So a few weeks ago Google opened up their new social media platform Google+ to the general public. Up until then, in order to be a member you had to be invited in, now all you need to join is an existing Google account like a gmail address or you can just create a new account right there on the Google home page. The result has been a huge spike in users of this new social media platform.
This has also spawned a new short form for our social media culture. Over the past several months I’ve seen a number of people responding to posts on other social media platforms like twitter and facebook with simply “+1.”
In our instant messaging, 140 character world it’s a quick way to say “I agree” or “me too” or “right on!”, or just give a kind of digital high five. Many blogs, this one included contain the +1 icon at the bottom of every post so that people can publicly declare their agreement or interest in what I have written through their Google+ accounts.
This got me thinking.
Writer Anne Lamont, author of “Grace (Eventually)” and “Imperfect Birds” once said that the most powerful sermon in the world consists of two words, “me too,” or in our social media context “+1.” It’s a statement that says I get it, I’ve been where you are, I know what you are feeling. But it is also a statement that only means anything if it’s true and comes from a trusted member of your community.
Several years ago my wife went through a severe bout of depression. All the well meaning advise she received from people who had no direct experience with depression, myself included, didn’t amout to a hill of beans until she met a woman named Wendy who could honestly say “me too.” Up until that point it, as she put it, it was as if she were stuck in a swamp and everyone was yelling instructions at her from a helicopter but Wendy came along in hip waiters and said, “Follow me I’ve been in this swamp before, I’m right here beside you let’s find the way out together.”
The writer of Ecclesiastes put it this way;
Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.
If one falls down, the other can help him up.
But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because there is no one there to help.
If two lie down together they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm.
An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven in three strings is hard to break. [Eccles. 4:9-12]
That’s what true community is all about and what Christ-followers are called to. Getting down into the swamp of daily life and honestly saying to those around us “+1, here I am right next to you, let’s do this together.”