Social Media Wake Up Call

I have loved social media for as long as I can remember.  So much so, that my final year research paper was on the potential of social media to be a great means of communication for the local church. So much so, that I lecture on Social Media once a year at the Baptist Theological College in Joburg. So much so, that I manage multiple social media pages for multiple organisations. So much so, that I have multiple accounts on multiple platforms and, for a season, was considered a “Social Media Influencer” by two top PR Companies in South Africa and was invited to events I should never have been part of, in order to create a social media hype.

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I still love the potential of social media to bring people together.  But I’m seeing very little of that. In fact, recently, I’ve seen very little positive.

I guess it all started during a social media disaster a few months ago that I was indirectly involved in (indirectly in that I managed a social media page for a particular organisation linked to a particular person). This experience caused Tam and I to take an evening out (it really took a whole evening) to go through our social media and up our privacy settings, remove Seth from things we didn’t feel he should be tagged in, and block certain people. For a few days I felt “safe”.

But the heart does not thrive on that which is safe  – the heart thrives on that which is healthy, good and pure. 

My wakeup call, a few weeks later, was this: For me to enjoy a social media component to live, it has to be both safe and healthy. My calling has always kept me fairly ‘public’  (not ‘brangelina’ public, but public none the less).  My adult life has always been spent, for the most part, behind the microphone of a radio station; the camera of a youtube channel; the stage of a church; or the classroom of a school.  I speak. I lead. I have opinion. These always get me into some trouble (either because I’ve been wrong, or because Millennials tend to not enjoy opinions that go against their own) and often result in a fair amount of judgment.

I wrestled with this fairly seriously for a few days and came to the conclusion that, for me in this season of life (I prefer to make seasonal decisions as the future is as uncertain as man’s opinion) I should use facebook in two ways:  Through my facebook page to share inspiration, life, scripture, teaching, ministry and more with people who want to hear what I have to say; and through a private profile where I will share the more private details of my family life with a handful of the most trusted friends and family (by small, I mean smaller than the average whatsapp group).

So a few weeks back I painstakingly deleted about 1800 Facebook friends (many whom I didn’t even know – go figure) and encouraged participation in my page. This is my journey – one that I believe works for me.

But this post is about so much more than that – it’s about asking you if you have taken time to evaluate your social media presence.  What do you portray? How safe is your profile? How much does what you read on your stream dictate your mood?  How do the opinions of your ‘friends’ who comment on your posts determine what kind of person you will be? Is your facebook profile a safe, healthy, good and pure space for you to be. 

If not – maybe it’s time you made some changes to your social media journey.

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