To Tweet or Not To Tweet

bible reading challenge day 70Last week in our Faith & Technology series, we discussed Loving Technology Without Losing Touch.   This post described a few methods we can implement to encourage self-discipline over social media and technology usage. This week we are diving in to the topic of Christian social media etiquette. Say what?

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On Friday, the most hilarious incident happened to me in the grocery store.  While I was shopping, pushing my cart in a wide open area towards the front of the store, my shopping cart was suddenly hit head-on by a woman who was texting and driving her shopping cart, of all things! I was so taken back by the incident that I didn’t say anything. Just smiled. Amazingly enough, she also said nothing.  She looked slightly offended that I had interrupted her and continued her text.

And that’s when I began to reflect a bit more on the fact that perhaps we have forgotten simple social etiquette in the midst of the technology craze.  Not only do we fail to control our usage- we completely fail to respect others.

What if we used a few simple guidelines to show respect to those around us when we are using technology and social media?

So here is the practical list I came up with from a Christian perspective. I’m pretty sure you might have a few suggestions to add to the list. 😉 Here we go:

 to tweet or not to tweet

1. Be present in the moments of real life happening.

My brother-in-law told me a story of how he and my sister-in-law had dinner recently with a couple in a very nice restaurant. The entire time they sat at the table together, both the man and his wife were on their phones.  One was texting and working up a sweat on social media. The other was playing games.  I’m a little confused as to why they wanted to have dinner.  And so was my brother-in-law.  By focusing on their phones, instead of their friends, they missed the true blessing of being in the presence of one another.

2. Be courteous to others.

When I spend time with certain close friends, we are not offended at all with each other if our phones buzz during our time together. Most of us work from home or have a busy household; we simply accept one another and the phone interruptions as part of daily life.  However, in a more formal setting, such as Bible study, we don’t want our phones to interrupt the focus on the video being watched or the prayer requests being taken.  The point is: We must use discretion in social settings and simply be courteous to others.

3. Be engaged in the community where appropriate.

At my church, the congregation is encouraged to join in the conversation on Twitter.  I love this because it bonds the Twitter church community together.  Then during the week, we can tweet about the sermon together. Or we can remind one another of the power of that worship song from Sunday morning or Saturday night service. In this case, I say the answer to the title of this post is: to tweet.

However, there are churches across America who would frown at the thought of using your phone during the service. Their environments are not yet as receptive to utilizing social media and technology during the service.  If I were visiting one of those churches, my phone would stay in my purse, making my decision: not to tweet.

4. Be considerate of what you post.

As Christians, we should be careful not to post anything that would cause our testimony for Christ to be negatively impacted, whether on a blog, comments, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.   Essentially, no matter the medium.  This seems straightforward, but I think happens often.  Perhaps in the form of reading something we thought was funny and “liking” it on Facebook, but after a split second longer, we realized it was inappropriate.  Or writing a status that seemed to be justified in the moment, but a day later, that status appears as complaining.  Setting the guideline of posting nothing while on an emotional low would be a great way to keep this point in check.

To be continued next Monday… 🙂

Bloggers: Thanks so much for linking up! I love having you here each week.  Be sure to grab my button from the sidebar or you can copy, save as, and link the Faith Hub series button above.

AND I have a super fun Easter post at Tommy Nelson today (goes live at 10 am). Hope you’ll stop by there!

Have you witnessed any social etiquette faux pas as a result of misuse of technology or social media?  How do you feel Christians should handle this issue? I’d love your feedback in the comments.

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8 Comments

  1. I see my social media/technology soapbox is roomy enough for others! 🙂 I completely agree in the downfall of social graces due to being “plugged in”. I’ve been guilty of it, from time to time, permitting myself to believe that I have a real need for this communication RIGHT NOW.

    To “check for appropriate usage”, I think about what I would have done 10 years ago … prior to owning a cell phone.

    Funny thing: most of the “needs” don’t look like needs at all. They are “needy”. The difference is HUGE!

  2. I recently attended a biblical counseling conference; between sessions, the organizers chose to display the tweets related to the conference up on a screen. Because there were so many sessions going on simultaneously, it was cool to read the highlights of what other people were learning. When used in that way, social media is great.

    On the other hand, I see a lot of people using their “social media words” in very different ways than they would generally use their spoken words. We feel more comfortable saying unkind or negative things on social media that we would never say in person. One of the things that really bothers me is when people decide to slander local businesses or individuals on FB because of a negative experience they had (“If you were thinking of using such-and-such moving company, don’t…they are awful!”) That happened to me recently with the moving company and the owners of that company are friends of my husband and I. It was uncomfortable and really unnecessary to slam the company publicly especially if you haven’t finished working out the situation. I don’t think we would immediately think of that as slander, but really, that’s what it is.

  3. There’s just no way I could tweet during a church sermon. I am not very good or fast with typing into my phone and the sermon would be half over before I even got one tweet out, lol!

    Also, for me, it would be like talking during the sermon, I would miss much of what the pastor was saying because I’d be too busy paying attention to what the others were saying about the sermon and formulating my own response. So it just wouldn’t work for me.

    Thanks so much for hosting today!

    1. Great point- I guess God gave me some fast fingers. 😉 I have to say that I don’t look at what others are tweeting during the sermon; I tweet quotes from the sermon or lyrics from the music. But I do look at the hashtag at some time during the week so I can see others’ perspectives on the message.

  4. Thank you so much! Your blog is such an encouragement to maintain a Godly attitude. Not only are you a source of encouragment, but you also provide a source for a larger christian community.

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