Have you seen the show Blue Bloods? Great show—I mean, how can it not be with Tom Selleck? Do I hear an amen??—that focuses on solid family connections and deals with tough, current issues. The most recent episode made me sit back and go, “Wow. I needed that reminder.” So I’m going to share the gist with you, because it’s something we all need to keep in mind.
In the show, Tom Selleck plays Frank Reagan, the police commissioner of NY. His father was the commish before him. His eldest son is a detective, his daughter a D.A., and his youngest son a policeman. In the episode, “Loose Lips,” the daughter of Selleck’s D.A. daughter is turned down by the college of her choice after they discover Tweets from her saying hateful things about one of her teachers. Then Selleck’s dad, the former commissioner, is at an event having a private conversation with a friend, telling him how they did things in his day. As you can guess, it’s not politically correct. Unfortunately, a waiter records the conversation on his smart phone, then posts the video online—and all H.E. double hockey sticks breaks loose.
So what does that have to do with us? Just this: thanks to social media, it’s never been easier to share our thoughts and opinions about the world with the world—or to have other people share them. I enjoy using social media to share what’s going on in my life and to keep up with others—like my younger brother and his family who are at Disneyland as I write this. However, like the girl on Blue Bloods, I’ve been known to post a rant or two. And what I realized watching the show was that we writers too often lack something important with social media that we have with writing…
Those people who read what we’ve written, then help us make sure it’s not only well written but that we’re not saying things in a way that can hurt others. Or ourselves.
I can’t count the times I’ve read posts, tweets, pins, blogs and so on that blast frustration and anger. I’ve seen it from Christians talking about other Christians, from congregants talking about churches, from authors taking about publishing and/or and the people in publishing, from people talking about how much they hate their jobs or bosses or spouses or politicians or…whatever. I can guarantee you that people who are considering you for something–be it a job, a publishing contract, a writing opportunity, as a writer they want to read—will check you out through social media. So ask yourself: “After reading what I put out there, will these people want to have anything to do with me?”
Yes, we want to be transparent and honest, to share our struggles and joys, but let me give you a caution that my father whispered to me long ago—one, frankly, that I keep whispering to myself:
Not every thought that comes into your mind needs to be shared.
Especially not in a public forum like social media.
Because, my friends, once you put something out there, your words can gain a life of their own. And if they’re angry, hateful words, there’s just no taking them back. Not even by deleting them. And the hard truth is that what we write often doesn’t reflect so much on the object of our posts as it does on us.
And the Lord we serve.