How Social Is Your Media?
by Matt Johnson
Our world is more connected than ever. We carry more computing power in our pockets than previous generations ever dreamed possible. With that, we have access to endless apps and websites dubbed social media where we can interact with nearly anyone around the world instantly. Yet multiple studies have shown that we are an increasingly lonely society.
As with most things in life, social media is an inherently neutral tool that can be abused and distorted if we’re not careful. So how do we engage in a healthy way? Here are some great filters for you to help you get your social back…
The face to face filter: There’s an old adage about alcohol giving people liquid courage. In today’s world, too many people get keyboard courage. They type things within social media that they would never say out loud to a person if they were face to face with them. Before you hit “send”, check this filter – would this be something I would actually say to this person if they were sitting across the table from me at Starbucks?
The truth filter: Deception on the internet used to be amusing – really, who didn’t love a good Rick-Roll back in the day? These days social media is filled with distorted truths, propaganda, and blatant lies that regularly get shared or retweeted because we never take the time to vet their validity. Take the time to find out if something is accurate and true before you put it out to the world.
The echo-chamber filter: Have you ever been in a racket ball court? The echo acoustics are amazing – every noise reverberates back to you in magnified sound. Too many times our social media ends up this way as well – we are surrounded by sources and people who simply echo back to us our own perspectives, thoughts, and ideas. It creates isolation and eliminates healthy dialogue. We hear only what we want to hear in magnified and loud voices. Don’t simply filter your interaction with people on their willingness to echo your own worldview and perspective back to you.
The wisdom filter: Lots of things may clear the first three filters and still be completely unwise for you to post, share, or engage. Do you take the time to think and even pray before you engage people or do you just start typing? Wisdom looks beyond simply right and wrong and asks bigger questions. Is this worth the potential repercussions? Is this a hill worth dying on? How does this represent Jesus in my life? Am I posting to be right or to make a difference? This final filter will save you a lot of frustration and pain if you can learn to seek wisdom before engaging. The trolls may go hungry, but you’ll be much more satisfied.
Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 4, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your keyboards, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ok, so maybe he said mouth instead of keyboard, but if he were writing to today’s church, I’m pretty sure it would be keyboard.
Not everyone is going to play by the rules to make social media social once again, but you can. You can engage this part of life with integrity and wisdom in a way that honors God. As you do, you’ll find that your relationships can be strengthened, not damaged, by being so interconnected. Everything you do, even the things you post, share, like, or comment on, bear witness to Jesus in your life. Let’s reflect him well even in a digital world.