Specifically we talked about issues of privacy and young people's tendencies to over-share before they think through the consequences for themselves and others. As a media culture we are becoming more and more desensitized to sharing information and images that maybe on further reflection is not our information to share. But we, and that includes adults too, never get to the stage of reflection. We just share and move on.
This became clear to me again when a friend showed me an interesting blog post about the lack of privacy on social media and people's willingness to re-post or share anything. The blogger's post was thought-provoking. He wrote about the irony of the Twitter image that is circulating of Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook. Zuckerberg is reportedly not happy that this image of him with his family has gone viral without his permission. The blogger wrote about the reality of our lack privacy on social media. And yet, this blogger included the picture of Zuckerberg in his post - seemingly with delight. In participating in that same forwarding and digital sharing, I think he is guilty of digital gossip. That is what this type is sharing is - gossip. His blog would be just as interesting without the picture. But it is more titillating with it.
We need as a culture to slow down a bit when we engage in such instance gratification media. As parents, a good rule of thumb to share with your children is: hold yourself accountable for the same behaviors in your digital communication as you do with face-to-face communication. Online gossip can easily turn into bullying or harassment. All adults, whether we are parents or not, need to model that same rule of thumb in our own behavior.
Finally, as people of faith, this is one more way we are counter-cultural. We value hospitality and community. We seek to include and give voice to the outcast and marginalized.
If those are our values in all areas of our lives, can we:
- model grace-filled behavior in regard to social media?
- be leaders when it comes to slowing down and thinking about the information and images we propagate?