It’s the gray-colored question millions of people are asked every single day before they update their Facebook status.
Facebook has been a significant tool in the hands of millions of people around the world. There can be great benefit to this tool. But Before you answer that gray-colored question yourself on your next Facebook status update, ask yourself these ten questions first:
- What is my motive? This will save you from a lot of trouble and bring perspective. It may even help you filter out what you say and what you choose not to say.
- Will this matter in a month? If not, we’re just adding to the digital noise. In that same vein, it’s worth asking: am I bored? If so, don’t post. Status updates done out of boredom should be eliminated entirely.
- Is this wise? Another angle: will what I write embarrass my grandmother? There are too many examples of unwise Facebook updates to count. Some are funny. Some make you cringe. Others than to make you cry.
- Is it worth it? Put differently, is what I am about to say even necessary?
- Does everyone need to read this? If your update is intended for one person (or a small number of people) send a private message, not one that will end up on every single one of your friends’ pages.
- Am I encouraging conversation or shutting it down? Many updates are declarative statements that can come across as condescension or expertise. The best updates invite conversation – many that include a question to engage friends in discussion. Consider asking a few thoughtful questions.
- How’s my tone of voice? Am I being passive aggressive? Angry? Am I complaining? Boasting? Preachy? Whiny? This is very significant to keep in mind – especially in this election season.
- Is this honoring? Am I dishonoring others (or am I honoring myself too much?) Facebook can be a place that encourages shameless self-promotion. Derail this trajectory on your account as much as you can. Life is not about you. It’s much more interesting when we have a posture of ‘hey, there you are!’ than ‘hey everybody, look at me!’ Remember: it’s very meaningful to honor others and their uniqueness, personality, thoughtfulness and giftedness in public.
- Is this truthful? It’s easy to put our best digital foot forward in venues like Facebook, highlighting the good but ignoring the bad. Make sure you aren’t lying – or even telling the truth plus or minus 10 percent.
- Could I be investing my time more wisely by doing something else? This would eliminate a significant amount of Facebook status updates worldwide if we all asked this question every time we logged in, wouldn’t it? Remember: life is short. You only live once. Go live it.
Are there any other questions you would add to the list? I’d love to hear your suggestions.