I've seen complaints about what should or shouldn't be posted on social media. One thinks nobody should post controversial things. Another says how else are you going to affect change. I think we need to examine why we are on social media in the first place and that will tell each of us what we should post, how we should phrase it, and what responses to be ready for.
Just as our communication can differ depending upon who we are talking to, our communication on social media should reflect our PURPOSE for being there. Here are six rules for posting on social media.
1. Consider your purpose. If you're talking to a child, your critique of their drawing isn't appropriate because his purpose in drawing it was to bless you and your purpose in responding is to build up his self-esteem. If you're talking to an art student and you are his teacher, your purpose is to gently correct. VERY different communication is required for two very different purposes. The same is true for social media. Since social media is public, it can have a much greater effect than a face to face communication so it's of even greater importance how you communicate over social media.
2. If you are on social media to reach the unchurched, then it makes sense that you will have to connect with them there in order to do that. That means that your communication must reach them with the truth of the Gospel while not offending them. Memes or quotes that poke fun at the other side of the political aisle will not sway them to your side.
3. However, if you are on social media for business, you WILL want to connect with those who see a need for your produce or service. Your communication will necessarily have to be tailored to THEIR needs, wants and desires as it pertains to your company. If you are on social media to connect with others who are like-minded, you will find people more like you.
I'm on social media (mainly Facebook) for three main reasons: 1) to keep in touch with family far away, 2) to connect with people who can help me with certain life issues (homeschooling, health and business), and 3) to promote my businesses. My personal wall on Facebook is what grants me entry into the lives of my family living in other states. As a bonus blessing, I have found wonderful online friends I've never actually met in person. My Facebook fan pages are how I promote my business and I belong to several Facebook groups that help me answer questions about my health issues, homeschooling, and business concerns.
4. Always keep your purpose in mind when you post. We need to be careful to craft our social media posts by first considering our purpose. I may post the very same meme or quote on Facebook, but I would probably be careful to do so with a different choice of words on my fan page than I would for my personal wall or for a group I belong to. What might be appropriate for one medium on Facebook, might cause problems for me in others simply because of the way in which I chose to communicate the message.
5. Who you connect with depends upon your purpose. I've seen many arguments on social media. Some say you should NEVER "friend" people who are not Christian. Others say you can't reach the unchurched if you don't. I say you need to consider your purpose for being there and reach people for Christ in the way in which God has given you talents. If you have a gift for reaching the unchurched, you will probably want to accept friendships on social media who are not Christians and your posts would necessarily reflect a loving invitation to the Gospel a bit at a time. If you're on Facebook simply to connect with family, and/or you don't have a gift for reaching the unchurched via social media, you probably want to move your mission field elsewhere.
6. Don't let others dissuade you from your purpose. The idea that we all have to use Facebook or other social media as a platform for evangelism is dubious at best. Christians are all commanded to share the Gospel, but we are not all suited to do so in the same way. Some of us are well suited to do that on Facebook by sharing their lives with the unchurched. Others of us are better at doing that in person. Some of us are called to share their struggles on a blog or in person.
Social media is a deceptively difficult form of communication. On the one hand, it's available to all at all times. On the other hand, it is so easy for posts to be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
How do you use Social Media/Facebook?