Tag: social media

3 Questions to Ask Before You Post on Social Media

Recently, a friend of mine was waiting in her van to pick up her son at soccer practice, like you do when it’s summer, and you have kids and 99% of your time is spent shuttling kids to activities.

She idled there with the car running, two littles napping in the back seat, when suddenly she was startled by someone pounding on her window.  She had accidentally pulled partially into one of three handicapped spaces, waiting for her son to come to the car.  A mother with a handicapped child at home, didn’t approach her to question for better understanding, or respectfully point out her mistake, but instead, pounded and yelled repeatedly for her to move.

The offended mother then took a picture of my friend’s car with the license plate and posted it on Facebook, with publicly shaming remarks, a distortion of the situation, and no chance for explanation or apology. This escalated, with FB readers weighing in, suggesting all kinds of retribution against my friend who had made an innocent mistake.

So here’s what my friend did. After some investigation, she discovered the angry woman had a blog, so she read it all, trying to better understand her. She then wrote a letter of apology for her mistake, attaching some hydrangeas and a bag of peanut m&m’s (which she learned the woman liked from reading her blog), and dropped it in her mailbox.

The woman made it known she has no interest in talking with my friend, so that’s that, right?  I don’t think so. Who knows the pain this woman is carrying and how this small act of grace and peace-seeking may be a seed that will bear fruit in the future?

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

My friend’s experience is just one story – #ouch! Young, old, single, parent, retired… It doesn’t matter. Most of us navigate the mine field of social media on a daily basis. When we’re dinged we need to question for better understanding, and respond with grace. But what about our responsibility as posters?

What’s happened to civil discourse and respectful problem-solving?

 

Here are 3 additional questions we might ask before posting:  

  1. Is this helpful and constructive? Will this promote dialog and understanding, or am I lobbing a “hand-grenade”?

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Col. 4:6

2. Why do I want to post this? Is it coming from a place of hurt? need for attention? anger?

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23, 24

3. Would I feel comfortable saying this directly to my parents, employer, friends of a different faith or political party?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building othersup according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph. 4:29

Those are a few of my thoughts. What would you add?

You might also be interested in this post on “Crucial Conversations”.

 

 

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The Most Important Time to Unplug

Years ago during a long, snowy, Minnesota winter, our girls built a luge run over our deck stairs ten feet high, down through the back yard to the pond below.

As Maggie prepped for her initial run on a plastic sled, she asked John to stand at the edge of the pond and promise to catch her if she was going so fast that she might slide onto the ice which was thin.

John reassured her over and over again. No problem. He would catch her no matter what.

You can guess what’s coming, right?

Maggie zipped down the luge and flew right past her father’s outstretched arms so fast that he actually jumped back instead of catching her and into the slushy pond she went.

Shocked, scared, mad, betrayed, sad, wounded…WET.

We all have ice-crashing moments when there is a tumult of emotion and our first reaction is often to reach for a security blanket that may look like our phone, TV, or computer. 

If you’re like me, maybe you do this because our drive in emotional turmoil is either to escape or to vent.

However, ice-crashing moments are the exact time that it is most important to unplug. I write this because I experienced an ice-crashing moment last week and in the aftermath I learned some things about myself that may be true for you too.

Texting, TV, or social media is dangerous in emotional times because it:

  • Distracts from issues that need to be faced. I don’t think a Netflix marathon with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is always a bad thing at all, but if we don’t do the hard work of being still with God alone, we will default to emotion and letting unhealthy tapes play over and over in our head.

We need to look hard at the emotion and interrogate it. Ask where it is coming from. Where is the truth? What would the Enemy like me to believe? What is the most life-giving response I can embrace?

  • Demands that we DO something too quickly. The relentless 24/7 access to information, noise, voices tends to amp up our sense of urgency. There is a word in scripture translated “terrified” that is the Greek word, “tarasso” which means “to set in motion what needs to remain still”.

Betrayal + quickly written emails = disaster.

Anger + quickly posted tweet = disaster.

Fear + quickly posted FB warning = disaster.

When we stay plugged in we may be tempted to set something in motion when instead we need to remain still.

  • Distances us from Jesus. How often is my phone the first thing I reach for – to vent to a friend when I have an ice-crashing moment? How often do I put an electronic device between me and Jesus, thinking, I’ll get around to talking to Him at some point, but really I’m obsessed with strategizing my way out of the discomfort? My goal isn’t really getting His perspective, but controlling the situation instead.
  • Discourages us through comparison. Turning to social media after an ice-crashing moment will do one of two things. It will make us proud because we will see others who are much “losier” that we are, or it will make us feel defeated because EVERYONE we look at has it all together. Neither is a great option.

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My phone is my security blanket. The best decisions I made last week were the times I distanced myself from it and left it at home. Maybe that’s not true for you. Maybe it’s something else that needs to be unplugged or left alone when you have an ice-crashing moment. What’s your experience been?

Why I Love Instagram

I’m pretty cynical about social media these days. Facebook and Twitter, I’ll throw you a bone now and then, but you really make me tired.  But Instagram??? LOVE!*

I love Instagram because…

  • It helps me be pay attention to God’s everyday graces.
  • It is positive, and uplifting. No one is bashing anyone on Instagram.
  • It is a creative outlet. It gives space to communicate what we’re making, the environments that are moving us, and the relationships we value.
  • It’s visual and I’m visual.

For me, Twitter is mostly information sharing. Facebook is where I post links to the blog and try to affirm others, but Instagram feels like a smaller, more personal, more inspiring world.

I’m really picky about who/what I follow on Instagram. If you put up all pictures of your kids, friends, or family, I figure I’ll see them on Facebook.

But if you want some suggestions of feeds l like, check these out:

1. benjaminhole – the ebb and flow of farming life on the Isle of Purbeck, England

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2. wranglertoday – the Today Show’s puppy with a purpose. These pictures chronicle Wrangler’s journey to becoming a guide dog.

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3. earthpix – amazing pictures of places, people, animals, and nature

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4. thedailyst – The Daily Saint – “By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society.” These are pictures of people doing random acts of kindness.

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5. bobgoff – uplifting words and pictures from the indomitable Bob Goff, author of Love Does.

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6. usinterior – beautiful pictures from state and national parks

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What Instagram feeds do YOU like that I should check out??

*If ANY form of social media feels like too much to you and you just don’t want to go there, I get it! Good for you if this is a healthy boundary…one thing you want to say “no” to.

Soul Detox, part 2

Monday I posted on the challenge of of soul detox and specifically, the impact of social media.  For some of you this isn’t relevant and you can stop reading, but many are asking things like:

  • If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts about it has it still fallen ?
  • If I don’t post pictures of all my child’s “firsts” do they still have a chance to get into Harvard or will they be in therapy?
  •  WWJT*
  • How many cat pictures are too many cat pictures?**

This month, Andy Crouch, the editor of Christianity Today wrote: Continue reading

Soul Detox, part 1

So, Lent is over. All of you who have been fasting from chocolate or coffee are celebrating the return of All The Good Things. The season of entering into Jesus’ experience of sacrifice and cross-carrying, to the other side of Easter is over. Dark to Light. Death to Life. Winter to Spring. Vegetables to dessert (How lame are we, right?)

I was a little late to the Lenten party (so to speak), but I shared how I was trying to be intentional about being present to Jesus during Holy Week.

Part of that meant a social media detox – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – and also turning off the radio, because these are things I suspect can distract me from Jesus, and foster a less-than-healthy soul.

I thought it was going to be a terrible, awful, no-good, very boring week.

I was wrong. Continue reading

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

First of all, a huge “Thank you!” to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey this week!  I really appreciate it and look forward to learning more about you and how I can improve.  Today’s title implies that the post is just about marriage, but I think every living being deals with this issue…

On July 30th, husband John and I will be celebrating our 31st anniversary.  That’s a long time.  Longer than the Internet or Chicken McNuggets have been around.  A lot longer than Kim Kardashian’s three marriages put together.  A. Long. Time.photo-127

He puts up with me waking him in the middle of the night to talk about “things”, and I try to take his unusual compliments in the spirit they are given. Like when he says I look autumnal, or compares me to yogurt, or says being with me is as good as being alone.  What can I say?  Our marriage works.

However, like in any healthy relationship between two beloved riff-raffs, we still have issues.  Well, one issue.  One very specific issue. Continue reading

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Dear Comparison,

I’ve decided it’s time.  I’m breaking up with you.

No, it’s not me, it’s you.

And no, we can’t still be friends.

You seduced me by whispering sweet nothings in my ear about “better than”.  You flattered me with “friends”, “followers” or awards, “likes”, “favorites”…

But you’re a two-faced lover and now I see the real you.  Those sweet whispers easily morph into ugly taunts of “not as _____ as”.  Subtle accusations that lead to envy and discouragement and an unhealthy soul. Continue reading

Do You Have FOMO?

FOMO.  I just heard about this for the first time Wednesday morning on the Today show.  It’s an acronym that stands for the fear of missing out.  According to a new study, 56% of social media users have it.

FOMO is “a fear of one’s social standing or how one is perceived amongst peers, and a need to constantly know what is happening and what others are doing,” according to Elizabeth Lombardo, a clinical psychologist in NYC.

The study says, “The problem for people with a high level of FOMO is they may become so involved in seeing what their friends are doing and they are not, they often ignore what they are actually enjoying themselves.”

FOMO can cause anxiety, stress and, in more extreme cases, even depression…” she says.

  • Ever surreptitiously check your phone under the table’s edge in a meeting?
  • Perhaps you’ve walked into a lamp pole while checking Facebook on your phone? (This may, or may not have happened to me)
  • Do you check Twitter first thing in the morning before brushing your teeth?
  • Are you ever more present to Instagram than you are to your kids?
  • Have you been known to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s because you’re depressed by the wedding, vacation, or concert pictures someone posted?

What if our obsession with the lives of others, is causing us to miss our own life?

Continue reading

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