In conjunction with a series of devotionals for GraceNotes, I’m writing a series of three blog posts on the topic of Social Media. Here’s Part 2…
Social Media Part 2 – Post to Social Media With Care
When posting something to social media, make sure it’s something you don’t mind everyone seeing. You may not have hundreds of Facebook Friends and Followers, but remember that each one has a network of contacts that they might share your post with. Even if you post something and later decide to delete it, it’s possible that some or many have seen it, have read it, have reacted to it. Have you ever tried to “unsee” something or “unhear” something you wish you hadn’t seen or heard?
Here are some simple common-sense and common-courtesy guidelines for choosing what, why, and how you post and share on social media:
Tell the Truth
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. (Ephesians 4:25 NLT)
10…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 ESV)
Social Media loves political posts! Have you noticed that in matters of opinion, especially opinions about politics, social issues, generational issues, and the like, much of the posting is done by sharing memes, cartoons, quotes, and news headlines about issues and individuals. We saw this pattern develop prior to the last national elections. It tapered off slightly between election seasons, but it’s starting to ramp up again now.
Many of the posts shared are negative—that is, they are attacking a person, a party, or a policy. However, relatively few of the most negative posts shared are actually true! Some, even many, of the posts shared are slanderous. They often consist of false headlines, false survey results, false videos, false accusations. Statements made in these memes are often so ridiculous they don’t even pass the simple “Common Sense” test!
For a while, when these posts would show up on my Timeline, I’d do a quick fact check on Snopes or Politifact or Allsides and comment with a link to the facts and history of the false post. What I quickly discovered is that no one thanked me for pointing out the truth! The poster or some other commenter would reply, “Everyone knows those fact-checkers are slanted to the left (or right).”
I’ve done enough research on legitimate fact-checking sites to know that the problem isn’t the bias of the fact-checker site. The bias is in the person who has decided, “I’ve made up my mind! Don’t confuse me with the facts!” By the way, I still fact check. I just don’t frustrate myself trying to present the facts to folks who don’t want to know!
Try This: Since Snopes is probably the best known fact-check site, go to Snopes.com and search “Is Snopes biased toward the left or right?” Take five minutes to read the comments on that question. Then make your own decision.
There are a couple of reasons it’s important to me that we “Tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God” in our Social Media posts:
- Lies are sourced in darkness. Lies keep people in the dark, including the people who originate them, the people who pass them along, and the people who consume them.
- The truth is sourced in light. Truth may be hard to hear and painful to process, but it’s the only thing that leads us to light and freedom.
- Passing on lies, whether intentionally or not, destroys our credibility. I’m a Christian, so I have a stake in the reputation of other Christians, whether or not we’re of the same brand, or of the same political convictions. So when Christians pass on opinion posts that are false, slanderous, and often created in a meme factory in Eastern Europe, it reflects on all Christians. And this is not a time for followers of Jesus to throw away our credibility. We’re gonna need it soon!
- My advice: If it doesn’t pass the basic fact check, don’t post it! And block the organization that originated it. Your credibility as a truth-teller is more important than the “Zing” you get from posting!