Responsible Social Media

I am a fan of Facebook.  It has allowed me to connect with former classmates, former students, and family in ways that I would never be able to maintain.  I would not be able to respond to the joys and sorrows they experience via mail, or even email. First, I would have no way of knowing what was happening in their lives, unless I was in regular contact with them, but secondly, even if I knew about a significant moment in the lives of my friend and family, how often would I take the time to write a note or send a card?  Through Facebook, I can, within seconds send a word of encouragement, celebration, or support (if I saw it in my Facebook feed). Fortunately or unfortunately, when people sign up for social media accounts, there are very few rules that need to be followed.
 
When new technology is introduced, there are always pros and cons.  This is indeed the case with social media.  Social media gives us the opportunity to interact with people instantaneously around the world.  We no longer have to wait for pictures from a great trip being enjoyed by our family or friends.  But, we are also not limited in how we respond to, or interact with, people we know, or are friends of family or friends, we may not know.  It would be wonderful if social media included rules like:
1) Use supportive or encouraging language ONLY
2) Cannot be used to belittle or demean
3) Cannot be used to "bait" people with opposing views
4) Opposing views can be posted, but only with respectful language
5) Bullying is NOT permitted!
 
I am only a user of Facebook, Instagram, and occasionally Snap Chat, but there are certainly many more social media brands, like Twitter.  Lately, social media has taken front and center stage in the news.  The example of social media in the news has certainly not been healthy.  It has been used as a venue to make threats, to throw tantrums, and to be mean.  As much as I believe Jesus had his frustrations, he always seemed to be able to find a way to treat people with dignity.  Did he challenge people? Of course!  But he had no intention of making anyone feel less than a valued human being.
 
Do we want to challenge people today? Of course we do!  But we must also demand that people be treated as valued human beings!  Let us not use social media as a place to bully, bait, or mistreat people ourselves, and let us demand the same set of expectations from our fellow users on social media.  It is a call to action!
 
~ Eldonna Hazen
 

Posted on July 18, 2017 at 10:37 am in Featured Content.

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