Lent and Social Media

A few years ago, I gave up Facebook for Lent. Sort of. I said I would limit myself to 15 minutes daily. I couldn’t leave for 40 days because Facebook was the means by which I communicated with teen members of 4-H (I’m a 4-H leader), and I wanted to keep an eye on my own teens’ Facebook activity. I wrote a note, changed my profile photo, and worked to stay in my 15 minutes daily. For the most part, it worked.

Today, however, I could no more give up Facebook than I would say I will give up reading mail, or talking on the telephone until Easter. Facebook and Twitter have become vital means by which I communicate for business, nonprofit volunteerism, and pleasure.

But I can resolve to use social media more wisely. Below is a social media examination of conscience and then resolutions to use it better.

Examination of Conscience

  1. Have I used social media to pry into others’ lives, seek personal details, and then gossip about them?
  2. Have I been so distracted by Facebook games that I have neglected responsibilities for my family or my job?
  3. Have I posted photos and information that discourages, ridicules, or defames others?
  4. Have I been inappropriate in my Facebook relationships or encouraged others towards bad behavior?
  5. If I have been upset at someone, did I approach that person individually and privately, or did I use Facebook to vent my frustration?
  6. Are my words and photos on Facebook a good role model for teens to emulate?
  7. Do I honor my family, friends, and clients with what I post?

Resolutions for Better Social Media Use (a 40 day challenge)

  1. Reduce or restrict time spent on Facebook games. Your Farmville crops may die, but no one in real life will starve as a consequence. Plant a real garden of relationships or food instead.
  2. Encourage at least 1 person each day to have a better day.
  3. Thank at least 2 people each day and tell them how they help others.
  4. Find a local homeless shelter or food bank and find ways you can share their needs on social media so others can help them too.
  5. Show someone else how to use Facebook or Twitter better.

Are you up to a 40 day challenge to make the social media world a brighter place? Go for it! Easter candy’s a little sweeter when you do!

(© 2011 Mary Biever)

Mary Biever is a wife, mother of two teens, and computer coach.

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