2017 is almost here. That means it’s time to think about resolutions for a new year. I know you’ve made a thousand resolutions in the past, and I know you’ve broken many of them. Still, I think personal reflection and new resolve to do better are good habits to cultivate. To that end, I want to “think out loud” about a few of the resolutions I need to make.
Resolution: I want to control social media, rather than letting social media control me.
I suppose one solution would be the cut off your hand approach, which in this situation would involve getting rid of all social media (this blog, Facebook, Twitter). Honestly, I suppose we should all be willing to cut off social media for the sake of sanctification. At this point, however, my goal is to control social media, rather than being controlled by social media. Here’s my plan:
- I will be extremely slow to post anything negative on social media. This slowness will especially apply to negative comments about my community, businesses in my community, organizations in my community, and people in my community. I’ve had bad food at restaurants, long waits in pick up lines, and rude customer service at retail shops. None of those problems are unique to me, and none of them will be solved with a negative comment on social media. These impulsive posts only hurt real people, while making me look childish and petulant.
- I will not use social media when I should be focused on real people. This doesn’t mean I don’t care about digital relationships. It just means I need to do better when it’s time to engage in a face-to-face relationship. Meetings at work, meals with friends, and time with family are all situations where social media needs to take a back seat to face-to-face relationships. For me, this might mean leaving my phone in my pocket and silencing all notifications more often.
- I will not allow social media to be a mindless time filler and time waster. A while back I read some statistics about how often people check social media and how long they linger on social media. Personally, I know I can improve in this area. I’m still going to see what my people are Tweeting and posting about. I’m still going to “like” your family pictures. What I want to avoid is the default “check-in” on social media simply because I have a spare minute. I have better uses for that time.
- I will be extremely cautious about engaging in debate via social media. This includes debates about religion, church, politics, controversies, community, and even sports. The real issue in all of these debates is that a social media debate is too flat. There’s no context, no subtlety, no nuance, no tone, no body language, no wink to go along with a stinging comment. The result? Usually just misunderstanding and hurt feelings, with no one convinced that they were wrong in the first place.
Those are a few of my resolutions with regard to social media. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for how we can control social media, instead of being controlled by social media.
Originally published December 5, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.