How Instagram Got It Right

Many years ago, I would have considered myself an early adapter when it came to things like social media.  I remember joining Facebook when it was just for college students who had a college-associated email address. At that point there were less than 50,000 people who used it, and none of my friends had heard of it.  Obviously things have changed just a bit since then. 


Over the past several years we’ve seen more and more social media sites/apps/etc. hitting the virtual market, and we’ve also seen the barriers for those programs disappear to the point that as long as someone has a pulse and a valid email address they can sign up. 


These days I use three different social media venues for three different reasons.  I typically use Facebook to keep up with family and older friends, Twitter to connect with professional colleagues and network, and Instagram has become my go-to for connecting with people in my day-to-day life. 


If you aren’t familiar with Instagram and you are reading this blog, it is a way to post and share pictures of your day-to-day life…or to show off (read: brag about) really cool trips and what your kid is doing now.  In all seriousness though, I really like Instagram, and I recently noticed that they haven’t gotten rid of all the barriers like other social media sites. 


Anyone can join Instagram – all it takes is a valid email address and checking the box that you are over the age of 13.  You can start following people right away, and you can even follow the same people that you are “friends” with on Facebook.  However, until you post your first picture, you can only follow up to 10 people.  It is capped.  Let me say that another way: Until you contribute to it, you can only connect with a limited number of people.  See where I’m about to go with this? 


I think there is a parallel that can be drawn here with our lives as followers of Christ and a local church body.  We can be part of the church, attend weekly services, and call this place our home.  But until we are contributing – living sacrificially, serving, investing in others – we are only going to be truly connected with and able to see a very limited part of the full picture.  


God has called us as His followers to be more than just consumers.  He has called us to be doers, to contribute, to pour our lives out.  And like Instagram, until we are contributing to His work, we are only going to be taking part in a small fraction of the greater picture of the Kingdom. 

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