This morning, I opened an app that I open about once every 3-5 months. This app was Instagram. I have tried several times to get into posting pictures, but I have never completely bought in. Well, this morning I opened the app to several pictures from people I have never seen nor remembered following. I opened my profile to find that the roughly 30 people I followed had turned to 1200. I was officially hacked.
I panicked, changed my password, started to unfollow the several strangers (many of them looked to be body builders) until I realized the damage was done. My account was in ruin with random likes and follows. So, I killed it (as much as you can, nowadays).
This whole ordeal made me think, “What if Instagram was my life? What if I found my identity on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook?” As scary as this hack was, I would’ve been worse off if that is where my identity was. I would’ve been emotionally distraught, at a loss, and desperately trying to do damage control other than hitting the deactivate button.
That’s a problem with Western culture. Many of us suffer from Social Media Identity Disorder. We put the image out online of who we want people to see us as. Somewhere along the line, we may even start to believe it ourselves. However, when the likes and shares don’t come, whether online or in life, we become deflated. Value is placed on response in an online world, and not who we are as people.
So when someone with SMID’s account gets hacked, and their image is completely destroyed, then what happens? Our identity doesn’t need to be based off of the pictures and stories we tell online. It shouldn’t be based on retweets and hearts. Don’t get me wrong, as a blogger and writer, I like it when I see a stranger post a link to a post I’ve written. It is encouraging, but that can’t be where my worth is.
Our identities should come from a deeper place. There is a God that created us, who so much cares for us that He sacrificed His Son so that we may have a relationship with Him. That is where I want my identity to be. In the times where it is, I find freedom from the social media world.