Tag Archives: social media

Mastadon and Life Markers

MySpace. Peach. Periscope. There are a lot of social medias of which I am officially still a part of but no longer access. I don’t even have the apps – are there apps for these still out there? I use FaceBook for people around me use it. Done Snapchat, TikTok, and more. Still use Twitter and Instagram, and now I use the Metaverse with my Oculus Quest.

Yesterday, I joined another platform – Mastadon. While joining was simple, there is still much to learn.

Interestingly, I was prompted to join Mastadon from someone’s Tweet. Twitter lead me to Mastadon. Maybe it was a disenfranchised ex-employee of Twitter. Maybe it was a techno geek. Don’t know.

Now, joining had an unusual twist – you had to join a platform, a social group that was hosted by someone who wants like minded people connecting. It might be geographical – quite a few European groups. It might be by interest – politics, tech, and so on. But, there was no religious group – no group of association by faith – either Christian, Jew, Catholic, Muslim, anything. Weird.

There were some Christians. I found a few as I skimmed the individual descriptions. So I followed them, saw their followers, connected there … then vowed I wold return later for more surfing. I learned quickly, one of the best ways to identify like minded people and toots (their verbiage for Tweets or posts), and concepts is hashtags. So I searched # possibilities, and it was where I found some like minded Mastadonians (?).

Hashtags. Identifiers. Tag markers.

First – This is a powerful tool, but one that the one posting has to be aware. Without hashtags, messages might be missed. Without identifiers, posts could be overlooked, ignored, and never seen.

Second – We all have identifiers, whether we use hashtags or not.

Third – This is misleading tool, one that could be deceptive. A hashtag might be connected that has nothing to do with the actual post. It could be a misleading bait that might open one to harmful and even dangerous.

Soooo, I look at this in relation to my life. What hashtags am I putting out there on my life? What are the identifiers that I want people to connect with me? Are the identifiers true? If I say I am a caring person, but people that know me disagree, what good are the hashtags?

How do people know you? What are the identifiers with which they associate with you?

In the next week, I will become more acquainted with Mastadon. And in the next weeks, I will pay more attention to my life’s hashtags.

Ouch! Was My Ego Bruised?

Social media, SM, can be brutal, even if it’s a site that’s geared for Christian fellowship and advancement. Or, am I being too sensitive?

This week, on a FB group page, a thread was started that asked … “What is one thing you wish you could tell your pastor?” Over 200 comments later, I posted something. And I wished I hadn’t. I try so hard to be an encourager and to be a positive influence.

The overwhelming majority tried to give sound advice but most often the advise was given from a hurt and broken persona. They criticized, they gave their opinion, and they mostly spoke against traditions or structured church polity.

In the church world, the principle of deconstruction is gaining momentum. Deconstruction means to take apart a tradition, belief or practice for the purpose of understanding reality. With so many disgruntled or hurt or disenfranchised with something or someone in the church, a question like this just gave a platform for many to criticize a person, to tear down what many of them believed is a wrong way to do church. And the way the thread flowed, it was most about pastors specifically.

So in this mess, I posted … maybe a better thing to do would be to encourage pastors. Tell them you’re praying for them. Tell people how they love the way their pastor has impacted them _____________________ .

Encourage. Edify. Pray for.

Yet the thread moderator declared openly on the thread that I was arrogant, lacked humility and … well, I was part of the problem.

Ouch.

So I direct messaged the moderator. Apologized if taken that way, but I hoped I could be an encourager. I wrote a blessing for him and backed out of the thread. I’ll think twice before posting again.

How can we stay positive. Karen Swallow Prior wrote an article for Lifeway a few years ago that gave nine manners to have on social media to stay positive …

  • Treat the others on SM like they are people, for they are.
  • Be yourself.
  • Use SM to serve people, not to build a platform.
  • Talk to people, not about them
  • Don’t exist in an echo chamber (interact with peeps who think different)
  • Remember, you will account to God for every idle word,
  • Be known for what you’re for more than what you’re against.
  • Do nothing from selfish ambition … rather value others above yourself.
  • Make sure the fruit of the Spirit is visible in your interactions.

Do these, and maybe you can be used as a positive influence for the Kingdom.

Messing With Scammers

Image result for internet scammersI got a text in the last hour from a source who said they were Verizon and that my phone data and phone account is now locked. I needed to contact a specific number. Now, considering my recent awareness and update of my data plan, I simply knew this was not the case. So I thought of calling them back using a different number (like the church’s fax line – do we have a fax line?) or a pay phone. But I don’t think Evergreen, Virginia has a pay phone. I was going to call and just give a lot of bogus info just to mess with them.

Interestingly, a recent poll said a lot of people trust phone companies to protect their privacy. I mean Apple has some great security procedures. What a majority of Americans don’t trust is social media platforms. There are a lot of reasons to be weary of social media apps – and some just has to do with idiotic postings of ranters and idgits. Some has to do with obvious slants of the businesses themselves. And some are just tired of the cat videos – I mean, how many do you have to see to realize dog videos are simply better. But a big issue is privacy. What do they do with your information? Who has access to your account? Are the pictures you post yours, everyones, or now the property of FaceBook? And how come items I delete seem to reappear? And it seems every update makes me redo security settings?

After National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed details about government surveillance programs starting in 2013, 30% of adults said they took steps to hide or shield their information and 22% reported they had changed their online behavior in order to minimize detection. (from Pew Research) Here are some basics you can do to help security while using these sites ..
– Keep checking your privacy settings regularly
– Always create strong passwords and use different passwords for different sites
– Ensure that people you connect to/follow/add as friend must be known to you
– Always analyze your post before posting
– Never enter/ click suspicious links
– Never forget to set up your security answers
– Always keep an anti-virus installed and updated on your computer/ phone
– Never leave a site logged in

But what does all this mean in our life when we look for a positive use of social media. Relevant Media had a great article on 8 things Christians need to do more of on social media. Here they are …
1 – strive for connection, not attention
2 – be transparent, but not too transparent
3 – ask yourself: could I say this same thing in front of someone?
4 – don’t buy into the “Say what needs to be said” culture
5 – learn to listen better
6 – avoid stirring the pot with the articles you share
7 – no racist comments
8 – avoid being mean to bloggers

Social media is a great tool – just be cautious. And through it all – do it all for the glory of God.

See you tomorrow.