Friday, March 28, 2014

Faithful Friday: Do I Look OK?

Communication is so not what it used to be.

When I was a kid you either talked to someone in person, over the phone, passed a note in class, or mailed a letter and waited weeks for a response.

Or, you had your friend do it for you.
Remember folded pieces of paper with:

 "Do you like me?  Check yes or no"

Most the time though you just handled things in person.  Face to face.  And normally, after one discussion, problem solved.  Sure rumors still got started, feelings were hurt, people misunderstood.

I want to go back to the days where the only miscommunication comes from playing an old fashion game of Telephone.

Or at least put the kids in that bubble.

Now, life is all about communicating in any form other than reality.  Let's avoid face to face at all costs...

Whether you're texting, tweeting, checking in, unfriending, or poking, the truth is people are sharing way more these days than we used to.  All that sharing is being done by children who haven't yet grown a filter.  And I'm not talking about the cool effects a Nashville filter brings to your photos on Instagram.

Although Facebook was created for college kids and the minimum age of use is 13, the truth is, there are lots of people (adults included) who shouldn't have one.  Or use any type of social media for that matter.

As a blogger, I'm somewhat hesitant to write anything negative about social media.  Yes, I use it and need it for what I do.  And yes, I have made mistakes too.  From the early days of taking surveys and not caring what my random answers might look like, to posting before I breathe when upset, I'm guilty of social media faux pas.  I'm human, I mess up.  But I learn from it - and hopefully I grow from it.

Now that I've been online a few years, I realize even more what a footprint you leave behind. As a recent job hunter, I know the Googling that is done.  And it made me ponder...

Who am I online?  What do I represent?  At a glace, do I look OK?

As a Christian, I feel an even greater sense to carefully consider what I write.  Not that I'm trying to be someone I'm not, just the opposite.  I don't want something to be misunderstood or taken the wrong way. What I say or do online could positively or negatively influence someone's day, opinion of the church, or most importantly their relationship with Jesus.

Having an online presence does not come without consequences or responsibility.

Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; 
keep watch at the door of my lips.  Psalm 141:3

Here's what I tell the kids, even if they roll their eyes.

Pause before you post.   
Even if you hit a delete button afterwards, your words remain in someone's memory forever.

Would you say this to a stranger?
If the cashier at Wal-Mart doesn't need to know you aren't wearing underwear today, then your friends online don't either.

Molly, you in danger, girl.
Sometimes common sense goes out the window when online, but your phone number and private info should never be public if you're under 18.  With the way the world is, you probably shouldn't be public period. Your friends should already know your number.

Come again?
If reading your status brings a Minion reaction of, "Whaaaaaaaattt?!?" then maybe you should rethink it.  Reword it.  Or better yet, just don't post it.  There will not be a cure for cancer found by posting that you're moving to Hawaii for 12 months or that you've just been arrested.

Do I know you?
Or better yet, would I know you in person?  Are you the same online as you are in the real world?
Would you say this post out loud, in person, to real people?

Can you walk away?
Is your hand permanently shaped to the form of your phone?  If you don't access social media for a day (or several) do you have withdrawals?  Do you say things in person that only make sense online?

How's your Witness?
I jokingly ask the kids all the time, would you do this with Jesus?  Would you listen to that song, watch that movie or tell that story?  Kind of an opposite of WWJD, but rather, would you be embarrassed or convicted if He were in the room?  Because He is.  If your gut is telling you not to do whatever it is you're about to do on social media...Don't.  Be the minority.  Be an example.  And protect your witness as a Christian.  

Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, 
Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.  
Psalm 19:14


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