Sharing is good. Or at least that’s what we were taught growing up, right? As kids, we were encouraged to share our toys, our time on the swing, and our Goldfish snacks. (If you have siblings, you can definitely affirm the value of sharing.)
But sharing takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to the wide world of social media. It’s fascinating that, as children, we grasped so tightly to what we considered valuable. We wanted to share only when and with whom it was comfortable. But now, as technology-driven individuals, it seems there’s an unhealthy comfort in sharing the most intimate details of our lives with the world.
Sure, there will be many thoughts, feelings, and moments in life worth of sharing. But before you open the feeling floodgates online, consider a little user discretion. Here are a few important factors to help you set some solid boundaries in the world of technology.
We all love the opportunity to vent. And venting can be a healthy thing. However, social media is not the best venue for releasing steam. Always consider whose eyes are watching your feed. Without even thinking, you could scar or damage relationships. You can even lose your job because of this. When someone makes you angry, the best plan of action is to pray for the person. And trust me, you’ll be humbled in the process.
HOW TO LOSE A GUY (OR GIRL) IN 10 DAYS
We can all admit to having butterflies in the stomach for that special crush. But do yourself a favor and don’t make it any more awkward for them by posting your feelings for all to see. If you can’t hold back the giddiness, try sending a direct message.
ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING
For the girls especially, babysitting can be a great way to make some extra cash as a student. But always throw caution to the wind when posting photos, videos, or comments about your babysitting adventures. Families tend to check up on potential sitters by watching their posts. And nothing could be more humiliating than losing a job (of any kind) because of a Facebook post or tweet.
CRAZY, STUPID LOVE
Relationships. Oh, how we love to be in the know about who’s dating who, who broke up, and who’s in a “complicated” situation. But this subject is one that could use a lot of discretion. Before you boldly announce your relationship status to the world, make sure you’re ready (and that you’re not gonna break up next week).
Pictures are fun to look at on social media sites, but there’s nothing more stereotypical to poke fun at than self-photography via bathroom mirror. (Guys, this one seems to be the hardest one for you to grasp.) When it comes to posting photos of yourself, user discretion is definitely advised.
Remember when Facebook statuses were short and (sometimes) sweet? Somewhere along the way, we’ve turned the simple 140-character-or-less tweet-style status update into incredibly long journal entries that often expose way too much information to the average reader. Not only should you be careful about journaling too much personal information to the masses, but also consider starting a blog for those long-winded status updates.
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
This one is for those guilty of posting controversial messages. Before you get overly bold with your political opinions, spiritual convictions, or feelings about sensitive topics, pause and think about who might be easily hurt or offended in your audience. Typically, no one will be converted to your way of thinking via public rant. Once again, consider using a blog or having real-life conversations about these topics. Your stance will often be best received that way.
MEAN GIRLS (OR GUYS)
Let’s be honest: No one is a fan of catty, mean-spirited attitudes–especially online. When you get those urges to publicly poke fun at someone on the Web, remember the Golden Rule.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA
Late night Web chats are common. But just like in the movies, creepy behavior can emerge in the darkness. Be very cautious in the conversations you engage in, especially with someone you don’t know well. If a chat conversation makes you uncomfortable, make a quick exit.
Whatever you do via social media, never throw caution to the wind. Use discretion, be wise, and make every opportunity to encourage others with your words and speech (see Colossians 4:6).
Adam York is a content editor for Threads. He served in full-time student ministry for five years after graduating from Belmont University. A Master of Christian Studies graduate from Union University, Adam enjoys using his talents at Lifeway in young adult ministry initiatives. Keep up with Adam via Twitter.