes and fears.
Since taking over the Outlook’s social media pages, my priority has been to get to know you, our followers. Why do you follow us? What makes you subscribe to the magazine? What makes you want to be a guest writer? I want to connect with each of you. The mission of the Outlook includes networking and building a community that resources and serves the mission of God. I’m excited about the new opportunities we’re offering to help us connect — recruiting bloggers and Twitter ambassadors for big conferences and General Assembly, hosting conversations and book clubs through Zoom webinars, featuring Instagram take-overs by artists, collecting your best photographs to showcase in our magazine. We’re looking for fresh ways to respond to your needs as readers and invite diverse voices into thoughtful conversations.
We hope Presbyterian Outlook’s social media pages inspire, connect, encourage and, most importantly, give the good news! Follow us, connect with us and let us know what is resonating with you. Tell us how we can help with your ministry. Share your stories of community and faith so that we can all build and grow together.