Article by Tammy Tate // EEW Magazine Tech Trends
According to Proverbs 2:11, discretion is a good thing. The Bible says it protects and guards you.
But in our social media-obsessed world, over-sharing on the Internet is an everyday practice. Here are five rules to help you avoid common TMI blunders.
Rule #1: Wait before you post.
Impulse-posting is a no-no. So many people have lost jobs, relationships and opportunities because of dumb spur-of-the-moment things they have written online. So here’s what you do. When something happens and you feel compelled to share it right away, wait a little while.
Just like it’s a good practice to think before you speak, it’s equally important to think before you post. If you give yourself some extra moments to contemplate what you say before you say it, you may be inclined to change your mind.
Rule #2: Don’t type things out publicly that you need to talk out privately.
Untold numbers of people avoid difficult face-to-face conversations, while feeling emboldened behind the screen to address those who have annoyed, offended, or angered them in some way. But throwing off at others on social media sites is neither healthy nor productive.
Posts filled with shade, sarcasm and snippiness may make you feel better momentarily, but will only make matters worse eventually. Twitter feuds, Instagram scuffles and back-and-forth insults don’t serve anyone—especially not Christians who are admonished in Romans 12:18 to live peaceably with all men and in Matthew 5:23-24 to reconcile with loved ones before offering any gifts to God.
Rule #3: Avoid posting when you’re feeling extra emotional or vulnerable.
On sad days, when you’re struggling with your emotions and the battles of life, it’s much easier to over-share. After all, who doesn’t enjoy venting to friends (real or imagined) in times of hardship to get a little relief and comfort?
But the Web is not the place to do that. Instead, pray about your situation, discuss matters with a trusted confidante, or wisdom-filled advisor. That way, you won’t disclose too much personal information with people that don’t need to be privy to your inner-most thoughts.
Rule #4: Avoid “me too” syndrome.
Have you ever read someone else’s super personal post, felt moved by what they said and were possibly even inspired to share something deeply personal, too? That’s the “me too” syndrome, where you do things because others are doing those things.
Sometimes, opening up in the right context can be helpful, empowering and necessary. But make sure you’re not copying others for the sake of copying them. Online behaviors should not be patterned after common trends, friends and family’s social behaviors, or cultural influence.
Just because someone else did or said something, doesn’t mean you’re meant to.
Rule #5: Be careful about weighing in on others’ issues and engaging in online debates.
This could have been the #1 rule, because so many well-meaning, would-be discreet social media users get sucked into over-sharing their opinions on others’ drama. Be so careful. You don’t always need to hop into someone else’s conversation or weigh in on the latest hot-button issue.
Just because you see something that riles you up and awakens your need to express your view, doesn’t mean you should do it. In that overly emotional state, you could overstep your boundaries, hurt others, isolate people and spout regrettable rhetoric. Weigh in only when necessary. And when in doubt, refer to rule #1: wait (and of course, pray) before you post.
In all things, even in matters of social media, seek the Lord for wisdom on what to share and He'll give it to you.
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