Social media users typically fall in one of three categories: 1) the poster, 2) the scroller, or 3) all of the above.
1. To the Poster
It probably goes something like this: your phone is always out ready to capture your dinner, the candid—or the fake-laughing candid—of friends, or the guy doing wheelies on a Razor scooter through the middle of campus. Some of you may have a caption come to mind while others may ask friends for a clever caption and hit backspace millions of times before the right words come together. However clever and brilliant your post and caption may be, is it glorifying to God?
On social media, put yourself in the best position to not let others assume where you are or have creative interpretations about the things you are doing in your post. Push yourself to be wise, edifying, and living above reproach before you post. You can be choosey; you can be picky. You probably should more than not say no. Assume that everyone (this includes your mom, your current employer, your future employer, and maybe even Andrew Hopper) will read what you write and see what you post on social media. Because no matter how hard we fight against its power, things can spread like wildfire in a matter of a second.
Some good questions to ask yourself before you post on Instagram or Snapchat: What could people assume by this post? Do people really need to know this about myself or the person I am posting about? What is my motive behind posting? If you can’t come up with valid answers to these questions, it is okay to say no and not post.
2. To the Scroller
How many times have you casually scrolled through social media today? How about in the last three hours? If you were to calculate the number of minutes you spend on social media either actively engaged or mindlessly sifting for entertainment, would it take up more than 50% of your day?
Scrolling isn’t just a time killer, it can also be a heart killer. As I scroll through my newsfeed, often I am tempted to see people doing seemingly more impressive things than me, more exciting things than me, things I wish I were doing—all while looking better than me. The sin of comparison slowly creeps in, and instead of being joyful for where I am in life, I start to want something different; something I have conceived as better. Cultivating a heart of thankfulness for your present circumstances is not only a great spiritual discipline but can also combat the sin of comparison and the weight that others’ lives place on you. Lastly, there are apps that track battery usage for every app on a phone before the end of the day. It could be quite revealing where time gets spent on social media. If you think this is you, go ahead and download InMoment for iPhone or SPACE for iPhone/Android.
3. All of the Above
First, remember your identity. You represent Christ in a real way at all times both in the physical world and virtual world. Social media was obviously not present in biblical times. I can only imagine if it were, Paul would have included it in his warnings to the church because it is that big of a deal. It may not seem like it, but what you post and how you feel about someone else’s post communicates what you believe about who God says he is and what he says about you.
If you are a believer, most people that follow you probably know that you are a Christian, where you go to church, and who you hang out with. It may not seem like it in the moment, but you represent the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17). Secondly, be kind to your friends. Most people would not intentionally post something about a friend that could get them in trouble. In the moment it is probably innocent fun, laughter, and wanting to share that with others. It is good to remember, however, that they also represent something whether it is their employer, friends, or also the church and the body of Christ. Be a good friend and watch out for those you post about—put them in the best position so no one can assume about them or leave room for creative interpretation about their lives.
-Kristen Schleich (College Team)