Do you post your Ls?

Social media is an enormously powerful force in our world. So one of the questions that tugs at my heart is this: how can social media be beautiful?

Because, right now, it often isn’t. For instance, recently The New York Times reported on a huge study of social media. Check out these two highlights:

Analyzing survey responses of more than 84,000 people of all ages in Britain, the researchers identified two distinct periods of adolescence when heavy use of social media spurred lower ratings of “life satisfaction”: first around puberty — ages 11 to 13 for girls, and 14 to 15 for boys — and then again for both sexes around age 19.

Dr. Jensen pointed out that the study also found a link in the opposite direction: For all ages, participants who felt bad about their lives wound up spending more time on social media a year later. This suggests that for some people the technology may be a coping mechanism rather than the cause of their gloom.

As Derek Thompson comments on this trend at The Atlantic, he writes:

The Internet exposes teenagers not only to supportive friendships but also to bullying, threats, despairing conversations about mental health, and a slurry of unsolvable global problems—a carnival of negativity. Social media places in every teen’s pocket a quantified battle royal for scarce popularity that can displace hours of sleep and makes many teens, especially girls, feel worse about their body and life.

Amidst all the gloom on social media, I also look for signs of hope.

What are some creative ways we can engage on social media that make the world better?

In a fascinating article on how devastating it is to lose at Wordle, the journalist Heather Schwedel interviews one participant who shares his losses online:

Eric Allix Rogers, a 36-year-old who works at a nonprofit in Chicago and is a multiple-time Wordle loser, said he believes in sharing his losses online for almost philosophical reasons: “It violates that expectation of curating an image of success and perfection on social media, the posting your Ls.”

I have no idea what Eric believes - or doesn’t believe - but I think he’s onto a practice that fits the Christian habits. As Christians, we are habituated to confessing our sins, a keen acknowledgment of our failures.

Or as we read the gospels, where we are offered models for discipleship, we see the embarrassing mistakes and failures of the key disciples intentionally recorded for us. The message? Making mistakes is part of life - and part of following Jesus.

So it feels quite compatible for us to notice that while most people try to curate “an image of success and perfection” online, we will break the mold by sharing our failures and losses.

How freeing would it be for those following us online to seek us volunteering our blemishes and shortcomings?

What other practices do you see that redeem social media?


Wow! I think it would be very fitting for UP community to start one, a social media group or page that highlights one’s failures and learnings. Posting up failures publicly would greatly bring a fresh approach to social media culture. It would help others realize that they are not alone in their failures, while those with similar situations could gather wisdom from other’s experience.

What I am curious though is this:
Would someone’s failure really cause others to learn or to be complacent? Would such post spur support or criticism? Should such post be open for the public or exclusive to a peer?


Hi @dennis,

Well, I think this community is a great place to share what we’re struggling with, learning, trying, etc. Missional Members have a private space to get a weekly prompt to take action; I encourage them to share how it went - whether good or bad. So there are both public and private spaces in this community for us to struggle together to grow in Jesus.

Also, we can gain the courage to be this way wherever we are. For instance, here’s Beth Moore - a hugely famous Christian celebrity - openly confessing something she got wrong for decades:

She doesn’t sugar-coat it. She confesses with humility how much she has to learn from other Christians and ways of being transformed into Christlikeness.

I’m grateful for this kind of honesty and hope to imitate it myself!


Hi @Carson ,

I have been thinking about this post. I appreciate the vulnerability with which Beth Moore shared her post. It encourages me to see that she is honest and brings out humility in my view. It inspired me to reflect on my own shortcomings. Not sure everyone will react that way though. I resonate a lot with the questions @dennis brought up.

In my experience in church communities, losses shared have been used to criticize someone’s ability for spiritual discernment, their suitability for leadership positions and to judge one’s level of submission and faith in God. However, I have also seen how a charismatic leader who has good social influence, great trust established, may be honored for sharing the losses if they are no longer being affected by it. So, may be its just not about humbly sharing losses but also ‘how’ and ‘to whom’ you share is also very important.

A trusted friend may accept us even when we are still in the process of struggling. Such people can come help is get out of it. It may not be the case in social media.

I think the purpose behind communicating losses needs to be very clear when sharing on social media. Ultimately the motive also matters. Is it for the benefit of others or just to have more followers? When we share struggles after developing better understanding, it would be of more benefit to others.

You asked, What other ways social media can be helpful?" I think social media is valuable in inviting different perspectives on an issue. If done correctly as we have experienced on UP, it can help us develop respect for an opposing point of view. When people are active and share their thoughts on a variety of topics, we may also be less likely to put people in a preconceived categories.

I really hope at least church communities are places that are safe enough for people to be honest about their struggles. Otherwise, how can people witness grace in action? I think sharing losses can allow Christ to draw peoples hearts instead of something else.