Mindful Social Media

Be careful what you choose to post and share

I want to share two of my cardinal rules for thriving on social media.

I read a post today about the dangers of Snapchat and a key to the argument was information taken from an almost 4-year-old post by blogger Adam McLane.

In that post, McLane sounds the alarm on some of the problems that plagued Snapchat at the start, mainly its use as a sexting platform.

But Snapchat has grown up since then, something McLane himself pointed out in January 2016.

While being interviewed by an 8th grader about Snapchat,McLane said, “Is your data secure? Yes, it is more secure now than 3-4 years ago. Is it safe for a teenager to use? I suppose that’d be determined by what you were doing with the app, what you were posting, what was being sent to you, etc. I would argue that the vast majority of Snapchat usage at this time is normal social media usage for teenagers.”

McLane continues to warn teens to be careful online — sage advice for all of us — so I want to share two of my cardinal rules for thriving on social media.

Everything Is Public

You must assume that nothing you post on social media is private, no matter what settings you use. The very foundation of this form of electronic communication is sharing — the ability for a piece of content (photo, video, text) to go viral and spin around the world in a heartbeat.

My Rule 1 has always been this: Never post anything on any social media platform that you wouldn’t scream loudly from the top of the courthouse steps with your grandmother standing next to you.

Every time you hit send, you tell the world a little bit about yourself. What is it that you are saying?

Never Share Anything Without Research First

Social media platforms are designed to make sharing easy. With one click, you can amplify any message that you find and we all tend to share messages we already believe.

Unfortunately, that makes it easy to turn social media into an echo chamber. We share what we believe and we ignore what we don’t, until our social media channels do nothing but reinforce our preconceived ideas.

Even if those ideas are wrong.

Rule 2 is this: Never share anything on social media without first completely reading it or watching it and always look to verify the information.

I once saw a well-known bank official share a news story critical of President Obama. I will never forget the “news story” contained a quote from a dolphin.

When you share someone else’s post you are telling the world something about yourself just like when you post something original. Make sure you are saying the right things.

We Are All Creators

Before social media, the world was separated into two groups: People who created content and people who consumed content.

The vast majority of people were content consumers. They watched TV, listened to the radio and read books and newspapers, but they themselves didn’t make videos or write essays for the public.

That has changed. Everyone who posts on social media is now a creator and with that power comes an obligation to post responsibly.

God gave us a guide for what we should think about.

Philippians 4:8 reads: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

I can’t think of a better guide for what to post.

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