I love the connections I have been able to make through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. My daily quiet time and discipline in getting up early have greatly improved because of the encouragement I have received online.
I hope my kids continue to use these online tools to maintain friendships despite our military lifestyle and to grow deeper connections with family members far away. There’s a few other things I hope they’ll remember too.
Share bad news with your voice, not your keyboard.
If you are telling people about the death of a family member, talking about the demise of a marriage, or major change in someone’s health…then they deserve to hear your voice. Obviously your friend from 4th grade can learn your bad news online, but your mom doesn’t want to find out you broke your arm in a car accident from your status update. Here’s a list of life’s biggest stressors if you aren’t sure when to call and when to tweet.
What you say today, lasts forever.
It isn’t just the possibility that the webpage for each tweet can be cached that makes our words permanent. It has a lot more to do with the fact that once we say something, we can never take it back. I would be nothing without the forgiveness that’s been given to me, but how much greater it is to not even need to ask for it.
If you are emotional about your circumstances, step away from the keyboard!
Angry, hurt, sad, depressed, betrayed? Find the person who can do something about it. Seek out a mentor and meet face to face. Use the Biblical model for resolving conflict, not your profile page. Even if you don’t regret it today, or next month, in the grand scheme of life you will realize most things that upset you just weren’t that big of a deal.
I can share these lessons because I have learned them first hand. What lessons have you learned online that you would like to spare the next generation?