47%, according to a Mashable.com poll that’s the percentage of people who have unfriended someone on Facebook because of the recent election. (http://mashable.com/2012/11/07/election-facebook-friend/)
These elections were once again a reminder of how important wisdom in our social media communication really is. Social media continues to show how we, even as Christians, have a long way to go in realizing what true wisdom in our speech is. We continue to be quick to speak/post and rarely think of the implications of our words.
Election day was a perfect example of this. It is a single day where every American’s beliefs are wrapped up into two clear options. Obama or Romney. By association with one you must hate the other. We as humans get very emotional at the thought of someone disagreeing with us. Though guess what, nearly half of America disagreed with your choice of candidate. That is life and we must learn how to deal with that. We need to be able to still love and accept those that have differing opinions. To even go as far as taking time to think through the words we use to communicate our own beliefs. Jesus modelled this so perfectly. He was able to speak truth into situations with love. He never gossiped and bashed the opinions of others.
I realize this is all easier said then done. Wisdom does not come over night. Though are we seeking it out? Are we improving the way we communicate, especially online? Solomon’s wise words in Proverbs are the perfect place to start. It is full of wisdom on how we as Christians are meant to use our tongues. One of my all time favorites is in Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”. Social media has made it easier then ever to communicate and sin with our words. We communicate at an astonishing rate and we do it to a massive audience. This proverb I believe to be an important starting point for wisdom on social media. We need to be holding our tongues so that we can have the time to process the words that we are typing out.
So what happens when someone puts a hateful comment on your latest status about your chosen candidate? Hold your tongue! I know your emotions tell you otherwise but we must give ourselves a chance to cool down. Never communicate online out of pure emotion. I find in most cases it is not worth replying at all. Though if you must just simply let the person know that you respect their opinion and would possibly even be open to chatting more about it privately. Your Facebook wall is not private Also if you have friends posting hateful statuses that are clogging up your news feed you can do one of two things; message them privately about it or ignore it by hiding their statuses. I think unfriending isn’t necessary simply because you disagree with someones stance. There will always be something to disagree with. Better we learn to love each other regardless, starting with the use of our tongues and it’s social media counterpart.