Think Before You Post

Social Media Means Forum Internet And OnlineThere’s something magical about social media. For instance, it’s magical that no matter where you are, you can post a message and instantly connect with people all over the globe.

But there is a part of social media magic that concerns me. Social media seems to magically get many well meaning people to forget their filter and communicate in ways that are unkind, unwarranted, and many times un-founded.

We can forget that we’re not just talking to a friend in private. In stead, there are a multitude of people listening in. They are people we don’t really know and people who don’t really know us. We would never go up to someone we didn’t know and unload angry, hurtful, opinionated comments face-to-face. But that’s exactly what we do when we choose to say such things on social media.

Social media seems to prompt a quick-draw impulsiveness, where whatever comes to mind gets posted, almost before we can think about it.

I want to encourage you and me to reclaim our filter and really think through what we post…before we post it! To do that, try filtering your posts through the following acrostic someone once shared with me. I think it’s a helpful way to evaluate what you’re getting ready to post. Before you post, T.H.I.N.K.

T – Is it true? It’s so easy to post something without checking the facts or without keeping it in proper context. Remember, even if what you post is true for you, it might not be true for everyone.

H – Is it helpful? Even if your post is true, it doesn’t mean it’s helpful. It may be true that your spouse looks fat in those jeans, but just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s helpful to say it.

I – Is it inspiring? Is what you’re about to post intended to lift up or tear down? Does it give others a charge to be better, or does it just give you a chance to vent. There’s nothing wrong with venting when you’re off by yourself with a close friend who really understands you and knows your heart. But venting to a few hundred of your not-so-closest-friends, who don’t really understand you or know your heart, is not helpful. It might make you feel good, but it’s not inspiring. It’s inciting.

N – Is it necessary? I know that many things we post on social media are not “necessary” in the strictest sense of the word. A picture of my favorite restaurant. A video of my cat high on catnip. A picture of my grandchildren. None of these are really “necessary.” But this is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about that post that could hurt more than it helps. I’m talking about that post that puts down more than it lifts up. Before posting such things, you really need to ask yourself, “Is this really necessary?”

K – Is it kind? There is enough unkindness in the world, both on-line and off. Do we really need to be adding to the unkindness? Shouldn’t we be aiming higher than that? Let your on-line presence be more of an oasis than a sink-hole.

I’m not trying to come off as Mr. Clean when it comes to thinking before you post, because I know I’ve had my share of posting before I think. I’m also not saying it’s our responsibility to police the millions of people posting to social media. But we can change us and our posts. Think of it as cleaning up our little portion of the social media world.

So THINK before you post. I can almost guarantee you’ll garner more respect and possibly more impact…both on-line and off.

Now let’s take this to another level…

It’s true that Scripture doesn’t speak specifically to posting on social media. But that doesn’t give us the freedom to say whatever we want to say on social media. The Scripture does speak clearly to how we are to communicate with others.

Col. 4:6 – “Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (NLT)
Eph 4:29 – “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be and encouragement to those who hear them.” (NLT)

Think about it. How would your social media posting change if you applied these verses to your posts?

This week, try running every post through the THINK filter, then leave a comment and tell us about that experience.

Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg

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