This is the final post in a four part series exploring the Christian’s approach to social media. Over the previous three weeks we have considered both the dangers and benefits to using social media and I shared my thinking for whenever I come to use social media. This week we will end with four brief tips for using social media.
As God continues to mature me spiritually I am quickly learning how pervasive prayer should be in our lives. While going to a weekly prayer meeting at church, or setting aside particular portions of your day or week for extended prayer are good exercises, prayer should not be limited to this. Rather, prayer should be something which is natural, familiar and common in our lives; something which takes place frequently.
I think that we should pray before creating social media profiles/accounts. I don’t think we should be asking God should we have an account (because I think we are unlikely to get a clear answer for that question), but rather we should pray that God would give us wisdom as we use it and see fit to bless our witness through social media.
However, even more than that – we should pray before we post things on social media. This is not an hour long prayer meeting, but a simple pause to consider and ask God’s blessing. Of course if we pray in Jesus’ name we will not be praying for things we shouldn’t be on this front.
Our use of social media would be much more edifying and honouring if we prayed about it.
The second tip is closely connected to the first tip; stop and reread what you are going to post.
This simple and practical step will aid against some of the dangers we mentioned in a previous post. Speed is one of the greatest dangers with social media, but pausing to read what we have written immediately restrains the speed with which we can use social media.
Perhaps even ask someone else to read it before you post it (especially if it is something more substantial than a tweet). This kind of practice will help us avoid causing offence, hurt, and division and protect us from damaging our witness.
Thirdly, and perhaps as part of rereading our posts, we should always question ourselves about what we are sharing on social media.
The particular question I believe we should be asking ourselves is ‘why?’ Why am I posting this?
This question immediately goes to the heart of our motivation for using social media in all its guises. Do we post for approval from friends, or to gain more followers, or simply to vent our anger and make people listen to our points of view, or maybe we just want to post that picture to catch everyone’s eye and be the centre of attention.
So many selfish and sinful motivates can creep into our hearts without us even realising. Therefore, it is important for us to always question ourselves (this is relevant for all of life not just social media).
Finally, never ever forget the world is watching.
No matter what privacy settings you have on your social media account people from all over the world can see what you are posting whether you like it or not!
It is very difficult for someone to take our profession of Christ as our Saviour seriously when we have been posting pictures of ourselves in questionable places, or tweeting comments about explicit TV programmes that we’re watching, or sharing gossip which should not be shared, and so on and so forth.
Our social media personas must match who we are in real life – otherwise we are hypocrites. Remember that lots of people see what you post – the people you want to see it and the people you don’t want to see it.
For what it is worth that is my present commentary on social media complete.
There is much more that could be said and should be said, there are things I have overlooked on purpose and others that I have overlooked unknowingly. It is a topic which will need revisited as social media and the telecommunications of our world continue to develop. However, it is neither intrinsically good, nor intrinsically evil – it is simply the world we live in and as Christians we must use it for the glory and supremacy of Jesus Christ.