When it comes to posting on social media, we have a choice to make. I encourage you to ask yourself these 4 questions before posting on social media.
By Will Odom, Contributing Writer (and Erin’s hubby!)
Social media – be it Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, blogs, or other numerous platforms – is a powerful medium in our culture.
It truly has changed the face of interactions between people, whether they be friends, family, or complete strangers.
We obviously love social media around our house. Our online community is awesome when it functions as it should.
As with many components in our lives, it has the power to do great good or the ability to do great evil. And with great power, comes great responsibility. (Yes, that is a Spiderman reference.)
When it comes to posting on social media, we have a choice to make. Will I choose to improve the world with my words? Will I speak life and encouragement? Or, will I add to the conflict to make things worse? Will I speak death and discouragement?
When it comes to social media, our society has a ginormous problem, and I’m talking Mt. Everest size.
I really think there are 4 main things we need to ask ourselves (myself included) before we post on social media.
Of course there are probably others, but I believe that these 4 would solve many of the cultural issues we have with social media.
1. Did I actually read the entire article before commenting or sharing?
This is fairly simplistic and should not need to be mentioned. It’s one of those common sense “duh” moments.
Yes, you obviously should read something before giving an educated opinion on the matter. (Please note the word educated…not emotional…but more on that later.)
You would not believe the number of people who just read the title of an article, make a judgement or assumption, and post their dissertation on how ridiculous the article is or why they disagree with it.
Sometimes they may read the first paragraph before beginning their rant, but it becomes fairly obvious when someone did not read an article.
At times, the article is read in its entirety, but basic reading comprehension skills are thrown out the window.
Now, I’m not saying that we cannot read something and disagree with the post. Of course, we will not agree with everything that we read, so we have three options:
- Ignore the article and move on to something else.
- Disagree with rude language and mean-spirited dialog.
- Gather our thoughts and type a civilized response.
Is it really asking too much to read something before commenting? And when you do decide to comment, can it not be done amiably with well-informed, rational thought processes?
2. Did I fact check what I am posting or just hit the share button?
This happens to be one of my pet peeves when it comes to social media.
It has become so easy to share misinformation or half truths just by hitting the share button.
We owe it to ourselves and our community to give information that is truthful and accurate and from a reliable source.
Sharing half truths or flat out lies does no good for anyone. It just creates further problems and divisiveness.
It seems that much of what I read on Facebook is just shared because it fits a preconceived narrative. Things are taken out of context or skewed toward a certain perspective and made to fit into a mold where they don’t belong.
I know it’s just so easy to hit that share button, but it really doesn’t take that long to check things out using a reliable source before you post it.
3. What is my emotional state before, during, and after reading the article?
Under the assumption that the article was read in its entirety (see #1), I need to stop and ask myself about my emotions before I post.
Am I having a bad day and just looking for anything on which to take out my anger?
Did the article invoke an emotional response?
Am I having a bad day and everything is rubbing me the wrong way?
If I do feel compelled to write an emotional response to an email or a post, it is typically a good idea to wait a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days before actually responding.
There are many times where I will type out my thoughts but wait to hit send or post. When I come back to them later, I often realize how irrational and emotional my words were.
Then, I can reform them with more clarity and thought to convey the message I want to deliver without all the negative emotion.
In doing so, I have often saved myself from saying things that I would later regret or causing unnecessary pain to someone else.
4. Am I considering the person on the other side of the screen?
As many have said, social media has given us a false sense of courage where anonymity allows us to say whatever we want with little or no consequences.
You do realize there are there are real people on the other side of the computer screen, right?
Some of them you may know personally, but others are merely online personas. Regardless, they are still people and should be treated with respect.
I often wonder if people actually speak this way to others in their face-to-face interactions, and if they do, I can’t imagine that they are very pleasant to be around.
We would all do well to stop and ask ourselves if someone were typing this to me and saying it to or about me personally, how would I take the message?
Have I put myself in that person’s shoes or thought about what they may be dealing with?
You may have a valid message to deliver, but if it gets lost in the delivery, it will not be received well or at all. Tone and many other nuisances of spoken language are often lost in written, social media communication.
The Golden Rule of “do unto others and you would have them do unto you” definitely applies to social media.
Social media has changed our world, and there is no going back. We can take the positive affects and leave the negative consequences behind, but the choices is ours to make.
What will you choose to do with the power that social media has provided you? I hope you will choose to speak life!