How to use social media for good
Social media is often criticised for making people less sociable, and in some cases less socially acceptable, but can it be used as a force for good?
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and WhatsApp are often condemned as sources of showboating, infidelity, bullying and trolling. Many a reputation has been shot down in flames by the online community, sometimes with just cause and other times out of spite. Social media platforms have also been used by some to promote racial hatred and even to distribute child pornography. Can any good really come out of them?
- Social media is great for organising events. You decide to set up a toddler group at your church or to host a charity bake sale. Where’s the best place to promote it? You could make an announcement or put out a few flyers, but these are easily forgotten or ignored. Get a few people to share your event on social media and you’ll soon be reaching much further afield than you ever expected.
- Social media can help you make good connections. Whether you’re looking for a new job or have just moved house and want to make a few friends, social media is a great place to start. You could join local groups or simply do some networking online, following relevant people who might help to open the right doors for you. Sites like LinkedIn have dedicated job sections as and also allow you to connect with like-minded people in your area.
- Social media may allow you to fundraise more effectively. It can be tricky to raise funds from friends and family alone, so many people turn to networking sites to achieve a greater reach. Perhaps you’re crowdfunding to produce a music album or running a half-marathon for a good cause. Whatever your objective, social media can help to spread the word and might just bring in a bit of extra cash.
- Social media enables you to influence others in a positive way. There is so much negativity online, but you can be the light in the darkness. Sometimes just giving someone a bit of encouragement when they post a thought or a picture can make a real difference. You could post positive news stories to cheer people up or start advocating for a cause that is close to your heart, for example the environment or human rights. You could also post carefully researched facts and figures that debunk unhealthy myths and prevent the spread of unhelpful or hurtful content.
- Social media could open the door to the gospel. Networking sites can provide opportunities to share the good news with a large audience. It could be as simple as sharing a daily Bible verse or posting links to helpful faith-related articles you’ve read online. You might be able to invite people to church events or host a friendly debate on a topic that is of interest to Christians and non-Christians alike. You could even video yourself sharing your testimony if you’re feeling really brave!
Whatever you do online, remember to be kind and sensitive at all times, as it can be easy to misconstrue non-verbal communications. Try not to get sucked in to heated arguments, even if you know you are right. Always check your sources before posting anything that might land you in hot water… and if it isn’t edifying, steer well clear!
Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”