Last 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?
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:
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… 🙂
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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.