Rules of Engagement

I have been trying to figure out how to continue to get the benefits I feel I am getting from using Twitter and Facebook, while minimizing the negative effects.

Positive benefits:

  • ability to maintain a connection with friends and family I do not often see
  • exposure to communities/identities otherwise under represented in my social and professional life
  • opportunity to share my own creative work: blog posts, poems, songs, hymn texts

Negative effects:

  • reduced attention span
  • wasted time
  • emotional agitation
  • rhetorical escalation
  • influence of fake news and toxic opinion on my own thinking
  • fixation on the opinions and approval of others
  • productization of my personal life and data
  • monetization of my participation by awful people

It is clear to me that the benefits I am currently receiving are not worth the price I pay in negative consequences. Less clear is whether the posiive benefits can be expanded and the negative consequences minimized enough that it is worth continuing to engage in social media.

The following (in progress) guidelines are an attempt to lay out the circumstances under which I believe this could happen.

Appropriate Facebook posting

  1. Regular, public Facebook posts should only be used for:

    • personal life updates and news
      • pictures of friends, family, food, or fun
      • conversation about my own life and the lives of the people I am talking to
      • poetry, songs, and hymns I have written
      • poetry, songs, and hymns I find inspiring
      • links to things I have written or produced, and links to news articles or blog posts by others, provided that:

        • I can vouch for the accuracy of the content.
        • I believe the content is interesting and valuable to my friends.
        • The content is not politically inflammatory.

    Specificially excluded are:

    • Inflammatory opinions about church, theology, liturgy, politics, economics, or similar topics.
      • Strongly held opinions about topics in which it is possible to be an expert, but in which I am in no way an expert.
      • Passive-aggressive reactions to other posts.
      • Rants of any kind.
  2. My own thoughts and opinions about non-personal topics are best expressed in a relevant group or forum where people have chosen to discuss that topic.

  3. Any post longer than two paragraphs should probably be a blog post instead. Write the post as a blog post, and then decide whether and where it should be shared.

  4. If I am unsure whether or not a post is acceptable according to above criteria, it is not acceptable.

  5. Posts appearing in Memories which violate any of the above shall be deleted.

Appropriate Twitter posting

  1. Twitter is for posts about tech or church.

  2. Twitter posts may contain controversial or even inflammatory opinions provided that:

    • I have verifiable knowledge, experience, or expertise informing the opinion.
    • The opinion can not be construed as a personal attack on those who disagree with the opinion.


  1. Automate as much as possible.

    • Make it easy to write a blog post and share it.
    • Make it easy to cross-post appropriate posts.
    • Make it easy to check if a post violates the above guidelines.
    • Make it easy to post without seeing other posts.
  2. Set limits on consumption. Enforce those limits with tools and automation.

  3. Prefer blog posts and essays to short posts. (Both in reading and writing.)

  4. Use ad-blockers to minimize my monetary value as a user.

  5. Block and/or mute toxic people and content. Block and/or mute people who repeatedly share verifiably fake news or clickbait.

  6. Do not rely on social circle for general news.

    Find a handful of actual news sitessources and subscribe directly.

  7. a. Check privilege. b. Consider impact. c. No mansplaining. d. No rants. e. No endless, mindless scrolling.

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