How to Use Social Media for Good


For our generation, it's nearly impossible not to interact with social media. Even if you don't have any accounts set up, you're bound to hear about different tweets and posts in conversations with your friends or on the news. But, realistically, you probably have at least one social media account and you likely check your feeds daily. That's just the world we live in.

As such, social media has a huge impact on our lives. It can drive us to comparison, envy, empty striving, insecurity, and even depression. Short of deleting all your social media accounts though, how can you use social media to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31)?

Here are some ways that have helped keep my heart in check when it comes to social media:

Simplify and unfollow.

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! -Matthew 6:22-23

What you consume is what you are. This concept also applies to what your eyes see. If your newsfeed is filled with celebrity gossip and pretty, famous people's highlight reels, you're bound to end up feeling quite blah. If your immediate reaction is to get defensive, I pray that you'll overcome that and pray about this with an open heart. Once upon a time I was there too, and I thought it was no big deal. But when I rid my social media feeds of all the celebrities, models, and pretty/successful people I don't know in real life, my life changed. My life, and I, became good enough again. Darling, you don't really need to know Kim Kardashian's every waking thought and move, nor do you need to follow every fashion blogger whose body/wardrobe/travels/success make you feel inadequate, insecure, and jealous.

Please, test me on this. Start a journal and note how you feel before and after you view your social media feeds. (Instagram with the gorgeous photos is especially impactful!). Be honest and track how your day proceeds after checking your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest feed. First, you might be surprised how often you check those accounts. Second, you'll likely find that after scrolling through your feed, you end up feeling insecure, inadequate, ugly, fat, like a failure, boring, restless, sad, frustrated, or even angry. The feelings may be subtle - it's in the sudden onset of laziness, or how when you go to your closet to get dressed, nothing in your closet is stylish enough.

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness. -Psalm 101:3-4

Be intentional with what and who you fill your feed with. Does it nurture your soul? Point you to Christ? Encourage you to be a better person? If the answer is no, unfollow, unfriend, and purge.

Using social media for good

When God convicted me of this, I unfollowed almost 600 people on Instagram within a few weeks. It was difficult, y'all. I got clingy and defensive. But God gave me strength and wisdom to discern what I needed and what I didn't. As a result, I spent less time on Instagram (less people to follow, less new content!), and I walked away encouraged and challenged to live a better, more Godly, adventurous life.

Shortly after, I also deleted my Facebook. Because over the years, I became friends with more than 1,000 people and I probably knew at most, 5o percent, and actually cared about only 10 percent. So every time I logged into FB, I was sucked into links to celebrity gossip and updates from people I didn't truly know. I could have unfriended everyone, but since I had little use for Facebook, I just chose to delete it. Maybe I'll start from scratch someday, but for now, I have no regrets.

Where can you purge? Who can you unfriend or unfollow? (Do you really need to know what that third-grade classmate you never spoke to is doing with her life? Probably not.) Is there a social media outlet you don't need or use very often and can delete completely? 

Write a social media mission statement.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. -Philippians 4:8

A few months ago, God convicted me of how I was using social media. I realized that I was living to come up with a good Instagram photo - whether I was studying my Bible or hanging out with my friends. It's like having one foot on Instagram and the other in the moment. That's no way to live your one short life! I took stock of what I was posting and why. Friend, I found so much emptiness - I was putting something into the world and into people's feeds that had no real purpose: it wasn't edifying, encouraging, or even Godly. So, I deleted a lot of my old posts and resolved to only post what points others to Christ. I don't have a perfect track record, but it's made me think twice about what I share.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearer. -Ephesians 4:29

Before you post, ask yourself why you're posting and what value it adds to other people's lives and to this world. (Whether you have a million followers or 10, someone is seeing your post and is being impacted by it!). Does the world need to see yet another selfie of you? What is the point of sharing your food, quiet time, or your cat? Think on it, pray, and then, if you think this is the mark you want to leave on the world, post it. Otherwise, maybe create a more private outlet (I'm finding photo books a great way to memorialize personal memories!).

In 2016, I'm crafting a social media mission statement to narrow down my focus even more. Here is my working draft:

To inspire, encourage and equip others to live set apart lives and grow in the knowledge of the word of God. Simply put: to point people to Christ.

I challenge you to write your own social media mission statement (and share it with us in the comments below for inspiration + accountability). In fact, post it on your social media to keep yourself accountable!

Using social media for good

{image via Life Lived Beautifully}

Set boundaries.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. -1 Corinthians 9:27

Scrolling mindlessly through the explore tab on Instagram is huge weakness of mine. It defeats the entire purpose of me simplifying my feed, and it's literally a black hole that will capture you and won't let go for hours. Personally, this year, I vow to give my phone a bedtime that is hours before my own bedtime. I also want to work towards leaving my phone in another room for the night so I'm not tempted to reach for it on my nightstand when I can't fall asleep or it keeps beeping with new notifications.

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. -Proverbs 25:28

Find limits you can set on your social media use. Here are some ideas:

  • Give yourself social media free weekends where you delete the apps off your phone for a few days to live in the real world (if you have to share something, that's what #latergram is for!).
  • Vow to put your phone away when you're with friends, at dinner, or in class.
  • Log out of each account - sometimes that extra physical step of logging back in to check your account will make you think twice if it's truly worth the effort.
  • Set a limit on how many people you will follow or be friends with. This ensures that you don't go back and follow all those people you purged earlier!
  • Use social media only during business hours, leaving your evenings and weekends free to spend time with your loved ones and doing work that fires you up without any distractions.
  • Alternatively, if you're in school and find yourself distracted by social media while you're in class or studying, then vow not to check your social media while you're in school. I had to do this with Facebook and my iMessaging, and it did wonders for my productivity and attentiveness in class!
  • Turn off notifications. Do this, y'all. You don't need to know the second you get a new like/mention/invitation.

Friends, social media can be a powerful platform to reach people that we may never have even crossed paths with in the real world. You can choose to use it for selfish reasons - for self promotion, fame, wealth, popularity; or you can use it for good - to point others to Jesus, to make the world a little bit brighter, prettier and encouraging. It's your choice. Make it a good one.

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