Finding your way in a modern day, (Top Ten suggestions to follow for rewarding social media experiences from a biblical perspective)

Posted: December 14, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I have been relatively quiet for some time in regards to blogging, social media, texting and other modern forms of communication. During this time of quietness I have discovered a few things about our modern techno society and its social media use. Primarily we need classes on proper etiquette and social media ethics for today’s user. This has been on my heart very much as I have watched supposedly mature believer’s misuse social media. I am not against these modern ways of interacting and communicating. I participate and even encourage regular use. However, observations of improper use have led to the writing of a social media policy for the staff and leaders of riverwoods church (of which is my privilege to pastor). Believer’s, must realize that we are part of something larger than ourselves, (our local churches) and the larger body of Christ. There seems to be a disconnection between believer’s and being biblically responsible when using social media. When we are careless, and out from under the control of Christ and scriptures basic teachings on interaction with other believers and society, these avenues can cause a great deal of harm. Due to this, other dangers and improper uses, some are vehemently opposed to any modern vehicles of social interaction, stating they are only evil or bad and only lead to trouble. Just like any other tool they are amoral neither good or bad inherently within themselves. Just like guns or money it is the user that makes some things good or bad. By following a few simple guidelines and common sense social media can be a fantastic tool for good; such as, reconnecting with old friends, the ability to communicate needs and causes and the wonderful opportunity to get the word out about events, etc. Prayerfully consider my Top Ten suggestions to follow when it comes to social media.
10. Don’t air your dirty laundry. Please be careful to keep personal stuff personal. During difficulties you will be tempted to post something for everyone to see, looking for support in your distress, but, don’t do it. Contact someone privately or just post a simple message asking for prayer without going into details and naming names.

9. Never go for retaliation and vengeance against an individual or institution for others to see. Remember, you never look good when making someone else look bad.

8. Use caution when saying things from the safety of your home, office or cell phone that you would never be brave enough to say in an eye to eye public venue or face to face. This is a cowards’ way of doing things, not the actions of a mature follower of Christ.

7. Don’t write on someone’s public wall and ask them to message you privately. Everyone knows you just want to be seen doing this. Just go ahead and message them privately rather than trying to throw a stone and hide your hand with a subliminal message.

6. Stay away from personal agendas. I have watched great detriment to people as; personal axes have been ground, clandestine messages of personal attack, and unbiblical proselytizing of disgruntled church goers has taken place. I’m sure you have noticed when some people get upset with their church or pastor and others find out, they start blowing up their page. This is due to personal agendas rather than general interest in the people. If you’re the one being blown up with the messages don’t be naive enough to think you’re now the best thing in their life; because, they are not that interested, you’re just a tool to publicly display their un-forgiveness and hatred of someone else or their former church. The proper biblical thing is to encourage people to stay and work through issues becoming mature followers of Christ learning to work through disagreements rather than run.

5. Self promotion should be avoided at all cost. I am not talking about a business, church, products, teaching or information being promoted; never quit speaking up for good things. I mean just plain old self promotion. When you read some people’s post and it comes across that they think they are the best or the “only one” who could do something & their ability or their way is superior to others, stay away! In recent time, I have been sickened while watching self promotion and the gullibleness of others falling into the trap of stroking self-egotistic maniacs that only use people to meet their own need of approval and acceptance due to low self esteem. This goes two ways. 1. Don’t be a self-promoter, let God raise you up. 2. Don’t fall into the trap of a self promoter, they are only interested in themselves and they will use you; for approval, finances, to support their agenda, turn your back on long standing relationships with questions and criticisms (because they are jealous) looking to be #1. Please remember Jesus is # 1. Guess this comes from the pastor in me to protect people.

4. Don’t use it as a tool of acceptance and approval to stroke your own ego or pride. Two ways we do this, are, by liking everything other people post, and watching to see who likes what you have posted. If you like everything people post then you don’t really like anything, and if someone likes everything you post then they really don’t like anything. Sound a little confusing? Let me explain. Discretion about the post is not being used when someone likes everything, and without discretion how can they know if they really like something or not. Real cognitive thoughts about the post are not being applied, they are just hitting like, trying to be seen or looking for acceptance or approval. Acceptance, approval and recognition, are real basic needs but using social media to meet them creates a false and shallow sense of being loved.

3. Don’t be negative – Think before writing something you may regret later. It’s hard to take it back once it is in print. Don’t use it to say something to or about someone or something that you are to cowardly to speak to them personally.

2. Understand that a contact by social media avenues is not the same as a visit or a call. Be careful of using social media as a convenience, rather than doing the more thoughtful, meaningful, time consuming and difficult task of true personal interaction.

1. Use social media venues as a positive tool to connect, encourage, support and promote one another and the cause of Christ.

Bonus: For the professional that wants to be heard with credibility, realize that posting too much will cause you to lose a long lasting and far reaching voice of impact. People will eventually become numb and disinterested. Follow a few professionals that are successful in their field with a great social media following and take note of a few things. Notice they don’t fill their idle time with continual posting of one thing after the other (they’re too busy), they post meaningful info (not just ramblings) and you get the idea they are more of a listener than a talker; therefore, when they speak others listen (because they have something worth listening too).

I have been guilty of breaking many if not all of the above suggestions, but through quietness and reflection I am learning to be a leader in; “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil 4:8)

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