Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Social Media and the Church Part 5

5. Public and Private Conversations

Over the past ten years, especially with the under 22 crowd, self revelation on social media and the web has exploded.  What many of us would never think of putting out into public is now very, very public.  Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have given a voice to those willing to share and bare it all.  Private conversations have become very public.  The media has turned what used to be proper news programs into a sad caricature of it's former proud self.  What used to be news is now just gossip dressed up with clever intros and discussions of some well thought of writer or commentator.  Shame, decency and privacy seem to be disappearing from the mortal souls of some.  Not all, but many feel it their God given right and duty to put it all out there.  No judgement here, just highlighting a trend.

For the pastor, the Christian and the church, there must be a distinction between public and private.  What we choose to put out there is up to us.  Managing many different outlets for our social media lives can become confusing.  There are some great products to bridge the gap between all of them, like hootsuite.  But for the most part, it's up to us to determine what we want to share with others.

Is it appropriate for our camp counselors to put picture of them out partying and drinking in college, when they are facebook friends with the kids they counseled at camp?  Yes, they should not be drinking in the first place.  An awareness of who is watching and being influenced by us must be one of the main priorities as we discover our guides for sharing.  Being a free country, and the internet is still free (not for long), it's up to every individual human being to decide what they share.

The Christian Guide For Sharing on Facebook, Twitter and everything else....

1. Be honest about your hopes, dreams and life
2. If you are living a double life, it doesn't matter what you post, people will know.
3. Share your daily faith experiences
4. Share relevant scripture passages
5. Share prayer requests
6. Lift up friends and others
7. Don't get too political, judgmental or rude- our message is one of faith, hope and love, not division.
8. Post as if you were telling the whole church on Sunday morning, because basically you are!
9. Don't be a creepy social media stalker
10. Glorify God in all things
11.  Humor in good taste is always appreciated
12. Ask others for advice.
13. Seek others opinions if you are struggling
14. Friend your pastor on Facebook, have them follow you on twitter (it keeps you honest)
15. Share your life story, especially about your family.
Finally, a healthy Christian in their heart knows what to post.

I hope that helps us better understand public and private conversations.  With the drive for more and more self revelation, my comfort zone will continued to be pushed.  Just make sure that in all you do and say that you lift high the name of Jesus Christ.

Go in peace and go with God.

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