Perhaps the most remarkable advance in the history of human technology is the way social media can turn anyone into a one-person media organisation. This ability truly is as revolutionary as the printing press. Arguably the Reformation would never have happened if someone hadn’t published Luther’s 95 Theses and the books that spread the new Protestant theology.
There is no question that reputations can be made and lost online. An amateur sitting in their bedroom can appear to be as authoritative as a world expert. This is truly a double-edged sword. Perhaps we could be forgiving for changing a single word in the following verse and applying it:
“we who blog will be judged with greater strictness.” (adapted from James 3:1)
We might be tempted to withdraw altogether as Christians from social media. But to do so would cedes the next revolution to those with a different faith or none.
Here are ten Bible-based principles we can use as we think about how to blog, tweet, facebook, or otherwise comment online.
1. Join the conversation
2. Understand the online world we are entering
3. Write in a way that is understandable to readers
4. Don’t think anonymity will protect you
5. Beware of how we come across to others
6. Be bold AND winsome
7. Learn to really listen
8. Don’t say too much
9. Don’t say too little
10. Don’t feed the trolls
These principles are explained in an article I wrote for the Christian Medical Fellowship, based on a talk for which audio and slides are also available.