Almost everybody, especially those living in the urban centers in the Philippines, has a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. Some have their own personal blogs and even websites.
But not everybody, including Christians, know how to use the so-called “social media” for God’s glory and purposes.
I am in no way an expert when it comes to matters of etiquette or decorum, but allow me to share my two cents worth on how a Christ-follower can bless others through the use of social media.
1. Be yourself.
Don’t use social media to pretend to be somebody you are not. Some people use social media as their fantasy world. I even know someone who introduced herself as a Korean singer (she’s a Filipina) on Twitter just to gain followers.
That, of course, is an extreme example.
A simpler and more common example of “pretending” is through plagiarism. In your tweets or posts, don’t plagiarize somebody else’s thoughts or quotes just to gain followers or “likes”, or to come across as more intellectual and thoughtful than we really are.
You don’t have to do that. You owe it to yourself to rise above that. Not because you are on cyberspace means you are not supposed to be real.
Integrity demands that our posts, tweets, blogs, and even reactions (“like”) represent who we really are.
2. Be gracious.
Do not be mean or rude to people whom you don’t like or are unlike you. Show honor and respect even with those you do not agree with.
Refrain from commenting negatively over every post or tweet you don’t like, especially on someone else’s wall.
We have a saying in Tagalog “walang basagan ng trip”. My best English translation of that is “never rain on someone else’s parade”.
If what you perceive to be something silly or petty makes someone else’s happy, just be “big enough” to be happy for them!
3. Share positive things publicly; leave negative things privately.
Social media is not the right place to vent your anger or frustrations towards someone or the world!
My rule is: Celebrate publicly; vent privately!
Somebody observed: “Every post or tweet is a cry for help” (Ptr Ed Lapiz). I agree.
But there’s a proper way to ask for help. That’s why there are more private channels like emails, text message, or even the private message button on our Facebook and Twitter. There are reasons why they’re there. Use them for that intended purpose!
4. Follow people back/respond to friend request.
Remember it’s called “social media” for a reason – it is a forum to socialize with others, even if it’s only through the medium of computers and/or the Net.
Don’t act like a celebrity and just aim to be followed or liked; leave that to the real celebrities. You and I are ordinary mortals simply looking for a good time and interaction on social media.
5. Never impose your faith on anyone.
If there’s one thing modern day Christians are so dissimilar to the Jesus they claim to imitate and follow is this – Jesus loves and like people, even those who do not like nor love Him in return.
Christians are anything but.
Respect goes a long, long way in winning a person to Christ.
6. Never be shy about your faith either.
Here is the balance to suggestion #5. Just as you give respect, expect others to respect your opinions, thoughts, and ideas about your faith also. No need to hide your faith in a closet nor sweep it under the rug.
We cannot represent Christ well if we keep our mouths (or keyboards) shut about Him!
7. Make social media a means, not an end.
As Christians, everything we do must be to glorify God!
I have a rule that I try to follow in my life – “no Facebook or Twitter (I don’t have an Instagram account and never will) without having my Bible devotions first!”
Of course it’s still possible to be addicted to social media even after you have done your devotions, if one spends an inappropriate amount of time on it.
I leave it to the individual what construes appropriate or inappropriate amount of time spent on social media.
Let me close with this Scripture
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us….” – 2 Cor. 5:20
Let’s represent Jesus Christ well, that those we interact with through social media will be attracted to Him!