I have a love/hate relationship with social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook. On one hand, Iove being able to connect with people around the world. On the other hand, I hate how I’m tempted to live digitally and forgo real relationships.
Still, I continue to interact on Twitter and Facebook to share helpful information and interact with freinds. After some thought, I’ve decided to do by best to use social media under these seven guiding principles. I share them with you to provoke thought and in the spirit of accountability.
1. I will not complain. About how tired I am. Or busy I am. About how much something costs. About rich people problems. Complaining on social media will not change the world, and it’s not worthy of my time. It’s the enemy of gratefulness.
2. I will check my motives. I won’t brag on my kids just because I want you to think I’m a good parent. I won’t brag how far I ran just to make you proud. I won’t post pictures of my wife and I at dinner just to make you think my marriage great. I won’t say something just to stir the pot and get people to notice me.
3. I won’t name drop. Just had lunch with the @pope and now firing off an email to @andystanley. If I want to thank someone for meeting with me, I’ll send a note, not alert the world.
4. I will not retweet compliments. Matt Wilmington gives this challenge to pastors: Do not retweet any compliments on your sermon, service or book and then add “//thanks”. That’s a good word, Matt.
5. I won’t tweet about someone before imagining their wife, mother or kids sitting over my shoulder reading it. I would’t want to read harsh criticism of my name, and just because someone’s famous doesn’t mean they or their family are oblivious to hateful or sarcastic comments.
6. I won’t argue with strangers. Intelligent discussion rarely happens in 140 character sound bytes. This one will be the toughest for me, because, well….I like to argue.
7. I will not focus on people online when I’m sitting with people face to face. Whether it’s a meeting or a dinner, tweeting from my phone devalues the people in my presence. Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are – be all there.”
Some of these are going to be tough for me, but this is my Twitter strategy this year. Feel free to argue at me (#6) if I break one of my other rules.