Twitter and Facebook provide huge opportunities to have conversations, to share ideas, to promote products and events, and to share the random thoughts of everyday life. Pam and I are realizing more and more, though, that we have to be super careful about our posts because they can be misinterpreted and misquoted.
Not long ago, I posted a comment about the number of tattoos on the Denver Nugget players. It was just a little late night sarcasm, but it prompted a lot of angry responses from people who also have tattoos. I regretted sounding judgmental because that is not who I am. Last fall, after the Cowboys lost an early season game, I made a derogatory remark about Head Coach Wade Phillips and a wise man in our church kindly corrected me. Since those two posts, I have tried to use a bit more wisdom and discretion in what I put online for all to read.
Since Twitter allows for only 140 characters, we often cannot fully explain what we are thinking, thereby leaving a lot of room for misinterpretation. Here are some rules I try to follow.
1. Don’t post about things that happen in the bathroom. Enough said.
2. Don’t post when you are angry or hungry, especially when you are both.
3. Don’t post stuff that points out physical or mental deficiencies in others.
4. Don’t post stuff about movies or songs that contain material that others may find offensive.
5. Don’t overhype an event. Promotion is fine, but hype is not classy.
I cannot tell you how often I have had to delete something I was about to post because it broke one of these rules. I have never regretted a deletion, but I have regretted a number of posts. I love social media and have made a lot of connections with people that I would have never met otherwise. Like any good thing, it can become a snare if we are not wise with its use. What are some of the rules you follow with social media? What are some of the mistakes you have made that the rest of us could learn from?
August 26, 2010 at 7:45 am
I liked your advice. Another one… only post nice things about your spouse!
August 26, 2010 at 8:16 am
Funny thing about tattoos…Leviticus 19:28 is the verse used to condemn them. The verse before it says not to trim your sideburns or beard – “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or clip the edges of your beards.”
The trimming of sideburns and beards, the cutting of flesh and tattoos were all connected with pagan rites. The Lord wanted the children of Israel to separate themselves from these practices.
I wonder of Revelation 19:16 is stating Jesus will have a tattoo on his thigh when He returns?
“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
August 26, 2010 at 9:58 am
Out of the heart the mouth speaks…or today, the hands type. these are good guidelines for healthy social interaction 🙂 Although, there can be a fine line between transparency and socially awkward.
Hope you’re having a great day, Brady.
August 26, 2010 at 11:10 am
Great comments…I recommend using the SEC (South East Conference rule): Only post things that STRENGTHEN, ENCOURAGE OR COMFORT…unless it’s a political blog.
August 30, 2010 at 11:24 am
Your wisdom and transparency are two of the main reasons I have subscribed to your Twitter stream. I readily agree with your 1-5 list, and offer a 6th potential personal rule:
6) Since there’s nothing new under the sun, I’ll always provide attribution & a link to the thoughts/ideas of others. Part of being personal and authentic is showing who influences you.
Tweet away, Brady! I’m enjoying the virtual connection!
September 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm
Thanks for this thoughtful post! I think the challenge most of us Tweeters face, is that they (we) are usually motivated to tweet by emotion–and then that same emotion gets them (us) in trouble. Yet, if we only tweet things we are dispassionate about, we risk being boring or even irrelevant!
September 10, 2010 at 11:13 am
Thank you for making these points, Pastor Brady! I so appreciate this wisdom. Several months ago- I wrote out a statement of purpose for myself and how I use social media so that I would have purpose and focus in using these tools. These are great tips to add to that! Thanks!