Step down from your social media platform

Take caution when using social media as a PSA soapbox for personal or political opinions.


Illustration by Trevor Lunde/THE CHIMES

Melanie Kim, Writer

This is the communication age, and your most valuable asset is your voice.


Deleting your Facebook today is practically equivalent to leaving Los Angeles to join a monastery. If you exist on social media, you have the right to speak. Each tweet and status we post might seem as weighty as a PSA to our nations of followers and friends. But before commenting an, “I don’t want to start a fight, but I believe…” announcement, step down from that podium and walk away. Your social media platform is not just a soapbox for you stand on to inform the world of your own opinion. Facebook can be a forum for your thoughts, but be careful about being the one rambling in the room.

For the frequent Facebooker, an article link or a comment or two is excellent for stimulating discussion. A comment war, however, makes you look like a screaming fool — even if your discourse is calm and intellectual. All the majority of users see is you and someone else in a virtual squabble with over 100 comments from behind your respective profile-pulpits, like a furious Presidential debate. That is a bad position to be in. Causing a scene in a social media fight creates division and harms more than it helps.

Even if you feel strongly about an issue, resist the temptation to hold a press release for an applause of likes. Ditch the essay for a sentence or two, at least. Facebook is not your venting ground when you are angry with society. Being articulate and concise works to your advantage when communicating online.


What about our Christian opinions? We especially run the risk of becoming pedantic when we comment essays of apologetics in rebuttal against some worldly issue. And frankly, few will read your well-intentioned essay. Particularly, I have found, if you quote Bible verses to people who do not consider the Bible an authority in their lives.

I agree there is no greater authority than Scripture itself. However, if there is a major gap in political opinion between you and your audience, be aware of when paraphrasing or even staying silent and praying might be more effective. In those situations especially, it is better to step back from the social media pulpit and pray for God’s intercedence in their personal lives. God can do much more in a heart or mind than our long-winded words.


Before posting anything that might come across as controversial, consider this social media ettiquette list by Lisa Filpi Goeckler that helps the impassioned social media user sort through some safety precautions before posting. “Will I be okay with absolutely anyone seeing this?” and “Is this reactive communication or is it well thought-out?” are two considerate questions that could help prevent an embarrassing social media mess.

Rather than blowing your top on Twitter, discuss it over coffee. You will be surprised how many harsh words will fall away from a real live person without the polished profile of social media to protect them. Even better, if you are truly passionate about an issue, support a cause with your time and money rather than just a long-winded Facebook status. Acting on your beliefs is more noble than posting about it.

Having a voice is easier than ever. But do not nail up your 95 Theses every time a controversial subject hits your newsfeed. Use your voice humbly, wisely and sometimes not at all.

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