I understand your concerns. Some of you distrust Facebook because of your worries that your identity could be stolen or that pediophiles are lurking in the links and could target your family. And, unfortunately, some people may take advantage of others through social media (that’s putting it mildly). I still favor using social media and all the positives that can come from it, but I don’t have my head in the sand either about real issues. You can, and should, prayerfully decide how involved you want to be.
Social media can be a fun, get-to-know-each-other party, or at least a where-have-you-been reunion, for many users. Non-users may be put off by Facebook, for example, associating it with dumbed-down conversations and meaningless messages, but social media can be so much more.
Social Media Has Significant Impact
Whether or not you use social media, and for whatever reason, why not use these tools to make a difference? Your voice can be heard and change begun even from your laptop, using social media. I’m sure you’re aware that social media can have a significant impact. For instance…
- A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, killing 220,000 and destroying 280,000 buildings, mostly residences. Almost immediately, Facebook and Twitter launched communication support and fundraising campaigns. The American Red Cross alone received $7 million in 24 hours by encouraging people to make $10 donations on their mobile phones.
- On April 15, 2013, three people were killed and 264 injured by bombs detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The FBI allowed a runner to post a photo on Facebook which contributed to the quick identification and capture of the suspects.
- You may have noticed the hashtag, #WeAreN, or the Arabic letter “N”, on your friends’ profiles (see photo). These social media users are drawing attention to the brutalities of ISIS, who mark homes with the first letter of the word “Nasrani,” or “Nazarene,” identifying followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Is putting this letter on your profile making a difference? It may be too early to say with any certainty, but recent airstrikes and airdrops of supplies helped tens of thousands escape a siege on Mt. Sinjar.
- Also recently, the ice bucket challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) has resulted in nine times what the ALS Foundation normally raises in the same time frame, $15.6 million.
For Good… and for Bad
Unfortunately, distressing things also happen because of social media. This news article from July just came to my attention: Facebook Page Publishing Identities of French Jews to Encourage Attackers; 15 Men Reportedly Assault 1 Jew in Paris Suburb after Confirming Photo. An anti-Semitic page published 32 names, contact information, and photos of French Jews in order to target them physically. A few of them were attacked before Facebook took this page down. The attack described in the article involved 15 men wielding iron bars against one man. Apparently, this is not the only Facebook page to encourage violence against Jews. (For more information, see the note below.)
What Can You Do?
Social media can be a useful tool to discuss important issues and raise awareness through transparent, in-the-moment, two-way communication.
You may already be doing many of these suggestions, but maybe you can try something new:
- 53% on social media start a conversation while 69% join a conversation, so start a conversation and stay with it.
- Send emails to friends and to influencers.
- Raise awareness for prayer and for action through social media.
- Like and then follow fan pages of causes. (Don’t forget about them in the “noise.” Click the gear to the left of the Facebook pages listed in your home page left sidebar to move it up to your favorites at the top of the sidebar.)
- Like and then follow people making a difference in these causes.
- Share articles as well as Facebook and Twitter posts. (Please read them before sharing.)
- Blog about something you care about.
Most of eQuipping for eMinistry’s (e4e) readers want to change the world through introducing everyone to the person of Jesus, so I ask my readers:
Are you using social media to raise awareness of what you and your team are doing? Do you have suggestions how to use social media to change lives?
Do you need help getting started with a Facebook page or on Twitter?
Are you using social media in a meaningful way? What will you start doing differently?
- 8 Tips for Using Social Media for Social Change.
- For further information about rising anti-Semitism in Paris, I recommend this article by my dear cousin, Jennifer: Gaza Protests in Paris: Pro-Palestinian or Anti-Jewish?
- These two posts can help you decide how you might want to respond to the brutal genocide in Iraq. The persecution includes other minority groups, such as the Yezidis.