Social media is an easy and powerful way to instantly connect with others. It can be an exciting avenue for sharing thoughts, ideas, and fun family photos too. However, these media outlets can also become a minefield of emotions.
 
They are often the first place we turn to vent our frustrations as well as engage in some pretty heated debates. Knowing that I myself can easily get caught up in the drama, so to speak, I felt the need to maintain some sort of accountability online.
 
That’s why I’ve come up with my own personal Ten Commandments for Social Media. Bear in mind these are not hard and fast rules to live or die by, but simply a guide to help me in my role as an ambassador for Christ.
 
Nevertheless, they are:

1.   Thou shalt not blow off thy spouse nor thine children. It’s no mystery that social media can take over every minute of our lives if we let it. What little time we do have with our family these days can usually end up on the backburner if we’re not careful. While social media is a great way to connect don’t neglect your most important relationships - the ones in the home! Taking simple steps like shutting off your phone during family time or leaving it in another room where it’s not so easily accessible can speak volumes to your family that connecting with them is your first priority.

2.   
Thou shalt not worship plugins. In more severe cases social networking can move from a simple distraction to a form of idol worship where all of our time, attention, and energy can be taken away from not only our family but more importantly our Creator. By neglecting our prayer time with God and the studying of His word we do so to our own detriment. Remember the first and second commandment of God’s Law and keep in mind who it is you truly serve.

3.   Thou shalt not feed the trolls. Go to your local zoo and chances are you’ll see the following posted near one of the exhibits: “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS”. The same principle applies to online trolls. Trolls have an appetite for discord and strife. Their main purpose online is to rope unsuspecting individuals into senseless arguments in which they feed off their responses. Whatever you do don’t throw them a bone. In fact, don’t be afraid to block them whenever possible then move on. But before you do pray for them first.

4.   Thou shalt give it a rest. Taking an extended break from social media is a good way to recharge and regroup. While solitude is good for the soul if the thought of being away from online friends and family for any length of time causes your motherboard to short circuit then try unplugging for at least one day a week. You’ll be surprised at how well your “fans” will have survived during your absence not to mention how restful you’ll feel after allowing your human CPU (brain) to shut down for a while.

5.   Thou shalt not read into thy neighbor’s posts. Ever come across one of your friend’s snarky posts and think it was meant for you? I don’t know what it is about social networking platforms but it’s all too easy for someone to misconstrue a negative online comment as being directed towards them. A person may be ranting about people in general and the color blue yet we think that because we’re wearing blue shoelaces they’re talking about us. Here’s a good rule of thumb, until someone confronts you directly about your blue shoelaces don’t even waste your time trying to figure out whether or not their remarks were meant for you. 

6.   Thou shalt save the drama for thy mama. Do you have an online friend who is constantly throwing out invitations to his or her own pity party? Better yet, how many times have you found yourself the party planner for this event? Although we should often express compassion to those in need, we ought to exercise caution as well in avoiding playing the supporting role in their very own theatrical release of “Woe is Me”. While sidestepping a friend’s online melodramatics may be necessary, a simple ‘poke’, ‘Like’, or even an encouraging tweet from time to time may show them that you still care and are not totally avoiding them. 

7.   Thou shalt not fake the funk. Technology platforms such as Facebook make it sometimes all too easy for self-aggrandizement. There has become a thin line between selfie and self-promotion. In the latter, we often fall into the trap of becoming whomever we want people to believe we are. It's easy to paint a rosy picture of our life online versus the reality of what is actually lived out offline. Rather than trying to be someone you’re not in order to impress some people you hardly know just be yourself. People will like you or they won’t, that's just the way it is. So build upon those meaningful relationships instead with those in your circle of friends who actually like you for you.

8.   Thou shalt not steal time. As noted previously, our online activity can become a serious distraction in our home life, but it can also detract us while we are at work as well. I don't know about you but I like my dentist to be fully engaged on the task at hand when performing a root canal. Not checking his Linkedin profile. Scrolling through our newsfeeds on social media while we are on the clock can not only be distracting but also considered stealing time from work, and therefore dishonoring to God. If you’re like the rest of the workforce and get at least a 30 minute lunch hour or are allotted a few 15-minute breaks throughout the day, use that time to catch up on all that you’ve missed since punching the clock.

9.   Thou shalt not talketh smack against thy virtual neighbor. Envy can strike the heart of even the best of us. If things are not going well in our own lives and we acquire a critical spirit it can make it difficult for us to share in the joy of online friends and family. Rather than rejoice with those who rejoice we can quickly turn to airing our displeasure about our friends publicly. Remember dear old mom’s sage advice from when you were a kid? "If you can’t say anything nice..." then it’s probably best to say nothing at all. The Bible reminds us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Pr. 18:21). So why not choose life?

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ profile page. It’s been said that discontentment is the breeding ground for deception. It’s human nature to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side. Truth be told, people are people, and things may not always appear what they seem. No matter how rosy a picture one might paint on their profile remember that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). So, before you yearn for another man’s life, stop for a moment and count your blessings, name them one by one, and cultivate a sense of gratitude instead for who you are and what you’ve been given.  
 
As Christ's followers we bear the name of our Master. As such, it's important to remember that people will either know us by our love or notice by our actions that we are no different than the rest of the world. 

It’s up to us to diligently reflect Jesus Christ with our online presence as His ambassadors before a watching world. And trust me, people are watching.
 
Run to win,
Den

Photo: Source

Published by Dennis Miranda