For my regular radio segment this week on the Son Rise Morning Show, Brian Patrick and I will be discussing ideas and techniques for keeping online conversations charitable and Christian in tone. So often across the blogosphere and now in our social networking arenas, we find folks feeling more free to express themselves with vitriol, anger and downright meanness. And ironically, this often occurs during conversations centered around faith topics.
Radio Producer and author extraordinaire Matt Swaim and I were having a conversation this morning about this topic. I shared with him my frequent references to a particular quote from Pope Benedict XVI in this year’s World Communications Day message:
When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others.
I also shared with him the photo you see here – my personal reminder to always share online using three watchwords: Respect, Dialogue and Friendship. These, of course, harken back to the 2009 World Communications Day Message and tend to be my personal test for whether or not to post a thought or idea online. Very often, I find myself not meeting these benchmarks mentally and having to restrain myself in writing.
What thoughts, ideas or guidelines would be on your “checklist” for commenting or interacting online? To get you started, here’s a suggestion from Matt Swaim:
I often read what I’ve typed aloud in my charitable voice, and then read it aloud in my snarky voice. Which voice will others think I mean?
What’s on your checklist? What helps you to remember to interact in a faith-filled way online?