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January 21, 2017, 2:42 PM

Oh Be Careful Little Fingers

I remember singing as a little kid: Oh be careful little hands what you do... be careful little feet where you go... be careful little eyes what you see. I remember thinking as a little kid that we should be careful where our feet go, because it really hurts when you step in a hole. But now that I'm older, I better understand what that song meant. Maybe it shouldn't be a kid's song because there are a lot of adults that could benefit from singing that song on a regular basis. And while we are at it, let's add another verse: Oh be careful little fingers what you click.

Social media has taken all checks, balances, and consequences out of social interaction. All that it has added to social interaction is further reach. So it has created an environment where there are more people interacting with more people, but with less civility and common sense. 

At one point in human history, in order for me to be rude or hateful, I had to work up the courage to track down someone and then say what I was feeling to them. Of course, by the time I found them I had some time to cool off and think about what I was about to say or do. Or I could write a letter, but took time and having to see those words also acted as a filter. Or, you could call them. Hearing their voice acted as a filter. Knowing that they could hear your voice also acted as a filter. But social media has none of that. I can quickly type out any response I want and click a button and instantly share my unfiltered mess with the world. Usually with little fear of consequences. Usually with little thought to how it will impact the people on the other side of the computer screen. So here are some filters to help us out:

How will this post be read by others?

Who is going to be reading this post?

Will this post build up or tear down?

Would I want someone posting this about me, to me, or about my family?

As an example: I have seen and been guilty myself of posting sarcasm and hyperbole. Those things don't really work well online because both the reader and the writer are separated from the interaction. Overly dramatic language, especially with a negative bend, will come off serious and threatening. At the very least, they will make the poster seem demeaning and purposefully rude.  Those things don't build up and they don't have the desired impact on the people who read the post. 

You might be able to justify in your mind how such posts are ok, but you cannot justify how they are wise.  The author of Proverbs ranks wisdom as the most important asset one can have. That goes for social media as well. 

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