My new mantra for social media is, “Does it help.” Before I post, comment, or email, I ask myself this question. I am one of those opinionated, enthusiastic, and sometimes cranky person who has (a time or two) added my two cents when it wasn’t welcome or necessary. I have also been guilty of sharing posts or articles that reflect my personal opinion even though I know many others care passionately about the issue (and often in a different direction).
Social media isn’t the place for political discussions, personal advice, or snarky comments because it comes in a vacuum. You aren’t interacting with the person and seeing where they are coming from. Perhaps they are depressed, personally affected by the issue, or maybe they are even right (and you are wrong). Without the interplay of sight, sound, and emotional connection, we can’t really tell what is going on when we are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email. So, we need to be quiet. We need to not comment. We need to as ourselves, “Does this help?”
When does a comment help? If someone is asking for sympathy, understanding, or validation, give it to them. Better yet, just say, “I’m thinking of you.” If someone needs help, offer concrete suggestions. For instance, if they are overwhelmed by clutter and are asking for ideas, by all means post a link to that anti-clutter book. But, first, make sure it helps.
As a mother, I am trying to temper myself and be more mindful about the qualities I am modeling for my children. I have pasted the list below by my computer so my kids will see it, read it, and hopefully apply it to their own interactions.What are some “helping” comments? This is my list:
- I understand.
- I’m thinking (praying) for you.
- How can I help?
- You are beautiful/wonderful/awesome/fantastic.
- You are a great mother/father/aunt/friend.
- This book helped me a lot with this issue.
- This website was helpful to me when I had the same issue.
- Can I bring a casserole/cookies/gift card.
- Can I pick up your kids/walk your dog/help you out.
- Thank you for sharing.