Social Media: Honesty Doesn’t Mean Discarding Civility

Written by Judy Rice on June 24, 2017

I think it’s difficult to argue that social media has become a place where many people just speak their minds with little or no discernment. It’s just too easy to be impulsive and then hit “send, unfollow, or unfriend” and people are truly getting hurt. Social media seems to be operating with a different set of rules than the times when we had to actually wait to speak to a person or sit down and handwrite a letter. Now we can get back at, hurt, “indirectly argue”, or get “even” with someone in a few minutes in just a few lines and a send. We trigger some emotion in people when we like their posts or whether we don’t. No telling who is reading what and how it is affecting them.

People are all different. It might sound crazy, yet the more I pay attention, the truer I know it is. What we do and what we don’t do on social media becomes a topic of conversation from time to time. The “shares” go on and on in every day conversations. It is just too easy to jump to conclusions without all the facts and details on social media…. And we wonder why the world seems meaner?

I think most of the time we truly forget that there are human beings with real feelings on the keyboards, reading those screens and many, many onlookers. People have friends and family that are reading your posts and making judgments about you. Even only a few “shares” can potentially reach so many people. Many don’t actually hit the share or like button, but they are reading, judging and talking about your posts.

Nobody’s posts ever reveal every aspect about the person, just like one physical encounter or conversation wouldn’t either. Yet it seems that we tend to give each other the “benefit of the doubt” so much less on social media. What do our posts and/or our social media habits say to someone that either doesn’t know us personally or only knows a little about us?

Folks that rarely post…. You may as well know, you are probably being judged too for NOT liking or commenting. Some might even “unfriend” you for that one, as juvenile as that seems… It’s true. There is no stopping what others do or think, but we can control ourselves. It is about time we do just that.

I think it’s time we learn about how we can show a little more love and kindness on social media because it’s here to stay. What bothers me is how easily some “unfriend or unfollow” a person and expect them to understand why when they honestly don’t have any clue how they offended someone. It’s seems pretty unloving to me when members of our own families, church families, sports families, hometown families, etc., can’t tolerate us on social media. I know plenty of men and women that feel the same way.

How hard is it to scroll past something you disagree with? If you can’t get control of the “scroll past technique,” you probably shouldn’t be on social media at all. That probably means you are just too immature, undiscerning, intolerant or unloving and need to help yourself calm down or simply don’t use social media.

We all survived without it for years. It’s something I think that needs to be controlled and possibly prayed about. I know someone that actually blocked a friend because of too many dog posts! Time to grow up, right?

I make fun of social media all the time and for the most part take it pretty lightly because I know so many different people with different ideas use it. It truly is only a “snapshot” of a person or situation. I recently realized how seriously many take it. It really is only a glimpse of a person. I have “unfollowed or unfriended” inappropriately too… Later regretted it. If we want to show love and be tolerance on social media, I think it might be wise to really limit the “unfriend and unfollow” feature and try to like as many things as you can. Be very generous with the “like” feature especially when it comes to things like family pictures and things close to a person’s heart. Both men and women get hurt by this stuff.

Some of you might be laughing at this column, I might have too, a few months ago. I suspect we really need to think about our social media presence, then take control and responsibility. If this is only a glimpse of a person…. How do people see us on there? Are we being kind and tolerant? Did we “unfollow or unfriend” anyone that may be hurt by us doing that? I think it’s wise to give people the “benefit of the doubt” on this one. It will simply make social media a kinder place.

“Above all things have fervent love for one another, for LOVE WILL COVER A MULTITUDE OF SINS.” 1 Peter 4:8. Who can argue with that?

photo credit: f1uffster (Jeanie) Stupid Computer!!! via photopin (license)

Share if you agree there needs to be more kindness shown in the world of social media.

Judy Rice is the proud mother of teenage triplets, Jillian, Spencer and Derek and wife to Gary, one of the most loving, hardworking, honorable men in the world. She is a Christian who is a huge fan of traditional marriage, freedom, and is pro- life to the core. She has a Masters in Counseling from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelors degree in Communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before kids, she worked as a counselor, advisor and teacher at the university level. She clarified her world view in her thirties and believes her most valuable education continues to come from reading the Bible, reading in general, listening, paying attention and participating in meaningful communication wherever it occurs.