I just attended a historic event and have so much to share. But as an introvert, I am still processing, because there’s so much to reflect upon. This weekend, I noticed something that has been happening for several months, however, this time it struck me differently. So, first, let’s talk about how we treat one another and communicate, specifically on social media.
While social media has been a blessing in my life because it’s been a way to connect with friends and family from all stages of my life, I’ve seen how it can be an unproductive nuisance.
Here’s some food for thought as we continue to use the technology we have for good. (Precursor: Everything I share with you I am saying to myself. I write posts knowing I am the first (and sometimes only) person to read and be encouraged and hoping that others will find encouragement, too.)
- Use your words wisely. Words of hate ring louder than words wrapped in kindness and open mindedness. Even if you disagree with something, how are you responding? Is it possible to share your disagreement without spewing horrible language? The former shuts down conversations and relationships, while the latter creates opportunities to continue the conversation. I don’t say this as a cliche, but I truly think about how Jesus might respond if he were in the situation. (See 1 Peter 3:15)
- Pause. Before responding to someone else’s post…Pause (say a prayer) and ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I know this person?
If not, then maybe it’s not worth it. We have to decide for ourselves what conversations are worth having and which ones are not. If we are feeling reactionary and defensive, we may regret our response.
And if so, can I talk to them in person about this? Social media makes us bolder to write whatever we want and often it is miscommunicated because it is void of the emotion and non-verbals we can experience in person. If a face to face conversation is not possible, send them a private message. Take everyone else out of the conversation and show them that you care enough to talk in a separate space.
2. Is this worth my time?
It’s usually pretty clear what’s worth reading and what just wants to suck up your time when you are online. Choose wisely what you read and respond to.
You might decide commenting is the best decision. We often broaden our views when experience and stories are shared.
- Consider other platforms for sharing your voice. If you have something to say and someone has to press the “see more” button to read the whole post, more than likely they won’t. We live in a world where 140 characters or less define our information gathering. While Facebook allows us to use more words, it’s not meant for us to write more than a few sentences. Blogging provides a platform to write longer posts, think ahead and edit, edit, edit. We all have voices and important things to say. If you also have an audience then you have check off all the boxes to start a blog. And, most starter blogs are free!
I will be doing more pausing in my interaction on social media starting now. I will be focusing on connecting with friends, encouraging those around me and receiving the same. I am thankful for the platforms that have activated passions I did not realize I had. My challenge is to expand my understanding of how I can act with compassion, kindness and respect. I pass that challenge on to you as well.