Social media at its best has a simple goal: to connect people around the globe, using technological advances of the modern world. That instant connection can offer so many wonderful new opportunities in our lives but there can also be a negative side to being connected to so many in so many places.
If your social media feed sometimes leaves you feeling stress, hurt feelings, and confusion, don’t despair. There are actually many corners of the social media world that can brighten our days, and challenge us to inspire, create, laugh, and love one another-- we just have to seek these places out. Here are a few of my favorites.
A writing family centered around Christ
Five Minute Friday (@fiveminutefriday on Twitter, Five Minute Friday Community on Facebook) was founded by author and blogger Lisa-Jo Baker in 2011, as a way to stop and write in the midst of busy days. What started out as a simple writing discipline became a way for fellow Christian writers to connect to each other from all across the world. The premise of FMF is simple: every week, a one-word prompt is given over Twitter, where writers chat and discuss various topics together during a weekly Twitter party, using the #fmfparty hashtag to unite us. The task is to set a timer and write on the prompt for five minutes, no editing or revising, then you share it in a weekly link-up so others can read and comment on your post. In 2014, Lisa-Jo handed over FMF to fellow blogger and author Kate Motaung, who has hosted the weekly blog link-up and Twitter party since. The goal behind FMF is to equip and encourage Christian writers in online community, and it is a community I have been proud to be a member since 2015. If interested in learning more about Five Minute Friday, please visit www.fiveminutefriday.com.
Fun ways to picture faith
Don’t let the silly name fool you. The Twitter feed for @HJY (Hood Jesus Yo) is full of culturally relevant quips, memes, and GIFs with a faith-filled spin. Founded by Luke Lezon, a young pastor out of Arkansas, HJY uses modern-day attention grabbers like memes and GIFs to share Jesus to the Twitter world.
In an interview with the website Project Inspired, Lezon said that after seeing a similar account about scientist Bill Nye, he wanted to “see if he could use a similar slang, ‘youth-speak’ approach to see if we could help people see Jesus through that.” And he’s done just that! Simultaneously hilarious and thought-provoking, Lezon has found a way to meet an image-driven and humor-seeking generation where they are, all the while preaching the Gospel to young people.
The (online) world is our parish
And finally, for plain ole’ UMC everything: follow all the UMC social media channels!
The United Methodist Church is a social church, both off and online! Following the UMC’s various social media channels is a way to stay connected, find pertinent information about the doings of the Church as a whole, and engage with fellow UMC members and clergy.
To begin filling your news feeds with UMC goodness, follow The United Methodist Church (@TheUMC on Twitter and Facebook), United Methodist Communications (@UMCommunication), Rethink Church (@umrethinkchurch), and United Methodist News Service (@UMNS). Once you followed those, find your specific church and follow them, along with UMC pages that are of interest (such as UM Women, The Upper Room, Global Ministries, etc.). Using your social media channels to inform, educate, and empower us as members of the UMC is one of the most constructive ways to spend our time online.
There is plenty of darkness in social media; but if we try, we will find the Light of the World in the online world.