Wednesday, 21 October 2015

4 Proverbs for Social Media

The way people talk - and in the 21st century, type - shows a lot about them. Their temperament, their priorities, their wisdom. I find that, particularly on social media, the world would be a much better place if people were to think a bit more about how they approach what they say and how they say it.

Here are four ways to be much more productive with what you write on social media - inspired by a wise man from almost 3,000 years ago.

1. Good Advice at the Right Time

Solomon, the King of Israel around 970BC, wrote about how we speak in a book of proverbs you can read today in the Bible. We are told in 1 Kings 3 that God gave Solomon wisdom beyond anyone before him or after him - so he probably had a good idea of what he was talking about.

He said that the wise are discerning and promote instruction with their gracious words (16:21). Social media is full of people trying to tell people what the best thing is to do (including this blog post to be fair!).

Using your words wisely means you will choose the right time to give good advice - don't jump to an occasion in the heat of the moment! Giving advice is good but pick the right time to do so and show others grace whilst doing so.

2. Give Encouragement

I'm a fan of honey and I think Solomon must have been too - he said that it is 'sweet to the soul and healing to the bones' (16:24). And he compares gracious words to honeycomb.

When we must put our opinion across on social media, make sure it is like honeycomb - putting a smile on peoples' faces and offering encouragement to those who might be struggling.

3.  Don't Stir or Gossip

Solomon must have seen his fair share of unuseful speech in his time as king and sees the speakers of these kind of words in a poor light (16:27-29).

The words of an evil person are like scorching fire, perverse people stir up conflict, gossipers break up good relationships, violent people draw in others to lead them somewhere they shouldn't go.

Here are some things to avoid when typing on your keyboard or screen. Don't purposefully stir up trouble; don't start, or take part in, unfair gossip; don't fish for reactions from people.

4. Build Others Up

Fast forward almost 1,000 years and the Bible is still talking about the best way to use our speech. Paul sums up a lot of what Solomon has been saying in his letter to the church in Ephesus (4:29): "do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

What a great phrase to keep on your mind when tweeting, commenting or posting.

Is what you're about to type going to be helpful and beneficial to those who might read it? If not, is it really worth publishing?