7 Tips to Help Christians Succeed at Facebook
For over a billion users, Facebook’s become an extremely important tool for connecting with others, while offering a previously unknown window into their lives.
What could it mean to succeed at Facebook? All a successful Facebook user should be able to do is:
- Be themselves
- Allow others to be themselves, too
Let’s be honest, for the Christian, it’s also important to communicate to our “friends” their intrinsic value without being annoying.
Here are 7 tips to help you succeed at Facebook:
1. Respect boundaries
There are those in the church who are afraid to be transparent. “If these people really knew me,” they think, “they’d judge and shame me.”
We assure them that we’d never do that . . . until we see them say or do something on Facebook we disapprove of—then we prove them right.
No one’s got it all together (not even you). You’re going to see people making comments or being tagged in images that are going to surprise you. I promise.
But here’s the thing, people are inviting us into their lives. Do you realize what an honor that is? Respect your boundaries and know when you need to mind your own business.
2. Go to the source
Occasionally someone will say or post something so questionable it’s hard to ignore. You’re really going to want to say something. If that’s the case, I would tell you to see tip #1.
I can’t say this with enough urgency, if you feel like you can’t mind your own business, then go to the source. Don’t bypass the poster and go to some authority figure or mutual friend and spread drama. That’s gossip and it’s ridiculous and destructive.
I’ve heard plenty of tales about people going to pastors, bosses, and parents and creating turmoil out of things that they assumed, took out of context, or misinterpreted. Don’t do it.
And if when you go to the source to get clarity about something bothering you, assume you’re mistaken. Don’t be careless with your relationships; they’re too important.
But seriously, as a spiritual discipline, try minding your own business or . . .
3. Don’t be afraid of hiding people
If someone is doing something on Facebook that’s annoying you and you’re struggling to love them as they are, hide them. Just turn their updates off in your feed. It beats the drama, and it’s reversible—unlike saying or doing something you can’t take back.
4. Be wise with your religious updates
You want to influence people? Let them get to know you and see your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. You want to annoy them? Post religious stuff constantly.
Be wise about what you share. When it comes to devotional content in a public forum, a little goes a long way. Be intentional and strategic.
I have a lot of Facebook friends who are not “believers” and I definitely don’t shy away from sharing my faith. And many of those individuals are my biggest proponents and advocates. Why? Because I respect them.
And whatever you do, please, please, please stop resharing those updates that guilt trip people into following suit. You know the ones:
“66% of you won’t post this, but remember what the Bible says, ‘Deny me in front of your friends and I shall deny you in front of my father.’ God saw you read this so you better re-post it.”
Heck, it makes me want to unfriend you.
5. Stop sharing hoaxes
People got bent out of shape when I suggested in an earlier post that it was often my Christian friends that seemed to believe and repost hoaxes in my news feed. I stand by the statement.
No reason to belabor the point, you can always read my original blog post here: 4 Reasons Christians Need to Quit Sharing Hoaxes.
6. Lighten up
This happens to me all the time. I’ll post something intended to be silly and someone will inevitably suck all of the funny out of the room with a hyper-serious response.
Dear Lord, lighten up. The world’s not going to fall apart if you don’t fix someone’s theology, moralize, sermonize, or admonish.
There’s plenty of opportunities to spread your wisdom around Facebook, but influence is all about timing. Too many people’s Facebook comments are more about coulda than shoulda.
7. Quit arguing
Do you know what’s more annoying than posting updates with the clear intention of starting a debate? Coming into my update and start arguing in the comments—especially when it’s with one of my friends you haven’t met.
Most of us at one time or another have had to private message a friend to apologize for our other argumentative friend who won’t let an issue die.
I have yet to meet anyone who said, “Man, that epic argument in the comment section of your status update really convinced me I was wrong.”
There’s a point when an interesting discussion is going south, know when to gracefully bow out.
Facebook needs people who exhibit a little more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
What suggestions do you have for Christians to exhibit more of these qualities on Facebook? Leave me a comment with your suggestions.