Category Archives: social media

Turn Your Filter On Before You Post

FilterOnGraphic

This is my third post about social media use as Jesus-followers that was inspired by the book, “What Would Jesus Post?” by Brian D. Wassom. {Affiliate link.} You can read the book review and Using Your Social Media Powers for Good if you missed those.

At first glance, this principle seems like a “no brainer.” You might be like I am: someone who doesn’t use curse words, doesn’t post inappropriate or controversial things, doesn’t gossip, and doesn’t get caught up in debates. I figured that was good enough and didn’t think too much deeper about it. However, God has been working on my heart to check my motives with each post and to consider and love others better.

In the book, Brian points out how the social media companies want you to engage in unfiltered posts/conversations so they can make money off you. These companies have marketing firms paying them big bucks to find out demographics and what products people like or don’t like. Social media companies are very valuable for all the data they can collect. If not for some of its benefits, social media could be construed as a big collaborative marketing racket.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about our words. The verses that refer to speech should be included in looking at social media because that is our “platform” from which we virtually “speak.” (Proverbs is full of verses about speech and using our words.)

SlowtoSpeakverse

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
James 1:19 (NIV)

I have sort-of adopted this verse lately for social media. I’ve decreased my own personal posts (slow to speak), and spent more time in my newsfeed reading others’ posts (quick to listen). I don’t usually have a problem with getting angry, but rather I am making sure that my comments on others’ posts are kind, compassionate, loving and encouraging.

“He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding has a cool spirit. Even a fool when he holds his peace is considered wise; when he closes his lips he is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Proverbs 17:27-28 (AMP)

“The lips of the [uncompromisingly] righteous know [and therefore utter] what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked knows [and therefore speaks only] what is obstinately willful and contrary.”
Proverbs 12:32 (AMP)

“Therefore, if [my eating a] food is a cause of my brother’s falling or of hindering [his spiritual advancement], I will not eat [such] flesh forever, lest I cause my brother to be tripped up and fall and to be offended.”
1 Corinthians 8:13 (AMP)

“But I tell you, on the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.”
Matthew 12:36-37 (AMP)

Throughout the Bible, we’re instructed to think before we speak, not having a loose tongue, and being snared by the words of our mouth. Also, we’re not to cause a fellow Jesus-follower to stumble or be offended. God sees everything you post. This all applies to what we share through typing words online.

Causing the Maximum Amount of Good

When I do make personal posts, here are the guidelines I’ve started following:

  • Checking motives ~ this means checking my heart to make sure I’m not posting something that would be “bragging” or flaunting what I have been blessed with. To make sure my heart isn’t looking for a “pat on the back” or recognition for something, deriving self-worth from others. To make sure I’m not getting into comparisons. To make sure I’m not just trying to promote myself, but to pray that my words bless someone.
  • Considering others ~ this means putting myself in other people’s shoes and considering their feelings. It could mean something like not mentioning the heated seats in my four-wheel-drive SUV, when I have friends who are driving around “clunkers” that they’re praying will keep running through the winter. It could mean not inundating my timeline with photos of my kids when I have friends who are struggling with infertility and miscarriage. (I’ve been there, so I know how that feels.) It could even mean not talking about sports teams, which could ruffle up a die-hard fan of a rival team. (Let alone topics about politics and theology.) It means keeping peace and unity.
  • Loving others ~ this means uplifting and encouraging others. It means sharing from your heart, keeping it real, but positive. It’s being helpful with knowledge, sharing with understanding, being objective with opinions, and keeping a purpose to bless others. At the core, it’s making things more about others and less about you.

I have posted things where I’m looking for recognition and I’m guilty of clicking into Facebook every two minutes after I post something just to watch the “likes” add up. That’s for sure not the way we’re supposed to be.

My vehicle, my favorite teams, spending the summer lounging by the pool…it all seems innocent on the surface. But it can come across as bragging or making others feel jealous, envious, sad, discouraged, resentful, and “less than.” And let’s face it, these things don’t make a positive difference in the lives of others or for eternity. I’m not saying it’s wrong to live in real life with those things, but to take it to the next step, feeling a need to splash it out to friends around the globe is senseless…at least that’s where God has convicted me.

Here’s a tip: on most social media sites, you can make lists (Facebook & Twitter), hidden boards (Pinterest), and circles (Google+), so that if you want to post about something that you know only certain ones of your friends will be interested in, you can set it up so that only those friends will see what you post on those subjects. A simple example, for a sports fan, would be to put all your friends who root for the same sports team as you on a list so that before/during/after the game when you want to post about it, only those who care and are of like mind will see it. (On Facebook, I have it set up so that my entire friends list sees less than half of what I post!)

It is much better to build people up, to make an actual difference in their lives, or even their day, to forge bonds and paths that may lead to an eternal difference, than to let the unimportant take up space or cause others to stumble in our online lives.

So instead of impulsively posting things, who’s with me, determining to turn on our filters and think before we post? Even if it means we post less often, that’s maybe the point.

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Using Your Social Media Powers for Good

SocialMediaPowers

I recently wrote a review on the book, What Would Jesus Post? by Brian D. Wassom. {Affiliate link} It’s not a long or in-depth book, but it did a very good job of making me stop and think before I post anything on social media. And it’s not that I was ever using social media in a “wrong” or even negative way. For me, it has made me think on a deeper level, taking time to consider others and my own motives before I post.

My husband just showed me a meme (photo with words) that was on his Facebook newsfeed last night. It totally relates to what I’ve been chewing on. It was a picture of a lady at a gym in a workout outfit with a towel in hand. She was sort-of rolling her eyes, with a “darn it” expression on her face. The words said something to the effect of, “Perfectly worthless workout…I forgot to post about it on Facebook!”

Facebook, especially, for many people has taken on the role of a stage in which they’re “performing” for their “friends.” I’m guilty, too. I know. It can be a long rabbit hole. People can…

  • derive some sense of self-worth through recognition (“likes”).
  • get into comparisons and almost brag about what they have or what they do to feel better about themselves.
  • publicly declare ways they give, whether with time or money, when it might be better kept in secret.
  • take sides on issues, from politics to sports teams, and offend or make divisions.
  • become disenchanted with always seeing happy, positive posts.
  • be put off by reading too many whining and complaining posts.

Then there are my pet peeves like those “chain”-type posts…ones about “let’s see who my real friends are…who really reads my posts…” or posting some crazy thing that is supposed to support a cause. How does that truly support a cause? Time or money wasn’t given by posting something crazy. Don’t get me started…

And this list isn’t even talking about “bad” things like rants, gossiping, fighting, stalking, impersonating someone else, and addictions.

Unfortunately, this depiction of social media is probably very true:

socialmedia

Check out these stats: (Taken from What Would Jesus Post?)

  • 98% of Americans between the ages of 18-24 already use at least one social media site.
  • Over a billion people – about a seventh of the world’s population – have Facebook accounts, and the average amount of time that a Facebook user spends on the site is more than 15 hours every month.

Do you get an idea how large the “stage” could be upon which we can virtually “yell?” I picture each person with a social media account on a platform with a bullhorn yelling out their thoughts, opinions, causes, complaints and quotes. If they have many friends/followers and people who actually pay attention to them, there is great power.

Like me, you can have friends you’ve never met in person. You can know that your friend in California is surfing, your acquaintance in France is brushing their teeth, and your next door neighbor’s car just got stuck in a snow drift, all in a 20-second glance at Facebook.

“Never before has virtually every person on the planet had an opportunity to communicate with every other person, let alone in real time, through text, images and video. … It is only relatively recently that the technology became ubiquitous and mobile enough to insert itself into our daily social lives and interactions with friends. But in a few short years it has already reshaped the way we engage in even those basic activities…” [quoted from What Would Jesus Post?]

You can choose how you act, what you say, and how you use your communicating power to influence others in virtual spaces. Are you using your powers for good? Are you loving God and loving others in your online spaces?

And there are the harder questions about motives of your heart when you post.

But for this post, take a few minutes to consider the power we’ve made and given ourselves in setting up our virtual stages as we perform (or at least let everyone in to our lives) and watch others in their performances as well. (My husband is right…social media has taken over the former soap opera craze. Except now everyone can play a role!)

Join me as I plan to explore some of these things about social media more in-depth over the next several weeks.

Ephesians Chapters 1 & 2

What Would Jesus Post? by Brian D. Wassom :: A Review

 

 

 

WWJPbook

This is a short but thought-provoking book that outlines seven principles Christians should follow in social media. It contains eye-opening statistics and ways the average person, as well as big companies, use social media. The author concedes that the market was lacking resources to point Jesus-followers in the way social media should be used, as defined through a godly lens.

A spin-off of the popular What Would Jesus Do? question, Brian Wassom decided to ask “What Would Jesus Post?” Although our use of computers and social media is light years removed from when Jesus was on earth, Brian does a great job using Biblical wisdom to guide us as to how we should utilize social media. Brian gives a set of guidelines that might be similar to what Jesus would have used if social media had been around when He was on earth.

What Would Jesus Post? caused me to really stop and think. Being a blogger, I write in an online world and I use several social media platforms to connect with people. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and one from way back called ShoutLife. Each outlet has it’s own feel and purpose and is used in different ways.

Have you ever stopped to think about why you’re on social media? Is there a real concrete purpose? Or is it just because everyone else is? When you are on your social media profiles, do you post random thoughts, something funny, or pictures of your kids? Those things are fine – I do those things, too. But have you ever considered purposefully using those platforms in ways that Jesus might?

I won’t go over all of the seven principles now, but something to think about is not only conducting our off-line lives by the Great Commandment, but also using it in our online interactions. The Great Commandment is in Matthew 22:37-39, “And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.”

Love God and love others. Social media allows us to be connected to more people than ever before. We can influence people’s lives and decisions more than ever before. It has potential to give us power. The thing is we need to use our powers for good.

Would our friends know from our posts that we are Jesus-followers? (Understandably, we don’t need to constantly quote Scripture or start debates to let our Light shine through. But is there enough “evidence” that we are different and believe different than the world does?)

Are your interactions with other people online filled with love? Are you kind and understanding?

We are in the world, but we’re not to be of the world. It’s okay to be on social media like the rest of the world. But we don’t need to use it like the rest of the world. Brian ends the book saying that although technology may change, “God’s desire for how we should live our lives does not change. …let’s be discerning of the effect it [social media] has on us and on others, and be intentional in using it to live like Jesus told us to.”

This book was really insightful and impactful to me. I enjoyed taking a different and intentional look at the way I should be using social media. It has made me stop and think before posting things. And it’s given me new ideas on ways to be intentionally connecting and interacting with people online. I’m going to be writing a series of posts over the next few weeks, taking a closer look at some ideas from the book and ones it’s given me. I hope you’ll join me!


(Note for those subscribed to the blog via email: I’ve changed the frequency with which you’ll receive posts. It’s set for twice a week delivery, no matter how many posts I put up. I’m considering even just once a week. It’s set for part of the most current post to be on top and the next five most recent posts listed below that – click the titles to read the ones you want to read. I don’t want to litter up your inbox.)

{Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”}

Ephesians Chapters 1 & 2