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Posted by: Sarah Blackaby | on October 28, 2015
Social media has dramatically changed the social landscape. Friends near and far can easily stay updated on your daily life. You can post a picture of the pumpkin spice latte you just ordered and almost instantly receive comments from your mother-in-law, former soccer coach, pastor, and Great Aunt Sue.
While there are many benefits of living in a hyper-connected world, it also presents unique challenges. Everyone now has a platform, and in the immortal words of Uncle Ben (or the smart guy he plagiarized), “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Below are 5 things we should keep in mind as we embrace the wonderful world of social media:
- Don’t let a Facebook like replace action. While social media can be a great way to bring awareness to a cause or need, sharing an article or posting a status should not be an end in itself. Rather it should be a springboard to action—such as volunteering, donating, sponsoring, and especially praying.
- What goes on the Internet stays on the Internet. Just like it’s prudent to think before we speak, we should think before we post! A good rule of thumb is to avoid social media when our judgment is impaired (whether by anger, exhaustion, distraction, etc.) to avoid posting anything we will later regret.
- Spread Joy. Take inventory of the balance of positive/negative posts, comments, or articles you share. While life certainly isn’t sunshine and daisies all the time, our online presence says a lot about us. The way we present ourselves should be a reflection of Christlike love, not of a critical and pessimistic spirit.
- The “Golden Rule” applies (even in the comments sections). Online interaction can often feel removed from real life, and that can make people less inhibited to write what they would never say to someone’s face. Scroll through the comments of any YouTube video (at your own risk) and you will often find ugly exchanges. Even under funny cat videos! But we should keep Matthew 7:12 in mind, “Sowhatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We should show respect to others online, even when we disagree.
- Find Balance. As with any other good thing, social media is best when used in moderation. With the social media world so easily accessible, it can become tempting to check our phones, laptops, or ipads all the time. But then we tend to miss what is happening around us. As the saying goes, be with the people you’re with.