Social media can be viewed with a positive and negative lens. There are a lot of moving pieces: posts (images and text), high profiled people we follow, people we talk to in real life, people we don’t talk to, privacy concerns and blocks, tagging and filters. It’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole of posting and not seeing how our words and pictures can be misconstrued.
Our social media posts reflect our character, ethics and morals. While some people might brush off the impact and influence, their social media actually has – it’s definitely something to think about. Take a minute and be honest. Ask yourself:
- Are you portraying a false ideal about your day-to-day?
- Is your self-worth tied up in your posts?
- What would your grandma (or a stranger) think about your posts?
One of the best scriptures that relate to social media and the people using it is Romans 12:2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Before you get defensive, be willing to listen and see both sides. Social media doesn’t have to be a self-absorbed platform, it can be used for so much more. For what it’s worth, here is our two-cents.
Selfies are not a bad thing. Posting a selfie, when you’re having a good hair day or feeling cute, can be a great way to boost your self-esteem. Having your friends and family chime in with comments can be exactly what you need. But over sharing selfies can come off as being self-centered and obsessive.Take a look at your social thread, are you sharing too many selfies? Is your entire feed your own face? If so, think about the vibe you’re sharing. Yes, you’re unique and awesome but being over indulgent can turn people off. If all you have to share is your image, then you may need to do some work on yourself. Check in and see how you can focus on bigger issues. Don’t waste your energy on appearances. God made you who you are for a reason. Your selfie is yours and yours alone. Be empowered by the God’s gifts but don’t let it get to your head.
Are you posting about things that don’t really matter? Or maybe you’re commenting on posts and your words could be misunderstood. Your social media channel is a reflection of the person you are. A joke or harmless comment could hurt someone’s feelings or be considered offensive. Even though your platform is technically your unique expression, it’s important to remember how your actions can affect other people.
As a child of God, it is your responsibility to be a good person. Think about others before selfishly considering your gains. God created us as brothers and sisters. Even though siblings will disagree on occasion, it’s important to have good values.
Before you post something, check in with yourself. Could your words be offensive to someone? Are you being considerate of other people? Another self-check is determining whether or not you’d be embarrassed if your grandma or a complete stranger saw your post.
Even though we’re not supposed to produce preconceived notions about someone, it happens. We’re all guilty of doing it. You wouldn’t want to miss out on being friends with someone because they read your post and concluded that you have poor values.
Everyone loves a good filter. Whether it’s puppy dog ears or a better lighting option, we all want to look our best. But when is it too much?
Overused filters can be perceived as deceit. While you might think we’re overthinking the idea of filters, keep reading. Take this example. Someone posts a super cute outfit on social. You think, “That would look great on me.” So, you buy it. Then you receive it and the color palette doesn’t look anything like what you saw on social. You’re disappointed, right? The shade you thought you were buying was great but this one, not so much. Psalm 138:14 reminds us that God fearfully and wonderfully made you. He believes you’re one of a kind and perfect as is – unfiltered.
Now take that perception and apply it to actual human beings. Filters give a false ideal of someone. You were made to be you – not someone else. Own your individuality and embrace it. This is not to say, you cannot use filters but just think twice before using it. You want others to see the real you, not some computerized version. But, if you’re using puppy ears or something equally as cute – go with the filter.
The perfect meme-share can be absolute perfection. Maybe a friend needs to feel like their feelings are relevant or they’re having a bad day. A fun meme can be a way you can tell a joke without having to write a joke – some of us just aren’t that gifted.
There are other times a meme can hurt someone’s feelings or be considered offensive. Before you share or comment on a meme, think before you type a comment or press post. Is your friend enduring a difficult season, would they find this sarcasm hurtful? Or maybe an affiliation with a particular meme, could embarrass your friends and family.
Social posts are traceable and there’s always the possibility it’ll be shared – and then misinterpreted. Always consider outsiders, like your teachers or boss, and make sure your memes are not reflecting poorly on your behalf. Rule of thumb, avoid religious and political memes.
Opinions in General
Thankfully, we all have the freedom to say what we want. The reality is social media is very similar to a suit of armor. Essentially you can post whatever you want and, in many cases, people are increasingly vociferous because they are not physically present with someone.
Remember in the bible when Matthew asked why would an individual want the whole world if they had to lose their soul? Ask yourself, what’s the point of winning a point on social media if you don’t have friends (or a community of loved ones) to share your life with?
Fight the urge to add your opinion about sensitive topics and discussions. It’s truly for the best. When it comes to politics and faith, there are a lot of opinions – and people can easily get their feelings hurt. Remember that every social media post leaves a trail back to you. It can be very hurtful and make other people think you are not a good person.
Social media is a very new element that everyone uses. Since it hasn’t been around for a long time, there isn’t a lot of case scenarios you can use as examples. The end goal is to be authentic, genuine and true to your character. Avoid getting lost in the social media rabbit hole. Look for ways you can use less filters, post thoughtful posts and comments, and ways you can also lovingly communicate with your friends and family. Despite the bad rap social media gets, it’s not all terrible. If used properly, there are several ways it can make someone’s life better. And remember, God made you to because you’re one of a kind and He wants you to bring out the best in others.