Social media has impacted our world in profound ways, both good and bad! Some people love it and are even addicted to it. Others hate it and call it the end of our civilization as we know it!
I’m find myself somewhere in the middle.
I love social media for the ability to stay connected with family and friends and keep up on what’s going on in the lives of people I care about.
But social media has a dark side as well that I’m growing to despise more and more. Social media essentially provides everyone a blow horn to spout off about anything they want, whenever they want, and it provides them with a sense of “privacy” or “security” to say things from the comfort of the computer screens in their homes that they would NEVER have the courage to say out in public to someone’s face…even though the message still gets delivered to that person…who (and let’s not forget this because it’s important!) is a real human being…with real feelings…with a real family…with real children…who have to live in the same community with the very people who feel so free to be so mean and destructive with their words online.
I would like to make three simple requests for all of us who use social media:
1. Is it possible for us to disagree on issues in life, yet still be NICE to one another?
Remember what our mothers taught us? “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” At what point did we lose this common courtesy in our culture? I would suggest it has much to do with what I mentioned earlier. Because social media allows us to “communicate” without looking into the eyes of the person/people we are badmouthing, slandering, insulting, etc., we feel much more liberty to let the darkness in our hearts flow through the keyboard and out into the public conversation.
2. Is it possible for us to make certain that we have all the facts before we fly off the handle and speak to an issue?
I am amazed at how fast some people will rush to judgment and weigh in on a subject that they truly know nothing about…that no facts have been established…that no context has been provided for…that they are so clueless about, yet that lack of facts won’t stop them from providing their own version of the storyline to fill in the gaps that exist. And by the time the real story comes out, it’s too late. The damage has been done. People have been hurt by nasty words and accusations that all came long before the full story or details were known.
The Bible says in Proverbs 18:13, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” God’s Word also admonishes us to “… be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)
Whether you believe in God or not…that’s just good advice right there!
3. Is it possible for us to use social media to spread truth, good news, positive and life-building elements on a much greater scale than lies, rumors, gossip, and negativity?
What is it about human nature that we love to hear and spread negativity so much more than we do positive things? I would challenge you to ask yourself, “Do I use social media to contribute more negative or positive elements into the public conversation?” And, if after being honest with yourself, you identify a much greater pattern of negativity coming out of you than positive, what does that say about who you are becoming as a person? It might not be a bad idea to start working on some of your own character issues instead of lobbing online cheap shots and hand-grenades at the very people you just might run into at the grocery store tonight.
Just a thought!