A Social Media Rule

How can we engage responsibly on social media?

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash


Introduction

In the long history of Christianity there have been many “rules.” These treatises of living have had profound impact in the life and ministry of the faith. From Benedict to Francis to the modern day, the “Rule” has been a means by which to order one's life.

Over the past number of months I have been thinking a great deal about my social media and how I use it. I have listened to and taken in the reactions of people in my life to how I use social media. Their responses and perceptions have helped to shape this rule.

Beyond that, I took some time to read through my “activity” on Facebook, approximately 13 years of social media usage. What I saw there has also significantly shaped this rule.

Finally, I hope by writing this out and publishing it publicly, I will learn to live by it. My desire is to live life to the full and to #LoveWell.

The Rule

As I practice this rule, it may be added to and updated over time.

  1. To engage in social media is a public engagement. Acknowledgement of the public nature of social media is foundational in my approach to its usage.

  2. As I engage in social media I do so as a representative of my tribe and community. How I speak and act necessarily reflects on all those who say they are part of my tribe.

  3. I will fail in my usage of social media. When I do, I must acknowledge that failure, own it, seek forgiveness when necessary, and then return to a right posture in the social space.

  4. I will choose to believe the best and have a gracious posture towards others who use social media.

  5. I will not engage in public debate via social threads. I will publicly request to move the conversation to a private space inviting those involved to enter into the conversation there.

  6. I will be loving, gracious, truthful, and merciful in my posting.

  7. I will freely post to time-limited channels, commonly referred to as “stories” and within closed groups.

  8. I will amplify the voices of others on my timelines.

  9. I will share my own longer form work on my timelines.

  10. I will seek to share personal and family accomplishments privately, in groups, or in time-limited channels.

  11. I will not troll.

  12. I will not participate in fandom via social media as this primarily leads to snark, trolling, and does not represent well my community or tribe.

  13. I will choose to communicate via long-form (blog or podcast or video) to allow for nuance in my thoughts and ideas.

  14. I will not respond with immediacy to headlines.

  15. I will seek to open channels of communication and relationship with those who are not part of my tribe and community.