This month the writers of the Patheos Muslim Channel are opening up about their feelings on the hot take, a quick response to a current event, political debate or issues of the moment. I have to say, I am not in love with them.
Yesterday, I was in a meeting about a new project that I’m working on and we were discussing terms of engagement. You know, the list of rules that are often unspoken, but in this day and age need to be black and white. I’ve seen friends do it on Facebook. A list of what will and will not be accepted on their wall. I even did it when I moved here to Patheos Muslim.
We all sort of knew what my colleague was talking about when she mentioned, “those list of rules you think through before posting on Facebook, or responding to someone.”
For a while after that conversation, I thought about the way in which I decide what to share here and what I talk about on any social media platform. This morning, I went in search for the list. The one I found that best fits my checklist is from Kristen Wetherell of iBelieve.com.
1. What’s my motive in posting this? I often have different motives for each media outlet. Here, my motive is clear. I write about my family and my life, my Islamic life. Not the deep intimate details of my marriage, or the day to day stuff my kids struggle with, but my life as it relates to my Muslim family. I don’t often mention what I do for work, unless it intersects with Islam. When I talk about my work, I do so on Instagram, and Tumblr. Twitter is for interacting and broadcasting my blog posts. Facebook is for the groups. I have groups about parenting, clothing, racism, food, emotional growth and sewing. Sometimes I cross post there about my writing or my work, but its a way of sharing those things with my acquaintances.
On the subject of Hot Takes, or a reaction to a current event, that’s not usually my thing. Yes, I did do it a little this year because of the impact it was having on my family, but I’m not a knee jerk writer. I slowly simmer what I need to say before I can put it on paper.
2. Is this content rooted in truth? When I write, I talk about my truth. It may be different than your experience, and that’s okay. My truth is also according to my life experience, the level of experience I have in my community and my education (life learned and book educated.) If I’m quoting something in the news or talking about something I saw on social media or in media in general, I’ve done a little bit of homework. I don’t have hours upon hours to spend reading the back story of everything, but I have spent some time learning more about this thing before I tell you about it here. You might know more than I do. It happens.
3. Is this post helpful? My goal, my mission here is to be helpful. I am not here to teach you how to be a good parent. There are a lot of websites out there for parenting advise. I’m not giving relationship advise. Every magazine and website in the world has people on staff for that. I’m here so you don’t feel like you are going through this alone. To cheer you on and to tell you it is possible to have a happy, interfaith relationship. To tell you that I know how hard it is to keep going back to the community even when they make you feel unwelcome. To share with you places to shop and life hacks for raising Muslim children. I get it. I’m struggling right there with you.
4. Am I looking for conflict? No. There have been 3 times I can remember since starting My Islamic Life that I was posting in anger. The first time was when Hasbro Launched the Magic Jinn. The second time was when a man wore an inflammatory t-shirt to my local highschool during a sporting event, and the third time was just before or after the 2016 election. Even when I’m posting in anger, its to vent my feelings in a way that lets you know that if you too run into these things and feel enraged, you aren’t alone. I share your anger.
There are more questions in this list than I really want to spend time answering. I know you are probably done with reading this post and are ready for me to wrap things up. Time is short these days and we all need just that few more minutes. I have more to say on Hot Takes, but I’ll wrap this up with the final question.
10. How would I feel about this post in a day? A year? 10 years? There are times that I’ve thought I’m writing in an echo chamber. That even though my data shows I have hits and readers, you all are not that chatty. That’s okay! But every time I think (to myself) maybe I should just stop. Someone sends me a message, telling me they are so thankful that I’m out here, writing about possibility, writing about the life they want but can’t imagine having. So, no, I will not regret my time here. I am proud of this work, because if I have made a difference in the life of 1 family, it has been worth it all.
Have a wonderful week.