Social media; its influence on popular culture is profound. Even if you aren’t on it, your children probably will be at some stage. When I asked what ‘social media’ was to the students in chapel, one of them said “Seesaw” — and yes, this is the first experience our students have of ‘sharing their life’ in an online medium, albeit a safe one.
In chapel I shared with the community three questions I ask myself before posting anything on social media.
1. Is this post completely truthful?
Am I sharing something in an honest way, showing both the good and the bad. Am I showing the ‘whole picture’ or just ‘me with all my makeup on looking perfect’? One of the dangers with social media for both young and old is that it becomes a ‘brag fest’ where people and influencers only boast-post about their ‘best life’ not their actual ‘real life’ — ‘the good’ but not ‘the bad’, their hopes but not their struggles! And that’s disingenuous.
2. Will this post help others or just brag about me?
For example, if I post about how wonderful my Mum is, how will people who have lost their Mum feel? How will people who have a harmful relationship with their Mum feel? It’s worth thinking about this kind of thing, being sensitive to the experience of others and thinking about how we can actually help others on social media rather than just talk about ourselves.
3. Will this post brag about God/justice?
Whoa there! The Bible has a lot to say about ‘boasting’ ‘bragging’ and ‘showing off’ — most of it pretty negative (I challenge you to write those words into a Bible app search bar and see how many hits there are). The one verse I shared with students is Jeremiah 9:23-24 (MSG)
“Don’t let the wise brag of their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know me. I’m God, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are my trademarks.”
Even if you aren’t a person of faith, posting what is ‘right and fair’, championing ‘love that is loyal’ — these are things we all can do.
Pastor Stephen Abraham