It happened again. One of my Facebook friends began a post by saying, “I’m breaking my rule about political posts…” or something to that effect. I’ve done it. You’ve likely done it, too. You post something, or comment on something with the best intention (at least you think so) and then all h___ breaks loose in the comments section. Or, you read something and add your 2 cents to the comment section, and the responses are eye-popping. Whoa. Where did THAT come from?
It has happened so often in the last few months that I am creating my own set of “rules” for Facebook. Please, please – I’m not perfect at this by any means. I’ve made my share of bad shares and posts and comments. I’ve jumped in where it was none of my business. However, I think we can all do better, don’t you? After all, the people on Facebook are called friends.
True friends not only treat each other with kindness and respect, they treat their friend’s friends with kindness and respect, right?
Good stuff, right? Here are a few more personal filters that I am trying to apply.
- Before posting or commenting, have I considered my “audience?” I have a pretty big friends list. Sometimes I’m surprised by the comments generated by my posts. Friends will surface that I haven’t heard from in months – maybe ever. Most of us have people on our friends list that come from very different political, religious and philosophical viewpoints than we hold personally. If I’m going to post that comment or link to an article or blog, I need to be aware of how it might come across to the people I call friends and family. Not to say that we must stifle everything we post because it might offend someone. If it passes the THINK test, go ahead. Just be prepared – some friend or family member might disagree. Publicly.
- Before posting or commenting, have I considered my motivation? This one is a little tougher and takes some self-awareness.
Often when I read an article, post or blog, I have a visceral response. My thoughts go something like this,”OH! This is SO good.” Hit share. Do so without thinking.
“OH! So and so needs to read this!” Hit share. Do so without thinking.
“OH! This person is such an idiot!” Comment. Do so without thinking.
“OH! This is lie, or an exaggeration, or just plain stupid.” MUST SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT! (Because after all, I know everything.) COMMENT IN ALL CAPS TO GET MY POINT ACROSS. Do so without thinking.
“OH! This will convince ____________ that they are: voting for the wrong person/ have the wrong opinion/are stupid/should think just like me.” Post or comment. Do so without thinking.
- Here’s my test to see if any of the above are true of me:
- Do I feel my blood pressure rising?
- Did my lip curl as I typed? (This is a real thing. Pay attention next time you type one of those stinging responses.)
- Does this post or comment give the impression that I am smarter or superior than the author of the post or previous comment?
- Am I angry?
If any of the above are true, it’s probably time to go read a good book, or pray, or take a walk, or drink a cup of tea, or remember that I am not God. It’s time to picture that real person sitting beside me having a real conversation. It’s time to remember that they are real life, flesh and blood human beings – regardless of their political or religious views.
Let’s be kind to each other, please. Let’s treat each other with love and respect. Pause before you pontificate. Stop before you speak. Take your fingers off the keyboard for a minute before you type.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 The MESSAGE