Always Think Before Posting to Social Media

Rachel Kent

Blogger: Rachel Kent

Social media is a great tool. It can be used to connect with friends, readers, colleagues, family…nearly everyone is on some sort of social media these days–even my dad, who dislikes social media, looks at my mom’s Facebook account. He does not have one of his own though. ๐Ÿ˜€ He lurks behind her name.

Posting to Facebook or Twitter (or Pinterest, etc.) about your writing journey is great, but it’s important to think about what you post before you put it up. Here are a few examples of why you should be careful.

1. You ask for prayer because your deadline is approaching and you aren’t sure you are going to make it. <–This could be fine–unless you have also been posting all about the various vacations you have been taking and how much you tend to procrastinate. If you happen to be friends with your editor or someone from your publishing house, they might see this and could be more critical of the work you turn in or might even pass you up for a future writing opportunity because they see that you aren’t taking the time to do your very best work on the projects you have been contracted for. (And please always do try to make the most of the entire time you have to write your book!)

2. You post about ALL the things happening in your life.ย There’s definitely a benefit to this. Your friends and family should be aware and likely do want to know what is going on for you. But this might not be something that needs to be shared with all of your friends. Consider having two accounts–one personal and one for business. Or maybe start a group with family or close friends for posting the more personal items. Save your status updates for things that are beneficial for all of your friends to see. You don’t want people to have a negative impression of you based on your oversharing to those who are not close to you.

3. You constantly post about your money troubles. In most cases, this is one of those things that should be shared only to those closest to you. It’s a private matter and 99.9% of the time one of your friends has worse trouble than you do and isn’t talking about it online. If it’s on a GoFundMe-level of need that’s one thing, and I do believe in helping people who are trapped by some awful turn of events, but frequently posting about not being able to afford luxuries is not good. If it’s a “first world problem” we should avoid posting–especially if you are posting to your fans or potential readers.

3. You post something about someone else assuming they will not see it.ย Careful about this! I would go so far as to not post anything personal about anyone without their permission. This happened to a friend of mine. An acquaintance of hers posted about something my friend’s child said to another child at school. The thing her child said wasn’t a nice thing, but her child is only 5. Many of the acquaintance’s friends popped on attacking the young child in the comments. Crazy. The acquaintance assumed it was okay to post this because she isn’t friends with that mom on Facebook, but I assure you anything you post online isn’t private.

The moral of this post is: It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to posting on social media. Use it as a tool, but do so carefully and thoughtfully.

Happy Posting!

Do you have any social media tips to share?

18 Responses

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  1. Toni Wilbarger says:

    Be encouraging. Be real. But don’t be real to the point you’re spilling your guts at every turn. I have some Facebook followers who see the bad in every situation and post all the ways the world is against them. And on the opposite side, I have a few who post a million pictures of their kids and grandkids and gush at every opportunity about how wonderful life is. They use every super sweet term of endearment known to man and come off as totally fake. Let’s face it, no one’s life is THAT wonderful. (And I have stopped following some of the hyper-critical ones.)

    I also would suggest we search through posts on our timeline a few times a day and hide ones that have foul language in them. Sometimes people have no qualms about posting these from their other friends, and it ends up on our own timelines. I can just imagine a potential agent scrolling through my timeline and seeing these. And be careful also to check out the name of the page they’re posting from as sometimes the page titles themselves have vulgarity in them. Just my two cents.

  2. May these words that I post
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
    From Psalm 19:14

    Who says the Bible isn’t relevant to today’s technology? Not me.

  3. The only suggestion I can make is to use the same criterion you should be using in writing, that of making your social media posts a ‘value added’ for the reader.
    * I write (and post to social media) about the process of dying because it’s been a doorway in whose passage I have finally learned how to live. There are things I’d rather not share; the occasional despair, the mistakes I can no longer fix…and, well, incontinence. But skating over those would make the message inauthentic, and perhaps invalidate it, because the most beautiful flowers grow from the nastiest soil, and hope burns all the more brightly against the fall of night.
    * It isn’t about me; it’s about the only gift I have left to give.

  4. Great insights, Rachel. I try to share the positives. And to not write anything online. If I’m having a hard day, I might rarely state something along the lines of “It’s been an ‘I wish I could move to Australia’ day.” Referencing “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
    *I share some personal things, but again, I try not to be negative. Not posts that make my life appear Pinterest Perfect, but real with a thread of God woven through my words, if that makes sense. ๐Ÿ™‚
    *You’re right. The deeply personal things in our lives rarely have a place in social media. Once it is out there, it’s written in permanent ink on the internet.

  5. Carol Ashby says:

    Set your timeline posting options to only you. You don’t want something you’d be ashamed to post yourself being inflicted on your friends and followers.

  6. Yikes! Yeah, since my husband and I work at a Bible camp we try to be very careful about what we post, since we are representing our Lord and everyone knows where we work. Sometimes it is a hunt to find something fun and friendly to post that is also true. But I usually manage to find something.

  7. Rachel, it’s funny you say that about your parents. Mine are the opposite. My dad has the Facebook account and my mom lurks. Like, LURKS. Do I remind them that I am 55 and can say what I want? Yes. Am I 14 in their eyes. Yes? Do I get in trouble? Umm, yeah. And over the lamest stuff. Yeesh.
    Social media is great, but I tell people all the time to keep your dirty laundry in the laundry room, to remember that once you post something, it is out there forever!!
    Also, if you don’t want creepy people from your past to find you, get off Facebook. Blocking works only IF it works. And NEVER put your phone number or your address on your Facebook page for the world to see!!!
    My brother and I got found, and “outed”, by a half-sibling (who we only knew about from whispers and old documents) very much against our wishes. The person who did the finding turned out to be harmless enough, and is an emotionally healthy individual, but his sister put me through the ringer and let’s just say that DNA does not always make a person “family”.
    And don’t be surprised if someone from the good old days friends you and then lo and behold, this married man wants you to ask your sister if she still loves him. You know, from when they were in high school. THIRTY FIVE years ago!
    Social media is a big ocean, but some spots are just stagnant water, full of slime.

  8. Jenny Leo says:

    These are all great tips, as are those in the comments. I’ll add one small tip particularly for Facebook. If you belong to a private Facebook Group for support on a particular topic, and you write a sensitive post intended only for that group, double-check that you are indeed posting to the group and not accidentally to your regular profile. Thus sayeth the Voice of Experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Over the past year or two I’ve become a master of the deleted comment and post. I write it… then read it and delete it if I decide it isn’t worth the likely back and forth it will likely initiate.

    I’m fine with having strong opinions – I have a number myself, but I also realize that the chances of anyone’s mind on either side being changed by a back-and-forth on Facebook are extremely slim, and there are many other things I could be doing with that time.

  10. Sarah Sundin says:

    I love this, Rachel! Before posting, I always think, “Do I want my husband, kids, parents, in-laws, pastor, editor, boss, and non-Christian friends to see this?” If not, DO NOT POST! That pretty much covers all the bases. I don’t embarrass my kids (when in doubt, I ask their permission). I don’t whine about my husband. I don’t tell about private medical conditions. I don’t gossip, especially in prayer request form. I don’t make political rants. And my only Christian posts are uplifting. Each of us will have different standards, but these have served me well.

  11. Mary Kay Moody says:

    Timely reminder, Rachel. Nice to stay in touch with far-away friends and family ~ but must remember it’s like posting a note to them on a billboard along I 95!

  12. Rachel thanks for the great post. Oh, I am back, and it feels wonderful! I just read all the comments and appreciate all your input. I just was able last month to go to my first MN NICE (Minnesota chapter of ACFW) last month. I hadn’t been since our November 2017 NANO event. I have really missed my writing friends, meeting, and this blog!

    UPDATE: It all began as some of you know, with my sister almost dying from an infection in her hip with a metal implant from 2006. The infection spread from her hip to her blood. I was with her and my brother-in-law while her first week in an intensive care unit a little over two hours from my home. I slept a total of ten hours that week as I watched over her with my eyes glued to her and the vital signs monitor. I was a miracle that she lived. She, her husband and family are nonbelievers. But they have found out there is a God and the power of prayer. She ended up having five surgeries to get rid of the infection, the last her hip implant was removed, and an antibiotic spacer was put in to get rid of the infection.She had no hip from mid December 2017 until March 28th, 2018. With the agreement of my dear husband, I and our little Shih Tzu,Peanut, basically moved in with them Jan 7th through April 10th to take care of her and help with the household. April 10th, her post op check up, she had a good check up, and is now convalescing using a cane, after having used a walker for a month. Through out this time God moved, and although they have yet to make a commitment to Christ, they have said, even though they are not religious, there is something to prayer. In fact, one week later, while I was home in church with my husband, my sister texted me about my youngest brother having had a difficult thing happen that day, and that she was asking me to prayer as I had powerful prayers. I assured her I would, and prayed my brother would contact me on his own. Mid-afternoon of that Sunday I received his text requesting prayer. Long story short, the next morning when we were able to talk, within twenty minutes, he had acknowledged his need for the Lord, and prayed a prayer of repentance and salvation. Before he prayed, I explained what repentance meant, and what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ, along with a few other things to make sure he understood what this commitment meant. There were other wonderful things God did to confirm his love to my brother, too long to share here. But he is the first of my siblings and their families to become a Christian in the true sense, not an institutionalized Christian, but relational. I have been waiting and praying for forty three years. I have discipled many people, but this is my first family member other than my son. It is such a blessing, and almost seems surreal after waiting so long. He even made sure I understood how sorry he was for talking about me behind my back about my faith. It was very important for him to let me know he was sorry, especially when he said I was always doing something to help someone. I just sent him his first Bible this week, and he is so glad. He had one from his confirmation over thirty years ago. So, isn’t God good, and amazing. I am beyond blessed.

    Regarding posting on social media, even though I am more of an open book, my sister is much more private, and I had to respect her as could only post updates and prayer requests on my Facebook that she gave me the okay for.

    Regarding writing, I am dying to read the back posts at least the ones I see from this past week because they all look so interesting, and I can always learn more, or be reminded of things. Oh, I have really missed this blog, but I was so exhausted and just had so little time to even myself. Even since I have been home, I have been playing catch up. Now grad open houses, Mama B (that’s me) picnics, time with my son, future daughter in law (the wedding is this September 15th, and my husbands and my 25th wedding anniversary is on Sept 25th which also makes it a golden anniversary, helping one of my dear daughters in heart with an August book launch, AND attending the 2nd Northwestern University Christian Writers’ Conference in July! Even now, I am sitting in Panera just so I can finally get on the blog, and continue to write in order to submit some pieces for competitions the conference is holding and also a new book I am pitching.

    Cynthia, remember when you encouraged me to collect my humorous letters from Great Aunt Lizzie that I wrote to my friend’s daughter while she was at church camp? Well, I did, as well as adding to them. Her mom actually was the one who was like, “Betsy, we love Great Aunt Lizzie! You have go to write more. ”

    Anyway, I know this has been a long response. I guess, my update is making up for lost time. Even now, I smile. I love this writing community and lover Books and Such for having such a wonderful blog. Thank you all for your prayers. Andrew as always, love your comments, and keeping you and Barb in prayer as I have dear friends in the same situation with pancreatic cancer that has metastasized, lots of pain, and about two years in with nothing really working anymore to abate the cancer.

    Okay, I have to get to my wrting…after I read a few more posts. ๐Ÿ™‚