Social Media takes work to peel back the different layers of a person. Most people are happy with the “likes,” because to converse would actually, with the right responses and questions, open up that post to more threads (aka conversations); thereby, taking up more time.
A social media conversation can, in private or public, last a full hour, just like any face-to-face conversations (Haven’t you ever spent 30 minutes saying goodbye?). There are dos and don’ts in any of these situations.
- Don’t post a divisive post that fails to completely understand or explain a complex situation. Snarky can be funny, but in some cases, it adds salt to an already festering wound. In this situation, you need to ask yourself, “What is my purpose for posting this and does it align with my biblical values? What are we trying to accomplish? Am I contributing to the divide already among us?”
- Don’t name call. That should be common sense, but oftentimes, social media is a bedrock of name-calling.
- Do ask questions.
- Don’t take a response at face value. People have personalities like they do in face-to-face situations. Learn about their personalities before you get offended at the “tone.”
- Do allow time for “God-appointments.” This can happen online as well as in face-to-face. This is where you stop serving your agenda, and start serving others.
- Don’t respond to baiting conversations. Learn when a conversation is about discussion and when it is simply about the debate and being right (or about conquering). Follow the Spirit on this.
- Do your own research. Don’t expect others to do it for you. A good example is when someone endorses a political candidate. Do you notice how others follow the leader? Instead of trusting their research, do your own.
- Don’t use all caps. That’s considered shouting.
But above all…take a deep breath.
Social media can be used to build up relationships, spread the Gospel, and turn around a culture if believers work together to be as intentional about what they post as how they live. We humans are messy. Relationships are messy. Don’t go into social media without a solid prayer life. Social media will make you believe you have the power to change minds and give you a false sense of importance. You have no power, but God does have the power. Bring Him into those conversations in your head.