The Twitter-verse is a world that I’m slowly discovering. I don’t understand the desire to constantly retweet everything that I think is funny, clever, or intelligent. Then again, I find solace in a good book, so by my very preference I need substance to my words.
That’s why I think there’s an interesting dilemma facing the world of Facebook and social media as a whole. Most all of us have Facebook, and have become familiar with the feed which fills our mind with thought and reflection, even inspiration. But there’s a dark side to Facebook.
Three months ago, I was scrolling the feed of my Facebook and I reflected with my wife that we had been excluded at a party of our friends! How could they possibly leave us out of their plans? Weren’t we valuable to them? Didn’t we qualify for inclusion in that party? What can we do to get them back?
But as we wrestled with the disregard for our inclusion, it hit me that the beast of insecurity had feasted on my Facebook feed. Without that story trickling from the drop down, my awareness of exclusion would have floated by unnoticed.
This raises a very important question for us as youth leaders. One of our pastoral roles is to help bring our students into greater maturity both in their schools/homes, and in their lives. And with Facebook developing unwarranted drama among our students, we must stop and ask, “Are we guiding students through the land mines of Facebook feed?”
Though feeds can be good for information (a recent intense conversation between two students allowed me to advise that person to remove the content), they aren’t always helpful for relationships. In fact, more often than not, they break down relationships between already insecure students.
We must be intentional with students by taking the moments to view their feeds, and reflect spiritually, emotionally, and maturely on their feeds. Was that the right thing for you to say? How do you think your posts effected the people around you? Was what you said building up, or breaking down? If you were to re-read this comment in two weeks, months, years, was it really that important? are all great questions to hold in the forefronts of our minds as we wrestle with their comments and posts.
We must know our students well, and encourage them in integrity and honesty in a wireless realm so easy conjured by the desire to be someone we’re not.
- Make sure your comments reflect the same likeness: lead by example (see Christ if you need some direction).
- Use Facebook groups, Google+ groups, and other methods to fill your students' feed with positive thoughts and reflections. This is beyond helpful, and students love a place of connection.
- Have you also had experiences where you've used your leadership to influence Facebook content? Share below!