Bland on Facebook?

Recently I posted a photo of roses my husband had given me.

One of my daughters said, “Mommy, you know you’re desperate to be noncontroversial when you post a picture of roses.” She has also observed that part of my workday is posting “noncontroversial” updates on Facebook.

Guilty as charged.

But why? Why not be exciting on Facebook? Here’s why:

  • I try to represent my faith with my words. I’m far from perfect either online or in real life, but I can try. Posting a status certain to cause controversy can be a Christian act, but that is not the purpose of my Facebook activity.
  • I might embarrass myself!
  • I might embarrass you, my client. When I post on social media, I believe I represent more than myself (see #1). I represent my clients. I also represent The Steve Laube Agency. True, I’m talking about my personal Facebook page, but most of my Facebook friends see me as a literary agent and friend. I don’t want to risk my opinion being misconstrued as the opinion of my writers or the agency, even if the opinion is popular.
  • I want my Facebook page to brighten lives. Many people say that fighting on Facebook has annoyed and distressed them to the point of unfriending people. I prefer to be a day brightener, not an agitator.
  • No matter how innocuous the post, it might offend. If I post a mild gripe about businesses (such as the Post Office), invariably, someone who works there protests. And I can see why. With almost 5,000 friends, I find it difficult to post anything without causing someone distress. But I hope my Facebook friends can see my heart, and not take offense in case they disagree with me.
  • I recognize the power of words. For better or worse, once words escape our mouths or keyboards, it’s hard to retract them. At least with social media, we can be thoughtful and careful before posting.
  • I appreciate my Facebook friends. I enjoy interacting with my Facebook friends and usually learn from them whenever I post a question or comment. I want them to enjoy my posts, too!

Your turn:

Do you find “noncontroversial” Facebook posts too bland, preferring the excitement of verbal sparring?

Have you ever unfriended someone for posting opinions you didn’t like?

What type of posts do you enjoy?

What type of posts do you generally share?

41 Responses to Bland on Facebook?

  1. Avatar
    John de Sousa March 2, 2017 at 4:52 am #

    I don’t my controversial posts when they are expressed with grace, and balanced, winsome thought. But those qualities are so rare anymore. Most controversy these days is seasoned with arsenic rather than salt. And even gracious words are responded to with malicious rage. For that reason, I weigh my posts carefully. And your point about representing others is excellent.

  2. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson March 2, 2017 at 5:47 am #

    Wow! My sentiments exactly! I avoid anything that may be considered controversial. People can be so crude and cruel. I do have my opinions but I opt to keep them to myself. To me, arguing on social media only shows the true character of a person.

  3. Avatar
    Jon Guenther March 2, 2017 at 6:40 am #

    I try never to post anything that might be construed as a “challenge” to engage in controversy or debate. I’m not even on FB for security reasons so there’s nothing to worry about on that count.

    I really like Twitter because there’s a character limit. Makes it a great exercise in learning how to get your point across with as few words as possible, so it doubles as training. 😉

    I avoid any tweets on race, politics, religion, or crime. I do occasionally re-Tweet topics of general interest or that are informative or uplifting. I tweet about my current or upcoming books but I limit those. I often re-tweet favorite blog posts (like here on SLA). I also try to offer encouragement or follow those who appear to do the same. In that, I hope to be known by the company I keep, but we are to engage ourselves with sinners (which is everybody) and the righteous (which is nobody but Jesus).

    Sometimes I miss the mark or fail or just make an honest mistake, like we all do, but I try to learn from it and move on. All the rest I don’t worry about it as I’m too busy working or writing or both. Good post, Tamela!

    • Avatar
      Carol Ashby March 2, 2017 at 9:09 am #

      Jon, I LOVE this because it is so spot on: “we are to engage ourselves with sinners (which is everybody) and the righteous (which is nobody but Jesus).” I say the equivalent many Sundays to the class I lead. Sinners aren’t just “everybody.” They are me and you, and it’s good to remind ourselves that God doesn’t grade sin on a curve.

      The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy. The software part (the soul) of every person is immortal. If I truly care about someone, will I be content to say nothing while he/she makes the choice of rejecting Jesus that will lead to eternal suffering for them? (Jesus spoke a lot about hell and how we can end up there. I shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist to be “nice.”)

      Anything we post on social media should “speak the truth IN LOVE,” but what are the eternal consequences if we back off from speaking the truth to be “nice” and noncontroversial to keep our readership up? I agree with staying away from most things political unless an eternal consequence hangs in the balance; but with religion, eternity might just be involved.

      I’d say approach posting on anything potentially controversial with much prayer, trying to find the most gracious and loving way to express something. But sometimes the answer to those prayers might be “Post it.”

  4. Avatar
    Ruth Anne Blanchard March 2, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    I realized with the start of email how easily “tone of voice” can be misinterpreted. I think social media sets the bar even higher.
    I started using social websites to keep up with friends and my kids. The kids are grown, and I don’t spend as much time on these sites anymore. When I do, I find I’m scrolling through quickly, often deleting annoying or offensive posts, and trying to weigh the value of certain relationships.
    That sounds a little ridiculous when put into words!
    I miss the days of lighthearted fun on these sites and worry about what our kids are learning from such rampant thought sharing. I haven’t deleted too many “friends” (acquaintances?), but I delete a lot of posts.

  5. Avatar
    Patti Jo Moore March 2, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Personally, I LOVE your Facebook postings, Tamela. 🙂 There’s enough controversial feelings stirred up by simply watching local television news stations or reading certain news reports, so when I’m on Facebook, I enjoy seeing photos of flowers, inspirational quotes or Bible verses, animal and children photos, etc.
    I definitely think your kind, caring heart shows in your postings, and I believe others see this as well.
    My posts are often weather-related (LOL) or a personal praise (recently learning I’m going to be a first-time grandmother!!). Sometimes I will post a favorite Bible verse too, and pray that it might help even one person that day. 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 2, 2017 at 7:17 am #

    I have recently come to realize that my last and most important job in this life is to lift the hearts of those around me, and turn them, as I am able, toward the light of the Son.

    Prayers would be appreciated; not doing well, and a frightening day of pain ahead.

    • Avatar
      Ruth Anne Blanchard March 2, 2017 at 8:31 am #

      Praying for you, Andrew. I’m so grateful God has you in his hands. Thank you for giving so much of yourself for his glory.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 2, 2017 at 9:06 am #

      I’m so sorry, Andrew. I am praying!

    • Avatar
      Carol Ashby March 2, 2017 at 9:41 am #

      That’s the most important job for me, too. The most important for many of us. I pray that I will do it at least half as well as you do, Andrew. You are the best Barnabas I know.

      Praying for you today.

  7. Avatar
    Judi Iverson-Gilbert March 2, 2017 at 7:20 am #

    It’s so easy to misinterpret a comment. Why not provoke thought with a great question? As both a coach and a writer in service in God’s Kingdom, I struggle daily to be salt and light in a world that needs both truth and beauty from the perspective of God’s redeeming love.

  8. Avatar
    Linda Brooks Davis March 2, 2017 at 7:34 am #

    Great points, Tamela.

    Lively without being controversial can be quite the balancing act. Learning to bite one’s tongue is difficult enough face to face, but on social media–ouch! The pain’s never-ending. 🙂

    I’ve removed only two who have disagreed with me, but it was for profanity or name calling. But then I regretted having expressed my opinion in the first place. (I express opinions on my personal page but never on my author page. Increasingly, however, the line between my personal and author pages has blurred.)

    Thanks for the reminders.

    P.S. I agree with Patti Jo. Your heart shows.

  9. Avatar
    Kristen Johnson March 2, 2017 at 8:05 am #

    I love the “bland” variety of posts. I find it’s too easy to say hurtful things when we’re not looking the person in the face, and generally don’t find anything constructive about fighting in the social media space. I haven’t unfriended anyone, but I have unfollowed a few. Like you, I would rather being hope, light, and a dash of fun to Facebook, and not add to the negativity. Thanks!

  10. Avatar
    Nora Spinaio March 2, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    I find you have a few different types of people who post on FB: the encourager which you are and I try to be; the complainers, which there are too many of especially around the p-word; the nothing bad ever happens people, of which I try very hard not to be jealous of; the look at me-ers, usually these people are selling things or pics of their kids etc. I just smile and go on for the most part.

    I believe yours is the better way.

  11. Avatar
    Sue March 2, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    After the incessant rudeness on FB during 2016, I nearly dropped out. I did unfollow several friends. I prefer to use FB for encouraging words that reflect my faith, being mindful that I have non-Christian friends. I keep my posts bland, or share gently funny posts.

  12. Avatar
    Candy March 2, 2017 at 8:33 am #

    I’ve noticed a trend on facebook of people feeling they have to ask a question every day to get a conversation started. I find that slightly annoying because it often seems to spark controversy even if the question is benign. The other trend, other than political rants, is to give way too much information about things going on in their lives. I know people want concern and support when they are dealing with something hard, but it’s almost like they use facebook as a counseling session. I’d rather see roses.

  13. Avatar
    Jeanne Takenaka March 2, 2017 at 8:40 am #

    Tamela, great post. Like you, I seek to not cause controversy, but to lift others’ spirits, often through nature pictures or/and a meme. I share some words and usually end with a question to engage conversation. 99% of the time, this works beautifully. Sometimes, you never know what is going to set someone off. I usually work to be gracious in my responses on the rare occasions when this happens.

    I look at Facebook as a place to engage with others. Though I have lots of “friends” most are acquaintances and I post with this in mind. I appreciate your wisdom here!

  14. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee March 2, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Tamela, thanks for the great posting. I like pictures of my friends and interesting videos, like the gal with the Chewbacca mask (perhaps I ma just easily entertained). Some of my friends are very political and sometimes I read their comments, but not if they are on a rant. I can agree to disagree without being disagreeable, as the old bromide says. I just don’t comment on their comments if I feel that it would cause a problem.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

      Indeed — life is too short to cause problems when you can avoid it and if to do so will accomplish nothing good.

  15. Avatar
    Rebekah Love Dorris March 2, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    Great post. The other day I decided I was TOO bland, so I posted a joke about Trump’s wall.

    “Did you hear that Bill Gates is going to pay for Trump’s wall? The condition is that they install Windows.”

    I thought it was benign, but after posting it I got paranoid. What if my Latino friends misread it as a political jab? It wasn’t, but what if?

    Then I got a personal message from a Latina lady. It was in Spanish, but I could tell it was a prayer for peace, something like that. I froze, horrified that I had gone and offended someone!

    I raced to delete the joke and then apologized to her. She responded that she didn’t see the joke; she just wanted to share the prayer!

    Sigh.

    Anyway, that’s the end of my social media comedy career. My blood pressure prefers bland!

    PS – Praying for you, Andrew.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 2, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

      I hadn’t heard that joke. I think it’s funny and I would have chuckled and moved on. In fact, it seems that no one else thought you’d intended offense since apparently all you got was an unrelated prayer!

      The takeaway value for me on this story is that when people follow you and see your heart, they are unlikely to take offense at a joke. The exceptions would be people who are just “spoiling for a fight” as the saying goes. I imagine more argumentative people would be more fun for them to interact than a gentle soul like you.

      • Avatar
        Rebekah March 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

        I LOVE that joke! Honestly, this was just a good excuse to tell it again! 😆

    • Avatar
      Glenda March 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

      Rebekah! That joke was hysterical. 😀 I know what you mean, though, about considering, reconsidering and sometimes deleting posts on FB.
      I’m on the other side, I think. I gravitate to the cutesy and sometimes easy to overlook pictures. A lot of my FB friends are mid-30’s and sort of hipster. They like edgy, elegant and brainy funny. So, a high-five to you for your fantastic FB content and a prayer for us both to remember who we’re trying to reach and why. (My personal FB page is for fun and my soon-to-be public FB page will be more writing/inspirational related.

      What a blessing you are!

  16. Avatar
    Melissa Henderson March 2, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

    I prefer to see uplifting messages on social media. However, I do appreciate the opportunity to pray for anyone who requests prayer. We all have different opinions and should respect each other. I like to share posts that give people a smile or two. 🙂

  17. Avatar
    Glenda March 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    I find non-controversial FB posts refreshing!

    Inspirational, creative, and comical FB pages catch my eye.

    I’ve only ever unfriended two people on FB. After confronting
    obscene pictures and words with no change and for blatant
    racism.

    Currently, I’m rethinking who I’m trying to reach, what I’d like my
    FB page(s) to communicate, and why.

    Thanks for this thought-inducing post, Tamela!

  18. Avatar
    Virginia C. March 2, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    I understand the sentiments in this statement; however, I was born a contrarian, and usually, immediately start thinking about an opposite point of view. That is to say, if this post had been about reasons an FB post should address controversial issues, I would then automatically begin thinking of reasons FB posts should be bland.

    Therefore, consider this: Jesus warned that his followers would always cause controversies, provoke adversaries, because he stood for the Truth. The question then becomes “”Are we being effective followers and disciples if controversy is not part and parcel of our Christian lives? “

    • Avatar
      Tamela Murray March 6, 2017 at 7:46 am #

      Virginia, yes, I know the “salt and light” verse well, and I’m sure others here do, too. 🙂

      I started to elaborate but the answer got very long. I’m going to see if I can make the response its own blog post. If so, you’ll see my thoughts in a couple of weeks or so. If not, I’ll try to return here to respond in full.

      Thanks for an obviously thought-provoking comment!

  19. Avatar
    Janet Ann Colins March 3, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    When I was a kid my mother made me memorize this poem:

    Boys flying kites pull back their white-winged birds.
    But you can’t do that with words.
    Words unexpressed can fall back, dead
    But God himself can’t stop them once they’re said.

    Of course God CAN do anything, but He doesn’t stop our words.
    (You can probably guess why my mother made me learn the poem.)
    I should search for this poem and find out who wrote it.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 6, 2017 at 7:53 am #

      Janet, I think controlling my own emotions helps me to remember that the Lord is putting His arm over my shoulder and His hand over my mouth! But sometimes even the best of us let unwise words fly. Sometimes words I meant for good weren’t received well, or the way I intended.

      Yes, God doesn’t stop our words, and we might learn by the immediate response we receive from them. When I make a mistake like that, I regret the negative response. A wise missionary told me years ago to “Ask the Lord to blot it out.” I know it’s the power of his blood, but I also used to picture the Lord pouring White-Out over literal words on a page. I was quite young. 🙂

  20. Avatar
    Frenchy Dennis March 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    At a Sunday School seminar on how to teach children, a presenter gave each of us a tube of toothpaste and some waxed paper. She said, “I want you to squeeze out all the toothpaste.” When we had finished, she then said, “Now put it all back in the tube.” Of course, we couldn’t. Then she said, “Imagine the toothpaste as words you have said. Once they are out of your mouth, you can never take them back. So you’ll want to make sure they are kind words and not words that hurt another person.”

    Good lesson.

  21. Avatar
    sherri stewart March 4, 2017 at 6:21 am #

    I enjoy funny posts and share them. I also enjoy writing tips and share them. I don’t like political rants or criticism of other people’s views. I also don’t like ridicule of leaders on either side. I question all the quizzes–how bright are you? What color are you? etc. I also don’t like “I love God” pass it on type posts.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray March 6, 2017 at 7:58 am #

      Sherri, like you, I get fatigued by people haranguing leaders. That must be very demoralizing for them. It makes me sad but my sadness leads me to prayer.

      The quizzes seem harmless and irresistible, but most are mining for information so you’re wise to stay away. I’m sure somehow a quiz on which Disney Princess I am can be used by retailers to sell me shoes!

  22. Avatar
    Niki Slovacek March 8, 2017 at 9:08 am #

    Graciously – SO FAR- I have not had to much negativity when I post about my Non-fiction, pro life book. Talk about controversy!!! Especially with planned parenthood in the news non-stop.
    But I’m passionate about and my story. They can scream from the roof tops all they want- but Gods Mercy is so. Much. Louder.

    Perhaps this post will give me the courage I need to press send, Tamela.

  23. Avatar
    Frenchy Dennis March 10, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Tamela, Just thought you should see how I dealt with this on Facebook.

    It seems Facebook has become a pit of political shout-outs and anger. I’ve been struggling with how to deal with it without shouting back. I got my answer in a blog from writers’ agent Tamela Hancock Murray (Steve Laube Agency) that expressed my sentiments exactly. She said: “I prefer to be a day brightener, not an agitator.” I pray that’s what I’ve been and will always be.

    Thanks.

  24. Avatar
    Shannon Redmon March 27, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    So many being “controversial” comments on Facebook, make the noncontroversial ones more meaningful! Keep them coming! 😊

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Salty on Facebook? - - March 9, 2017

    […] I love the interaction I have with my blog readers, and can usually address their questions in the comments section. But recently, what I considered an unusually provocative question was posed by a reader, Virginia, on my post on being noncontroversial on Facebook. […]

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