Guess What? If it’s Online, It’s Live

July 8, 2010

I have over 1,000 friends on Facebook now and a growing number of Twitter followers. The world is much different now than it was even five years ago. We’re all social; we’re all sharing stuff with our little tribes. I don’t think this is a bad thing and these tools are incredibly useful in getting a message out to a wide group of people. Personally I’ve seen God use Facebook and Twitter to use my ministry to minister to people. That’s a good thing.

But there’s a trend I’m noticing on social networks that’s a bit disturbing. It’s disturbing because it’s happening among Christians. It seems that we’re becoming a bit too personal, a bit too expressive in our posts and tweets and blog posts.

We seem to have forgotten that if we post it online, its, well, online. And online means, typewritten somewhere, forever recorded, and well . . . public.

Imagine you’re standing on stage or you’re with a group of people. What would you want them to know and what would you express to them?

Put it another way. What if you were really accountable for your Facebook posts and Twitter tweets? Imagine that if someone came up to you at church or in your small group or at a family reunion and read out loud your posts.

Now all of us would be embarrassed slightly, so this doesn’t completely hold serve. And there is a certain social networking culture that lends to more expression, a bit more sharing. I get that.

But still, what we say online is public. Period. This is why I don’t understand people swearing, taking personal shots at friends, saying politically insensitive things.

For some reason, when we get behind a keyboard in the privacy of our homes, we feel so free, so unburdened, as if we can shout to the world and not have our words come back to haunt us.

I have news. Those words can come back to haunt. Employers scour FB posts and Twitter feeds and rightfully so. So do you want to be known as the loose cannon, foul-mouthed person, who is unstable?

And let’s talk from a Christian perspective. I’ve talked to several youth pastors who have said the posts by kids in their youth group have revealed a whole side to them; a side they didn’t know existed.

Who you are on Facebook isn’t some alternate creation of you that won’t be held accountable. That’s the real you.

I’m not saying to be fake. To put up some unreal version of you. I’m just saying that as soon as you hit send, you’re public.

Do those thoughts honor God? Do they edify your brothers and sisters in the church? And . . . will they come back to embarrass you later.

Something to think about.