This third of three articles on the ubiquitous Facebook social site was originally published in the online newsletter Best Practices for Adventist Ministry. Although it was designed to keep ministers out of trouble when using the social site, there are things in this article that can be applied to all of our sharing. – Rodney Walker
You all know that Facebook has amazing social influence. Facebook and other social media venues have the ability to build relationships, and also destroy them; to tear down friendships, or build them up. I’ve met a lot of people with life-changing testimonies about how a single post, a 140 character twit or a status update, has had a significant influence in their lives. Bible verses, quotes, testimonies, prayer requests are everywhere found within the Facebook aquarium. Yet, as pastors and leaders, we need to be aware of the communication distortions Facebook creates, or we will be distorted by them.
First, many of your “friends” will confuse your timeline wall with who you truly are. That would be a terrible mistake for their part. Yet, you can not prevent that from happening. Second, Facebook smoothes our self at home, work, office, soccer field into a single generic extruded product. We know that life is not as straightforward as a Facebook timeline. It has many more facets than that. Finally, Facebook conveys a precise stiff, crude prototype of what people are. It herds everybody into the same oversized room with only one kind of relationship: friendship. We need to have these three distortions in mind before tapping the “share” button on our IPhones.
I do believe that just as social media has the power to destroy, it has the power to create and empower. The results of our relationship with social media depend totally in our hands. In the end, it will be a part of our lives whether we want it to be or not.
Though Mark wants you to share, I suggest that pastors need to carefully and thoughtfully care what they share for it is easier to cope with a bad conscience than a bad reputation. To paraphrase the preacher of Ecclesiastes, “Better is a good reputation than”… a pretty timeline.
Share and Enjoy