The Social Media Machine
Aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs and to work with your own hands, as we charged you; so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody.
In 2012, Facebook paid $1 billion to acquire a small startup called Instagram. At the time, Instagram had just 30 million users (a paltry number these days) and zero revenue. Instagram’s founders have since left the company as Facebook looks to muscle its acquisition as part of its big-data program with its now billion active users. Given the decline of its primary platform, Facebook is on a mission to meld Instagram into its integrated shopping programs and refashion it into a stronger platform for advertisers.
Facebook’s increasingly aggressive marketing machinations raise issues for independents like us. What Instagram offers content providers (what we are called) is a hugely accessible platform where people can add your feed of original content without any additional effort of getting to or appreciating your work. In exchange you give Instagram and Facebook a worldwide license to commercially leverage your work any way that its algorithms see fit. A Babylonian pact in so many words.
Preachers and ministries have rationalized getting in bed with the platform by arguing that it allows them to reach more people than they could otherwise. Some have gotten so far in that they’ve become vassals of Facebook’s advertising algorithms.
Our aim at Breath is to craft content that engenders growth and maturity in a small, dedicated community of believers. We don’t see where that happens through social media. We’ve examined the scriptural directive of being dependent on nobody and how we’ve used social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, in the past. While we have never been big proponents of the platform, we’ve decided to scale back even further. In the future you’ll see some occasional postings on Instagram, but nothing too substantial. It is extremely important that we maintain control of our content, so you’ll find 99% of it here and in our magazine.