Control Your Social Media
Brother Felmar Serreno: Social media has become a big part of everyday life. Many use it for good, but many also use it to spread things like misinformation, fake news, immorality and the like.
Brother Felmar Serreno: How can you tell when something on social media is actually bad for you and is it even that big of a deal? Stick around and let’s find out.
[On-screen logo graphic]
Brother Felmar Serreno: Welcome to Vantage Point. A new show brought to you by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ). And we’re broadcasting from our INC Media Services Satellite Office here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Joining me on the show are Natalie Fitzpatrick and JR Dongalen.
JR, Natalie, how’s it going?
[On-Screen text graphic]
Minister of The Gospel
Bro. Felmar Serreno
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: Hi, Brother Felmar! Hey, JR! How’s it going?
[On-screen text graphic]
Brother JR Dongalen: I’m doing well, good to see you both again
[On-screen text graphic]
Brother Felmar Serreno: So, getting right to it, according to a blog entitled, “The Seven Different Types of Social Media: published on Biteable, these are the types of different social media platforms: Social Networks, Social Review, Image Sharing, Video Hosting, Community Blogs, Discussion Sites and Sharing Economy Networks.
Now on the seven that were mentioned, I’m on three. How about you guys?
Brother JR Dongalen: I’m pretty sure, I’m on all of them.
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: I think I’m on five of them, but definitely not all.
[On-screen Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick and Brother Felmar Serreno]
Brother Felmar Serreno: Well compared to the both of you, it looks like I have some catching up to do. But anyway, here now is the focus. On a scale of 1-10, how careful are you when using social media? So, one would be like, not too concerned about who’s posting, as long as it’s entertaining, I’ll read it, I’ll watch it, I’ll consume it—and 10 would be, I’m always fact checking, I’m selective when it comes to opinionated content.
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: That’s a tough one! I’d say I’m probably around…. I want to say I’m careful, but I’m not that careful, I don’t take social media that seriously, so I’ll say six. I spend a lot of time on entertainment content, so tutorials, DIY hacks, just fun videos, stuff like that. But when it comes to news, I’m definitely a lot more careful. So, if I see a headline, on Facebook, for example or in my newsfeed somewhere I will definitely look into the article, and not just take it for face value and I’ll compare that with citing sources.
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: While we are on the topic, here’s some valid info about misinformation and false news, from an article by MIT.
They say that false rumors spread faster and wider than true information. Falsehoods are in fact 70 percent more likely to be retweeted on Twitter than the truth and reach their first 1500 people, six times faster. Can you believe that? It’s mind blowing right! But I don’t know—what about you, JR? What would you say? On a scale of 1-10?
Brother JR Dongalen: On a scale of 1-10, I think I’m an 8. Like most of the time, I’m reading, watching or like I consume content that’s fun and enjoyable. Most of the time it has to be something that I laugh at. But I don’t know, I like to think I have a pretty good sense for inaccurate content like you mentioned, like you know fact-checking and knowing these sources, you know obviously working in an industry that revolves around, you know content and social media. I studied journalism so it’s kind of like one of the biggest principles is fact-checking and making sure that everything that you report on, consume, use a resource is like a hundred percent true and it’s impartial so–
Brother Felmar Serreno: Considering that social media is among the things we use in this world, I’d like to share with everyone an important principle that we should live by.
Brother Felmar Serreno: It’s written in the Bible, here in 1 Corinthians 7:31 in the New International Reader’s Version..
[On-screen text graphics]
“Those who use the things of the world should not become all wrapped up in them. The world as it now exists is passing away.”
[1 Corinthians 7:31 New International Reader’s Version]
Brother JR Dongalen: Sorry to jump in, Bro. Felmar, but the Bible doesn’t prohibit us from using social media or developing tech?
Brother Felmar Serreno: It doesn’t, per se. But when using social media and all other things in this world there is a word of caution. What is it? The Bible tells us we should not become all wrapped up in them. So how should we deal with social media, especially when it is being used by others to spread false information? We should be careful and not careless. Now I know JR you studied communications and journalism and currently you manage and produce digital content for work. So, in your own words, how is it that someone could use social media carelessly?
Brother JR Dongalen: There are a lot of ways a person can use social media carelessly and… Nat just jump in if you feel like you have something to add too, I mean one of the biggest ways that people can get caught up in a messy social media situation is you know what they repost or they reshare. You know oftentimes like a user or someone using social media might think that what they’re posting is entertaining or hilarious which is most of us anyways like you know like we think things are heartwarming and elicits like a really good form of emotion right? Sometimes it doesn’t really occur that you know they shared something that’s like a photoshopped image, could’ve been doctored, and you know if someone is gullible, someone might not understand some of these forms of sarcasm or tampered jokes—it could lead to some pretty serious deception. So, you know based on the content you’re consuming, you know the algorithm which is essentially the plot pattern of content appearing on various feeds, that kind of stuff is gonna show up so much more. For someone like me, if I’m engaging with basketball content often you know–most of you all know that I am a sports head, I love everything that has to do with it—so that’ll appear more and more over time and that’s the truth.
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: Is this why I keep seeing NBA pop up in my explore page now? It’s you isn’t?
Brother JR Dongalen: Yeah, it’s probably me. I’m sharing it on my story all the time and interacting with it, right? So, it’s like, you know, it’s the same thing. Social media—we become desensitized to a lot of things like violence, verbal abuse, negative conversation, inaccurate facts, you know so many more issues like—but you know nowadays some of these platforms are actually taking steps to like filter out some of these deceptive or harmful forms of content, so it’s nice seeing that progression over time.
Brother Felmar Serreno: What’s another guiding principle that should be remembered when using things of this world like social media? We’ll read now in
I Corinthians chapter six this time verse twelve in the Easy-to-Read Bible, it says
“I am allowed to do anything,” you say. My answer to this is that not all things are good. Even if it is true that “I am allowed to do anything,” I will not let anything control me like a slave.
[1 Corinthians 6:12 Easy To Read Bible]
Brother Felmar Serreno: Here the Apostle Paul stated, “I will not let anything control me like a slave.” A slave obeys whomever he recognizes as his master.
Now as Christians, what should we never allow to master us or overwhelm us? Anything that leads to immorality, sin—and this also includes things like gossip, fake news, or slander. We should not have a part in producing these things or sharing them. So now I want to ask Natalie: As a member of the Church Of Christ, how do you protect yourself when it comes to dealing with social media?
[On-screen-Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick & Brother Felmar Serreno]
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: Honestly, uhm like anything I’d rather not hear about, it’s in one ear and out the other. I’d like to think that the best way to not get wrapped up in what’s online is to understand that we’re not a part of it or we don’t have to be. And while there are so many heated discussions taking place that can be full of toxic energy, you know the best way to keep it from seeping into your mind and festering is to just keep it away. It’s like the saying goes right? Out of sight, out of mind. And like JR already mentioned earlier, the algorithms on most platforms now generally feed you more of what you already click on or spend time viewing. So, if you’re constantly clicking on negative content then that’s all you’ll ever be fed. But if you’re spending more time watching uplifting videos, reading inspirational quotes or sharing puppy videos, you’ll be sent a boat load more of the like. So a great defense is to spend more time on the things you love or that put a smile on your face. This way, those posts that make you feel good will pop into your feed and you don’t have to worry about seeing all that negative stuff anymore.
Brother JR Dongalen: I agree with that Nat, uhm honestly one of the things I love to do is like take a break when I need to. I remove myself from social media, I unfollow, block, or mute people and pages that don’t have a positive effect on me or my life. There’s also all of the official Church sites and pages; you know following these pages, engaging with the content and sharing it brings a balance to my social media experience. Listen, I know people might not be like “Oh, it’s not the coolest content,” or “It’s not like TikTok trends,” but every official INC post, piece of content or official INC page offers you know, really valuable content and counsel for our lives. It makes a huge difference if we are consuming positive content all the more if it’s you know from our official Church pages and sites.
Brother Felmar Serreno: Exactly! If we do have questions or want to deepen our understanding on our Bible-based teachings in the Church Of Christ, let’s access the official pages or websites of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), like iglesianicristo.net, incmedia.org. We also have official accounts of the Church on platforms like Facebook or Instagram or YouTube. Or even better, set up an appointment with a minister of the gospel in the Church so that our queries will be answered, and we can even be prayed for by the minister. This brings us to the end of this episode, JR and Natalie, thank you again for joining us on the show…
[On-screen logo graphic]
Sister Natalie Fitzpatrick: Want to learn how to curate a feed for happiness? Check out our blog page on incmedia.org. Give us a thumbs up below if you liked this episode. And give us a follow on Instagram at vantagepoint.inc for more content.