The question I asked in the headline is something I Tweeted out the other day. And it’s got me thinking more about that.
What’s your social media platform? It’s the combination of your social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, website, etc. It’s the sum total of your public persona, you might say.
Here’s another important question: if someone who didn’t know anything about you started investigating your platform, what impression would they immediately get? Would they think you’re a cynical, snarky person who gets their kicks from belittling others? Would they think you’re an angry political animal, who hates the “other side” and doesn’t see flaws in anything “your side” does? Would they think you spend every spare minute reading about celebrities, and that you live your life vicariously through them? Would they think you’re one of the mindless trolls who lives to get a rise out of others?
Plenty of people out there are trying to build a platform. That most definitely includes me. I would love to see this website and my Twitter and Facebook accounts grow. But how much do you want it to grow? Are you willing to do anything to see that happen? If you are, it’s not hard to get popular on the Internet.
If you’re a Christian, though, the stakes are different — or they should be. All your actions should have the end goal of glorifying God. But a lot of what I see on social media from Christians doesn’t do that. In fact, it would be easy for someone to wonder whether the Tweeter is a Christian at all.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t debate ideas. That’s perfectly fine. Nor am I saying we shouldn’t be passionate. I’m certainly a passionate guy. Let’s debate Calvinism with gusto! But when we cross the line into demeaning those who disagree with us, or purposely misrepresenting our opponents’ position (something I’ve written about before), we’ve stopped acting on our Christian convictions.
I see this more on Twitter than anywhere else, although it happens in many more places than that (I avoid sites like Reddit and 8chan that really sink into those bogs). I think a big part of the reason is that it’s so simple to fire off a Tweet. It’s much easier than writing a longer post on a blog, for instance. Because of that, far too often we respond in the most immediate way possible, in the passion of the moment, without bringing that thought captive to Christ. Then that thought, which springs from our sinful nature, is out there for the world to see.
Remember, the world is watching for any hint of hypocrisy in the Christian community, as it confirms their already low opinion of us. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, cynicism — these are the things we should be guarding against.
If we see every Facebook post as a chance to honor Christ, every Tweet as an opportunity to show the world that we are His disciples by our love, we could change the rules of engagement on social media. Or, at least our little corner of it. Shouldn’t we be distinctive online in the same way we strive to be in real life?
Make each Tweet, each Facebook post, remember the command of Jesus in John 13:34: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Are you loving each other as Christ loved you every time you’re on social media?
Let me know what you think in the comments.