I really do think social media is a gift to us. All things are from above, and yes God created the innovative minds of those who developed social media for us to stay in touch with people. Though it is not the ultimate form of connectivity, it can be used in a great way for influence. From Xanga to MySpace, from MySpace to Facebook, from Facebook to twitter, and from twitter to Instagram, we can stay in touch with pretty much the whole world with the scroll of a thumb, and the click of a refresh button.
That works both ways; the whole world can stay in touch with us. Isn’t that kind of scary in a way? Whatever you post, can be viewed by almost anyone. What you post screams out what’s going on in your life. From the white bench you took a picture of, saying “I think I’ll take a nap!”, to the picture of you without your shirt on at the beach shouting, “Look at my wash board abs, even the waves crash at the looks of them!”, to the selfie you posted while you were looking out at the mountains on a family vacation, it’s all viewed. And sometimes, when we start to care too much about it, it can start to own us. It becomes unhealthy. If we have the wrong outlook on what social media can really be used for, we’ll begin to take things too personally and start comparing rather than just using it as the gift that it is.
In part 1 of this post, I challenged the excessiveness of the selfie. In part 2, I want to get us thinking about the usefulness of social media for influence. Here is, I believe, the ultimate reality:
Social Media is an extension of you: I believe there are four P’s of social media that represent how we should view it and use it.
- Personality: Social Media should be a tool we use to express to people who we are, not what we are not. You can be who you are on social media. We can express ourselves however we want. I would encourage you to be who you are, not the guy or girl you’re trying to be. God made you distinct, so be distinct.
- Platform: Christians especially have a platform to make Jesus more famous than themselves. Pictures sometimes don’t tell the world “this is who I am in Jesus, he loves me for me!” Pictures sometimes show “I’m the point, my family is the point” or “Please tell me I am pretty” or “I’m ready for an argument!” If social media is a tool, how are you using it as a platform to point to something and someone greater than yourself? Are you sharing the mercies, graces, and love of Christ at times?
- Perspective: It’s ok to give views and inspire people the same way that you want to read views and be inspired by others. One thing I love about social media is seeing motivational posts, quotes, upcoming movie and music posts, etc. I also love to inspire people with my views as well. However, if we are to share our own perspectives, we must be able to accept that others will post theirs. Of course, you want to be careful with your views. Not everything is beneficial to post. I think it’s ok to challenge people’s thinking, but not to verbally shatter someone else’s view or personal life.
- Peace: Arguing on social media never solves a thing, and debates can disturb peace. Even if someone doesn’t agree with your perspective, you can have a conversation without “losing your religion”, especially when you can’t even understand someone’s tone of voice. I use to be the guy that would post things just to start something or tick someone off. I, for some reason, got a real joy out of that. How insane! But the moment someone commented on something I posted, I would go to war. I would encourage you to make peace, not madness.
If we can’t take social media out of the culture, we can surely invade it with a positive mindset. Between our personality, platform, perspective, and peace, I believe people can be and will be influenced by what we post. Maybe I don’t have to be self-infatuated, and can actually say “Watch Me!” because I actually do have something to say, and it’s worth reading!