By: Roshanda Pratt
Let’s face the facts; it can be a cruel and rather lonely in the world of social media. In 421 characters or less you can get on your soapbox, becoming a “preacher” of sorts to an online congregation. People type in that little status box, hit the share button without even thinking twice. After all, it is our opinion, right? Well, I have heard it said best, “Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one.” Most recently, a friend of mine left the “happy” world of Facebook. Her reason: it was toxic. How can that be? It’s not like your status update is not being shared with people you know, these folks are your friends, right? Well, not really. Especially if you are going against the dominating thought of the person who posted or commented in that little blue box.
On more than one occasion, I’ve heard the stories of people being “unfriended” by relatives or longtime friends because of a difference in belly buttons, I mean opinions. Most recently, a friend of a friend called me “a fool and ignorant” because of a comment I made about a politically charged situation. Even as I write this, I have thought about saying farewell to my list of one thousand “friends” due to the negativity and downright silliness of it all. Then I thought, wait, I knew how these people were before I accepted their friend request. It should come as no surprise to their lack of dissection, character and so on. I allowed them to enter into my world. I have experienced people break-up, make-up, fall-out, and air-out (their dirty laundry) all in the sake of a “status update.” I can tell you now most of those people were “unfriended.”
However, not everything is bad out here in Facebook land. For example, on my wall I solicited prayer requests. Emails from friend flooded my inbox. Ah, yes, this was a good day as the Lord gave me the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ. Facebook has also given me the chance to stay connected with my family in the West Indies without picking up the phone. Yes, I think we can all name at least one good which has come out of being on social media.
Another one of those things are boundaries. I have found it pertinent in this social media realm to set “rules” of sort to deal with people who really try to “test” my Jesus. Here are my rules:
- Pick your battles: Before posting, I ask myself the following: Do I need to respond to this post? Often times you have to consider the source, the person who posted. Are they attention seeking, trouble makers or ignorant.
- Hide and Seek: There is a cool option Facebook offers where you can hide a person’s post. If you are passionate about certain issues and to see a certain person’s comments cause you angst, right-click and “Hide” the comment.
- Avoid, Avoid and Avoid: I have decided when a political debate, celebrity death or any other big news story is happening, I avoid Facebook. NO matter how tempting, I do.not.log.on!
- Consider the Friendship: I take full responsibility for the people I call my “friends.” I hit the “confirm” button so I must take total responsibility. Earlier this year, I had to “unfriend” a relative after some rather vulgar posts. I decided I could not just hide her post, she had to go altogether. I don’t use profanity, tell dirty jokes, and the alike and I will not tolerate it in my news feed.
Ultimately, we must have a belief system and never compromise it. Since implementing I have been less stressed. Now, there are some things I rather do without, however, when someone breaks the rules, I am not afraid to stand up and speak. After all, this is my space and I have a right to protect it.
Let’s hear from you. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle the various personalities of Facebook? Please share.