It is weird, this social media world we live in: where people we barely know are considered friends, anyone on God’s green earth can follow us, and we are encouraged to share our deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings with an audience of people thumbing through their phones while waiting for the dentist.
Let me be clear: there is a difference between honesty and over sharing. And let me also be clear: many of us cross it.
Honesty is shared from the heart. Over-sharing is managed in the mind.
And yes, we have free will. And yes, free speech is within our rights. But at some point we have to be willing to hold ourselves to a standard that stops violating good sense and personal productivity when it comes to our online life. And while some things are shared vindictively, on purpose, I’m convinced most over-sharing comes from a lack of fore thought.
We combat this by asking ourselves some good questions, first:
Does this sound crazy, elitist or rude?
Could I regret this later?
Has something just happened and I’m reacting to it?
Am I trying to get back at or hurt someone with my words?
Is this really about an issue I need to work through in my heart?
Do I diminish my influence by sharing this or cause people to assume things about me that aren’t true?
Am I posting this to get attention?
And not to be over spiritual, but because I believe God has mandated us, as believers, to be responsible with every area of our life, I would even add to the list: Would this please God?
The truth is, sometimes I will share things that hit me as funny and sometimes I want to share something that may inspire but that day I feel myself emotionally bankrupt. And maybe I keep some of the funny things to myself and on those days I feel small I won’t try to help the world but instead help myself by working it out in the quiet of my heart, privately.
Use social media to bring joy to others, as a fun and positive personal outlet, as a place to move people toward God, teach, encourage, inspire, not as some convoluted therapy session. Never use people as target practice. Try not to always make it about you. And remember Jesus followers: people are paying attention.
Just because we can share it doesn’t mean we should.
*Your turn: Which of the 8 questions do you find to be the most personally helpful?
p.s. Congratulations to the two winners of the Kathi Lipp book: Aimee and Sophia! Thank you all for commenting and sharing.