The Ten Commandments of Social Networking

A former boss of mine gave me a book to read entitled, “A Whack on the Side of the Head” by Roger von Oech. The point of the book is that we sometimes need a whack to wake us up to reality. The fact that my boss gave me this book was my head-whack and actually dramatically changed my life, but that’s another post.

Well, it’s happened again this past week – not just one big ‘whack’, but a series of smaller ‘clouts’.

Demian Farnworth posted on his Fallen and Flawed blog, an article that spoke to the motivation that often lies behind creative artistry. If you read the post you will perhaps understand why it resonated with me.

In a “debate’ with my dear wife, she implored me to spend less time writing blog posts and editing  our church website. She wanted me to invest some of that time in our relationship. I guess I’m a typical bloke – I heard her but wasn’t convinced that my computer time was interfering with our relationship.

So, that’s when God delivered the message loud and clear.

I received an email linking to an excellent post on the OurChurch website, written by Paul Steinbrueck, CEO of MyChurch.com. With Paul’s permission, you can read this below.

The 10 Commandments were given to us thousands of years ago.  Sure there was no Facebook or Twitter back then, but the principles still apply today.  Here’s my take on how the 10 commandments apply to social networking.

1) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Don’t allow social networking to become a god.  Are you losing hours at a time to Farmville?  Do you interrupt meals with family and friends to send and receive messages?  Is your first impulse when you wake up to check email/Facebook/Twitter instead of listen to God? Has posting become more important than praying?  If so, maybe social networking has become a god.

2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images.

Throughout history people have created things to remind them of God – sculptures, stained glass windows, crucifixes – which people eventually began to worship instead of God.  Likewise many people have become enamored with the potential social networks have as a platform to share the gospel, connect people to their church, or share spiritual insights.  Be careful not to allow the tools used in the name of God to become more important than your relationship with God.

3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Don’t use acronyms that take the Lord’s name in vain like OMG.  Don’t use acronyms that are shorthand for profanity.  In general consider the coarseness and vulgarity of what you say online.

4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Be intentional about taking breaks from social networking so you can spend focused time with God.

5) Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long.

Kids, respect the social networking rules your parents set up.  Parents, set up social networking boundaries for your kids.  Install filtering software on all computers.  Set rules for when and how much time your kids can spend online/texting.  Warn them about friending strangers.

6) Thou shalt not kill.

Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said, ‘Do not murder.’ …But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother…[or] says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)  Don’t insult or hate on people online.

7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Guard yourself against porn.  Use filtering/monitoring software on your computer and mobile browser and get yourself an accountability partner.

Guard yourself against emotional affairs.  Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t make flirting or deep soul-level conversations with someone who’s not your spouse are ok.

8 ) Thou shalt not steal.

Don’t steal time from your employer, your spouse, or your kids for social networking.

9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Don’t lie or slander people online.

10) Thou shalt not covet.

Don’t envy people’s blogs or the number of friends, followers, or comments they have.  Don’t envy the hot studio photo from 5 years ago they use as their profile pic.  Don’t envy all the parties, vacations, and accomplishments they choose to post about. Much of what people post about is put in the best possible light and their struggles and shortcomings are omitted.

Do any of these resonate with you?

Have you struggled with one of these? What did you do to overcome?

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