Saturday, March 1, 2014

I Shouldn't Have Posted That

When you count up everyone, I do well to talk to more than a hundred people in a week. If you ignore the people I only asked how they were doing and didn’t have a meaningful conversation with, it drops considerably. Most of these conversations take place one on one or with a very small number of people. If I happen to say something I shouldn’t have, it might do some harm, but the damage is minimal

Facebook is different. Post something to Facebook and fifty people will see it within five minutes. If people start liking it or sharing it, you may have 150 people look at it within a couple of hours. Think about that. One post on Facebook says more to more people than a week’s worth of meaningful conversations.

But also think about this: Let’s say you let your guard down and you repeat a juicy piece of gossip. In regular conversation, you may have said it to one person and by the time you get to the next person, you might have thought, “I really shouldn’t have repeated that.” So, you don’t tell anyone else what you heard. Not so on Facebook.

That happened to me this week. I was reading through the news feed and came across a post sharing a link that talked about some allegations that had been brought against a particular motivational speaker. The man who had shared the link is a man that I believe to be a Christian, though he isn’t of the same denomination as me. I shared the link and within a few moments a friend that respect a great deal had commented saying that he didn’t think it was appropriate for a Christian to share something like that on Facebook. I deleted it immediately, though I wasn’t sure that I agreed with him, and I’m still not completely sure.

I did come to the conclusion though, that some people might take what I posted as saying that something was true that I had no way of knowing if it were true or not. It had the appearance of gossip, and my posting it could’ve easily caused it to spread to hundreds of people, rather than just a handful.

Even though Facebook is like a big conversation, it is good to remember that we’re talking to a lot more people all at one time. Some of these people may never respond to our post, but they read it. But there is a good side too. Unlike with normal conversation, you can take it back. Sort of. If you realize you said something you shouldn’t have, you can delete the post. If people have already read it, that doesn’t help much, but it sure beats 150 people thinking you are a gossip.