There’s a lot of talk about Fake News these days. When you turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper or scroll through your favorite social media site, your mind will be crammed with all kinds of conflicting data. Did President Trump collude with Russians? Did Hilary Clinton delete thousands of emails? Was president Obama secretly siding with Muslims? We may feel we have the answers to these questions, but we will probably never fully know the truth. We only see these stories through the tiny window that is the media, and even then we only see the data that they want us to see, and with the slant that they want us to see it. So what’s a responsible Christian to do? I’d like to propose three principles of positive posting. Will you consider these the next time you share something on social media?
Verify articles before you share
The first thing to consider before sharing an article is the source. There are some news sites that are known to publish fake news consistently. Be cautious of websites ending in “.com.co” or pretending to be a well-known new source. These types of sites attempt to look like a valid news site (abcnews.com.co, abcnewsgo.com, etc), by having a similar URL or name. Be leery of sites that seem to have a lower quality of writing. Sites that publish real news will seldom use ALL CAPS TO GET A POINT ACROSS!!
The best method I’ve found for weeding through all the junk is to make an approved list of sites that you use to verify all news. I try and pick several sites from differing political views that are known to have a higher standard for journalism. Understand that all news comes through a filter, and different people will see the same news from different viewpoints. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to find unbiased news, but by listening to varying political views, you will have a better feel for the actual facts, and the truth is often found between the extremes. I use the following sites to verify news:
If you can’t verify the validity of the news, then you shouldn’t share it.
Care for people over politics
Something else to consider before sharing is that real people are listening. There’s something about hiding behind a screen that makes us a little bolder. Maybe it’s the safety of our living rooms, or the slight sense of anonymity that removes inhibitions, but it can cause us to say things that we wouldn’t normally say in person.
One thing I try to always do is picture myself sharing this information in person with those who would hold an opposing view. What would you say if you were face-to-face? Issues are important to us, and we have the ability and right to share what we believe, but don’t allow your viewpoints to crush your relationships. If you’re critical of an issue, then speak directly to the issue when posting, and not a person or his or her character (Tweet That!). It’s OK to say I absolutely hate what “this issue” has done to society. It’s not OK to say that (liberal, conservative, you fill in the blank) idiots are the cause of all that’s wrong in the world today.
It’s OK to have an opinion, but care for people over your own political views. As a Christian you are called to show compassion, have patience, have humility and ultimately love and pray for those that treat you badly.
Share the real source of truth
The happenings of the last election gave me a new view-point and purpose for my social media posting. It was brutal. I know many relationships suffered as a result of what was shared. I made a personal decision to use social media for good, and particularly in three ways: good spirited humor, teaching of positive moral values and encouraging others in their struggles.
As a believer, I’ll try and look for ways to incorporate the absolute truth of God’s Word in my posts. I don’t try to be preachy or to come across as arrogant, but I do believe in the changing power of the Word of God. There is so much negative in the news and in social media, so why not improve the lives of others by posting what is good (Tweet That!)?