Social media is a great place to be “the real you”. No inhibitions. Just be yourself. That sounds great and nice but it is not the whole truth. I am not saying that you should fake it or pretend but the same modicum of moderation that you exhibit in other facets of your life should be applied here. Many have lost jobs, appointments, reputation by one careless moment on the net. Some feel they can hide their identity, but in these days of hackers and breakers, anyone can get behind and get whatsoever information that he/she wants.
Christians are expected to be moderate people. Paul said that our moderation should be known to all men. We are also expected to be filled with wisdom and our words, tweets, texts messages should be seasoned with the very life of God. The book of Proverbs is filled with wise sayings and etiquette on how to handle information and also how to deal with people; relationship wise. The twenty-first century has not made The Word of God obsolete because The Word is still timely and timeless.
Though this write up is targeted to people of faith, its wisdom applies to all. The moral of this story is simple. Be careful when you are on the net. Things can be tracked and most importantly; the internet does not forget. It remembers and some things can embarrass you at moments you least expect. There are etiquettes on social media; written or unwritten. There are some trends I have found and I want to say a thing or two about them. Here are tips on some that I have thought of:
- Forwarded as Received is Not an Excuse.When you forward things, it means you believe them or the stuff forwarded reflects some of your beliefs. Simply put, you forward stuff that you deem fit to be read by others. That is what you readers think. Think about it, have you forwarded conversations full of rake and libertine images to your kids or conversations filled with invectives? You don’t because that is not your way. Please fact check and consent to whatsoever you are forwarding. Do not forward stuff that will make people question your morality, integrity, sanity, reputation and faith. It is that simple. As my sons would say, “Dad, I can do it. It is easy pizzy, lemon squeezy.” You also can do it, because it is easy pizzy, lemon squeezy. QED.
- Retweets Are Not Endorsements: Easier said than what people think about you after you have retweeted. Why should you retweet stuff that you are not comfortable with? You are not under compulsion to retweet or like a tweet. So, when you say it is not an endorsement, it makes one of us think of you as schizophrenic. You get my drift. Retweet what you can stand up for. You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand this. Simple. Easy, pizzy, lemon squeasy……Another QED.
- Always Fact Check Information Before You Broadcast. I can’t say more about this. Remember the Ebola and salt incident? Medical doctors were spreading the salt solution stuff. Also, the stuff that Buhari is going to Islamise Nigeria? Or the NIV is a demonised Bible. Waoh! Unfortunately, we spread this news like God sent it to us. There is something that seems to be omniscience and competes with the place of God these days. It is called Google. Please use it whenever you see or hear anything and you feel like spreading it. Fact check on the internet. Use Google. Google it. Ecclesiastes 10:1 says something instructive. Let me break it down in the Easy English Bible Version. A jar of perfume soon has a bad smell if there are even a few dead flies in it. So, one with silly thing can destroy the good things that a wise man has done.
- Watch the video to the end before you send it out. I hardly watch videos sent on social media groups (WhatsApp, Vine, Twitter etc.). This is because, most times, people just send stuff out without watching it themselves. It is like recommending someone that you do not know. Except you are someone that I can trust with social media communication and usage, I will not watch the video that you sent to me. It is the only way for me to protect myself from seeing junk. I have been hurt once and so I do not open myself to another episode. Please watch that video before you send it out. Don’t put others in awkward positions. A great way to forward videos is to write what the video is about after you have seen it to your intended audience.
- Be Careful of the Jokes that You Circulate Around.Some are downright offensive. As Richard Wumbrand, author of “Jesus on the Jewish Road,” (one of my favourite Christian books) once said that there are jokes that you laugh to and the Holy Spirit will depart from you for a season. Again Ecclesiastes 10:1 to the rescue: Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour; so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
- There is a World of Difference between Opinion and Knowledge. Think about it. Yes, there is a difference and I am not the one to tell you that difference. During the last Presidential election, I heard things from people I held in high regards and shuddered. We had reasons to side whosoever we took as our candidate but to run them down with unproven fabricated lies was way down below. It was beneath us as Christians. From my experience, especially with people in public office, I take most comment and hearsay with a pinch of salt. I have met people who report matters as they were there but they were kilokitres (as Zebrudaya would say), from the venue. They just circulate hand me down beer parlour stories. We all have opinions on things but let us not circulate them as if “God saith.”
- Stop the Alarm.In Christian circles, I see more alarmists than believers. We just circulate things. Oh, see what they are doing to us in the North (some of those grotesque pictures have been shown again and again), see what El Rufai said. Ah, they did not employ me because I am a Christian (this same person speaks with tenses that are at war with each other). Many of us ran away during the last elections. You prayed for peace but believed violence will engulf the nation. And when our false alarm showed itself to be false, we returned home in our droves. Many say …. let us pray o. And they the send the alarm ringing. Please let us behave like educated and spirit filled people. Another translation says of Ecclesiastes 10:1 still says: One dead fly makes the perfumer’s ointment give a rancid stench, so a little folly can outweigh much wisdom.