The (Cheap) Pulpit of Social Media

Cody Ray Charland | Dec 2, 2010

Last Sunday, Stevie Johnson of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills dropped a game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. This is an almost weekly occurrence for any type of football, something that most fans and players have witnessed or experienced. Although he rushed out of the stadium after the game was over, Johnson voiced his feelings through a tweet saying:

One of the many beauties of social media is the concept that everyone is now freely granted a platform to communicate. All it takes is an email address and a pulse. The stage is at equal height and ability for everyone to voice their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to anyone who will listen—namely your Friends and Followers.

But the danger lies in that the majority of these unearned (cheap) platforms are the same ones that are most noticeable and publicized. Text has always been an ally to the human voice, but is quietly seizing our influence thanks to digital means. It’s a shame that despite all the faith-based material that was uploaded/tweeted/posted this weekend, Stevie Johnson’s tweet was the most reported and circulated. Many late night shows, bloggers, and writers have widely criticized him since. He later regretted and attempted to clarify his intentions on Tuesday.

How unfortunate is it that scarcely any actually heard his cry but millions saw it?

Students now have equal footing with your voice thanks to digital text and social media. Their friends are seeing their opinions and activities on the same level as the youth pastor, adult, or parent. In fact, it’s all in the same window most of the time. But here lies the advantage: YOU have equal footing in THEIR world as well. You’re setting an example that gets publicized just as fast as anyone else.

So before you post, upload, or tweet, consider:

  • Is this how I really feel?
  • If I want other people to see this, what do I clearly want other people to know from it?
  • What does this say about my faith?

Cheap platforms work both ways. Post carefully.

Cody Ray Charland

Cody Ray Charland is a second year MATM student at Fuller’s Pasadena campus. He holds a BA in Physical Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As Project Assistant with the Fuller Youth Institute, he handles social media, and helps with writing, technology, and research. He was formerly a Young Life leader as well as Youth Pastor at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, NC. Cody enjoys the outdoors, all things Tar Heel, and barbecue.


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