Social Media Missteps

March 30, 2022

When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable, but he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise. Proverbs 10:19 AMP

Those words were written many years ago by wise King Solomon, long before social media gave us so many ways to ruin relationships, tarnish our reputations, spread rumors and untruths, and cause long-term conflict and regrets.

Today Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and other rapidly expanding venues for social contact can be good ways to build and maintain relationships with people in your family, church, and community. But none of them are without risk. Every time you post, you risk hurting, offending, or distancing yourself from people. Social media missteps are generally mess-steps: They get messy and ugly fast.

To use social media without regret and take Solomon’s advice seriously, here are some suggestions:

  • If you are frustrated or angry, calm down and cool off before you post. Everyone gets frustrated. But social media is a very poor place to vent.
  • Refuse to criticize. Those “cloaked” posts that don’t name anyone but do show irritation and disdain make you look bad, and the chances are that there are a few people close enough to your situation to know who you are really talking about. Besides, who really needs to know how you feel? It’s not addressing anything in a helpful way.
  • Don’t embarrass yourself or your family. Assume everyone will see what you say. If it’s inappropriate it will go viral. Is it worth it to embarrass yourself or the people you love? Be sure to clear anything with your family that you think is funny about them before you share.
  • Don’t criticize others in the community. Don’t talk down businesses, churches, or schools. We should be known for our unity and encouragement, not division. NewPointe, we should never be known for criticizing other churches. God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. Talk more about Jesus than our church, and don’t criticize other religions.
  • Talk about other people and other causes, not just about yourself. Use your opportunities to spotlight others too.
  • Be vulnerable, not perfect. No one life is perfect, and if you act like yours is, you will be annoying and perceived as inauthentic. You’re not happy all the time, and you don’t have all the answers. You can be helpful without being arrogant or Ann Landers.
  • Steer clear of being the morality police. Social media friends are not perfect. Many of them don’t share the core values and beliefs you have. Don’t call them out and embarrass them. They will likely respond in anger. If you feel you must say something, and you are close enough to warrant it, do it privately and kindly.
  • Avoid preaching and pushing judgment. If you really want to influence people, they respond much better to love, hope, and kindness.
  • Watch your political stance. If you become more well-known for your political leanings than your commitment to Jesus, that’s a problem.
  • Stay away from debates. No one changes their opinions because of a social media argument.

Thumper the rabbit was no King Solomon, but he gave some good advice too. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Social media is a great opportunity to do something. Make sure it’s good and uplifting.