In the light of Donald Trump recently being banned from Twitter I thought it would be good to consider how we should use social media. It goes without saying that social media can be used for both good and bad purposes. In that light how should we use it? In no particular order here are some ideas of how we can use it well.
SPEAK THE TRUTH
When we post anything on social media we should try at all times to tell the truth. This may well mean that we have to research something, checking out the facts before posting, rather than share any old information. If it is impossible for something to be true and there is no evidence to support it, then best practice is not to post it. We should not deliberately share things that we know are lies. Instead we should aim to build our online timeline with truthful statements.
I know that some are very interested in conspiracy theories, but we need to check the credibility of the theory before posting. In recent times some have claimed that 5G is linked to coronavirus. However, there is absolutely no proof of this. Therefore posting statements linking the two is irresponsible and should be avoided.
Speaking the truth can be very powerful and the footballer Marcus Radford has done a wonderful job in the last few months raising awareness of child hunger in the United Kingdom. He has shown that injustices can be raised and tackled via social media.
THINK BEFORE YOU POST
It really should be obvious that it is important to think you post. Ask yourself: do I really need to post that? Once you post something then someone will see your post. Even if you delete it and hope no-one notices, someone will see it, and it might still come back to haunt you.
If you are angry then the best advise is do not post! Unfortunately, if you post when you are angry you will invariable post something that you will regret and could cause a whole lot of trouble, even if you delete it. Go for a walk, count to hundred, wait until you calm down before posting.
We also should be careful which posts we like and share too. When doing this we are endorsing their views and saying that we agree with it. Ask yourself if you really agree with their opinion before doing this. I know I have liked things and then realised that was not appropriate and had to go back and unlike them!
AIM FOR EDIFYING POSTS
I wonder how much different social media would be if we always aimed for our posts to be edifying to others? Why not make it your goal to post things that encourage and help others. How about having a policy of not criticising others on social media? It can be done!
We need to remember that there are real people on social media. You will never know the effect for good or bad your posting might have on others.
YOU CAN DISAGREE WITHOUT ARGUING
I am not sure why but social media does seem to encourage some to argue. Somebody may be nice and polite in real life but once behind a keyboard they become a completely different person.
Social media is not really the best place to have a proper sensible discussion, especially with the character limits in Twitter. If we do have discussions online then we need to learn to accept different views. If someone has a different view to you on a subject there is the possibility that they might be right and you might be wrong! Please remember that there are subjects on which you can disagree and still remain friends. And be ready to apologise if you are wrong about something.
Sadly it is very easy to get involved in pointless arguments. You only have to read comments to Facebook posts or YouTube videos to see this.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE
Whilst social media can be enjoyable we must remember that it is not real life. There is a life outside of social media and you certainly do not need to spend your whole life on social media. Neither do you need to share everything single thing you do or think either. Take breaks from social media and enjoy the real world.
MOTTO FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
In conclusion, although social media did not exist when the New Testament was written, there is a verse in the book of James which we could aim to use as our motto for social media:
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19)