Friday, May 29, 2015

The Sting of Social Media

Okay, dear readers, I have to confess something. I'm both sad and a little riled up at this very moment. I was just celebrating the completion of a goal (albeit small) for today's word count and scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across a post. At this point I'm not going to go into any detail about the post, its subject, or even links to the other posts I viewed because it's not relevant. I can make my point without bringing attention to the very thing that upset me.

From Flickr by Ahmed Hashim
You see, here's where it all lands: Our words have power. 
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 
James 3:4-10
James talked about this very thing and, while we may not always be speaking things, their impact is just as great (if not greater) in written from. Yes, I'm also talking about Social Media. I know...I spent a whole month talking about this not too long ago, but I feel the need to approach it from a different perspective.

From Flickr by Caleb Roenigk
What are you saying? 

I mean really...when we post things on Facebook, shoot out 140 character tweets, snap that perfect selfie for Instagram, even pin things on Pinterest, what are we really saying with our words or pictures? Last month, I wrote a post for Putting on the New that I titled, My Instagram Life. I used the phrase:

Post with a purpose. 

I want to bring that back. Bring that here!

Two of the questions I recommended asking before posting were these:
  • What’s the purpose of this post/idea/shared article?
  • Who am I uplifting in this post/idea/shared article?
The type of post that "set me off" today was one that made a bold statement. Something that pointed to a certain "truth" and backed it up by an article from an angered writer who thought that they knew right from wrong in a situation without having the facts of both sides. Does this sound familiar? Because I feel as if I've just described most posts on social media ;)

From Flickr by Kevin Harber
Really though, at the heart of this all, I want to put out a plea to you, my trusted readers. Watch what you post. Ask yourself if what you're going to share is helpful or just kindling for a fire?

I won't say that I'm great at this all the time, but I do consider what I post and why I post it. I will say that, should I ever take a stance on something, it's directly correlated to the fact that I believe I have relevant, helpful information that is (at least to the extent it can be) unbiased.

What about you? 

Do you like to engage in verbal warfare about topics? Are you the person that will take a stand on Facebook or will you pass on by? Have you ever been persuaded by an argument online? Do you find your feelings are hurt/changed/swayed by online arguing?