Questions to ask yourself before engaging in social media

Social media is a funny animal.  On one hand, it allows us to connect with people across the world, keep up with far-away family, and network like never before.  I would not be where I am professionally without it.  For many reasons, I am grateful for social media.

However, there is some baggage that can come with being so connected.

10 years ago when you weren’t invited to a party, you might not even know about it.  Today you can feel left out in two seconds by opening up your Instagram feed.

10 years ago, you had to work hard to nonchalantly drop an important name in part of a face-to-face conversation.  Today you can name drop in front of thousands of followers on Twitter.

None of us are immune to this, and we all fall on both sides of the coin.  I’m sure I’ve bragged on Twitter before, and just last week I let myself feel the pang of not being invited to something because of Instagram.

And so I’ve been thinking about how we can be more intentional in our social media use.  

Questions to ask yourself before posting on social media (

Let’s just go ahead and say it: Someone is always going to feel offended or left out.  There is no way around that.  BUT, we CAN ask ourselves a few questions before posting a photo, sending a tweet, or updating our Facebook status to make sure we’re not just being a jerk.

Questions like:

  • “Is anyone I care about going to feel bad if I post this?”
  • “It is worth taking a picture right now or should I simply enjoy the moment?”
  • “Am I just showing off right now?”

I came up with 5 different reasons we post to social media (I’m sure there are more than 5, but these are pretty common).  3 are good reasons (Green light: Go ahead with that Tweet!), and 2 are not so good reasons (Red light: Don’t post that on Instagram!).

Questions to ask yourself before posting on social media (

The three green circles are about making memories, promoting someone else, and living in community.  The two red circles are about feeding the ego and easing a guilty conscience.  Like I said, I’m guilty of blowing through those red lights more than once, but I’m trying to be more intentional these days.

And before we finish up here, let’s take a minute to talk about our responsibility as “followers” on social media.  If you are following someone’s feed who is consistently causing you to feel left out, guilty, or insecure, UNFOLLOW THEM.  I’ve had to do that before!  I was following someone on Instagram that constantly had me trying to measure myself up against her.  And you know what?  She wasn’t doing anything wrong.  IT WAS ALL ME.  Which is why it was my responsibility to unfollow her.  And the minute I gave that up, I felt better.  Ahhhhh, a sigh of relief.

What do you think?  Are you tired of social media?  Do you ever feel left out because of it?  Do you think before you tweet?  Do you ever live in the moment and put your phone away?  Am I missing anything here?  I would love to hear your thoughts.


  • tam hodge September 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    love. love. love.

    this can be such a beast. and it’s definitely a hot topic right now. even with the best intentions there is a risk/chance of hurting somebody with an update or photo. it’s so tough. tho, i have certainly been challenged recently to find my motivation of why to post such and such…

    there is a quote that goes something like… “i know what i told you but i don’t know what you heard.” i think this sorta applies to some social media. we can put up the most innocent celebration pic/status and unintentionally hurt someone. i know my own insecurities can mess with my thoughts and self-worth, big time, when it comes to social media. it’s why i’ve, also, been so convicted lately. i love what you said about us taking our own responsibility. sometimes i just need to celebrate others.

    love that you wrote this. thank you!

  • Stephanie Church September 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    On more than one occasion I’ve started on a 140-character rant and then hit the “x” before posting. But I’ve also gone against my best interest and posted anyway. As I grow in wisdom, my goal is to do much more of the former than the latter. 🙂

  • Rexton September 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Very well said……The social media is where we should be able to give people something new for people learn, or something for someone to laugh about. But there is always as you said someone out there will get offended, can we stop doing what we are doing,,,,,definitely not. ………….. by the way you have a great site ………..cheers

  • Brittany Miller September 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    My husband and I went to a concert on Monday and we had MINIMAL cell phone use, only took one or two pictures/videos. It was so amazing to just live in the moment and spend quality time with my husband! I cherish that time more than I would any photo from the concert! Great post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Samantha Scruggs September 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    I totally agree with you! It is so hard not to look at everyone’s vacation pictures, restaurant visits, fun activities, family-loving photos and think to yourself: do I have that relationship with my kids? Do I ever enjoy the moment? Will I ever get a vacation? It sucks that I can’t ever afford to eat out, etc. But it is really important to realize we are all in different places in life! I often times have to sign out of facebook to stop feeling inadequate, but I also have financial goals I am trying to reach and can’t afford to spend lots of money on various activities. Doesn’t mean I don’t love my children any less or have any less fun with them! It’s all about perspective.

  • Jackie September 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I feel the same way! After many occasions of not feeling so great about my own posts or feeling hurt by others, I, as well, have been challenging myself to only post “green lights.” Thank you so much for posting this!!

  • Aggie September 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Love this post!!

  • Erika September 5, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I do not do social media and after listening to my friends I’m glad. They are always talking about what so-and-so did or said in a negative way. Actually, I should say that these people are no longer my friends because I didn’t like being around that. Also every party invite was always posted on Facebook and when you don’t have Facebook you don’t get invited – apparently it was too hard to go out of their way to actually text/call me for the invite. Wow – I kinda sound like a baby writing that 🙂 Anyways, in my experience with it I have not heard anything positive about so why would I want to be part of it? I can see the good in it (for connecting with family, staying in touch with true friends, work, etc.) but I think the bad is outweighing the good and I’ll just stick to good ol’ fashioned mail and phone calls.

  • Liz Woodfield September 5, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    This very much needed to be said and I needed to hear it. LOVE this post!

  • Danica @ It's Progression September 6, 2013 at 6:20 am

    You bring up some great points here…I’ve unfollowed people in the past because they post a lot of pictures (almost daily) of having run really far mileage. It makes me feel like my 3-miler wasn’t good enough, and that’s my own issue – I just figured if I don’t see it on my news feed anymore, then there won’t be that “reason” to be negative about myself!

  • Courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run. September 6, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Really good post! All very good points.

    I have unfollowed people before because of my own issues. I’ve also unfollowed people who were constantly negative because I didn’t want it bringing me down.

  • Are you living a double projecting yourself differently online than in real life? September 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    […] here’s one idea. Blogger Alysa Bajenaru tried to hone in on what sort of reasons are likely to prompt us to post online and then she asked […]

  • Lisa @ RunWiki September 9, 2013 at 5:00 am

    I think all too often people just don’t think before they speak or act. Social media has magnified this, and then it’s there permanently to remind the person it has hurt. These are great tips especially for people who use social media platforms on a daily basis.

  • Bean Bytes 54 September 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    […] about it: Questions to Ask Yourself Before Engaging in Social Media via Inspired […]

  • Devon September 12, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Totally agree. A lot of people don’t think before they tweet and once you’ve put it out there, its there forever. Also not a fan of the negative people as it affects you whether you realise it or not. Great post, thanks.