I bought some friends on Insta.
Back in the summer I was talking to a college student friend about social media trends when she remarked, "You know people buy friends on Insta." I busted out laughing. I thought she was joking. She proceeded to show me accounts of people that we both knew who had in fact...purchased friends to "like" or "follow" their accounts.
Later that night, out of curiosity, I went to the app store on my phone and searched for "Social Media Followers" app. Sure enough, there were a lot of apps out there. I could not resist. I downloaded an app (it was free) to see what it was all about. On this particular app, you could purchase points with money or, if you watched commercials or checked in daily, you would get points and the points can be used to purchase likes or followers. 10 followers or 50 likes for 100 points. So, I watched some videos and checked in a couple of days and Presto! I bought some friends for my insta business account.
It was exciting watching the notifications blow up instantly. Even more exciting was watching the likes on my screen...Thumbs up, thumbs up, thumbs up!
I looked into the accounts of my new "friends". I wanted to see if ethel_laucha9dispepog and I had any common friends. We didn't. Caroll_ta71swestdeswth and I didn't either. In fact, none of my purchased friends and I had friends, interests, or even a random puppy picture that we both liked.
The whole experience ended poorly. My purchased friends were only in it for the show. Or maybe the company that generates the fake friends are in it for the money. Nonetheless, although my social media algorithm may have been enhanced....my life certain wasn't.
The whole experienced reminded me of a Bible verse from the life of Samuel found in 1 Samuel 16:7, "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart."
Even as an adult who uses social media, I can so understand how easy it is to get wrapped up in self evaluation based on likes, followers and comments. The whole experience for me was a reminder to place my value on what God thinks of me and His overwhelming love for me. And in that knowledge, I went ahead and deleted the app.
But if you happen to scroll on insta and notice my new friend, suzanna_pinghusteqitui9ina, tell her I said hello.