I’ve been asked to be a part of a panel discussing biblically informed social networking. I can’t imagine what would make someone think I have an opinion on that subject. (cough, cough alittleoverconnectedmaybe? cough, cough) Anyway, I have been sent three questions to get me thinking about things before the panel begins, and thought, what better way to prepare for a panel on social networking than to blog my thoughts then tweet that blog?
I’ll answer them in three posts. Those posts might be consecutive. Or my kids might do something excessively cute which would, of course, taking posting precedence.
So here’s the first question: “What principles guide your use of social media?”
The primary guiding principle for all believers should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The question I have to ask myself on a regular basis is “Can I participate in the social media craze and still meet that goal? If so, what does that look like?”
The fact that I am currently as connected as I am means that Jonathan and I have answered the first question with “yes,” although some people we love dearly have reached the opposite conclusion and I respect them for staying faithful to that conviction. Where the rubber meets the road, however, is the second question.
Here are some ways that I try to glorify God and enjoy Him in the social networking arena.
- I say nothing in any forum that I would not say to someone’s face when passing at church or in the supermarket. Facebook and twitter are not the place to discuss differing theological views, rebuke sin or air family laundry. I haven’t always been good at this, but over the last 18 months have been intentionally changing my approach to facebook specifically.
- God has called us into family and church relationships. Social media does not replace those things. If I speak to people online, but never when I see them in person at church or around the neighborhood, I am sinning. The internet is *not* a community.
- Social networking is a tool.
- Just like I don’t use a hammer and pliers interchangeably, I try to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each platform and use them appropriately.
- I work very hard to use social networking, rather than these sites controlling me. I try to exercise the same level of moderation I use with food, alcohol and other forms of entertainment. When I find my facebook time rapidly accelerating (can anyone say “Words with Friends?”) I step back for a day or two and get some perspective.
In addition to these general principles, I also have some blog specific guidelines.
- I blog in submission. When I raise biblical issues Jonathan always reads the post, discusses it with me, and corrects me if the need arises.
- I want God to be the hero of the blog, not me or my kids. I don’t succeed, but it’s something at which I am working.
- Blogging is not my journal. It’s not therapy. It’s a public picture into my life and what God is showing me.
- I will never blog anything that my kids would be embarrassed to read in 10, 15, 20 years.
So there you go.
Do you have any guidlelines for your use of social media?