Ready for some crazy irony? I didn't have social media until I was a senior in high school. And now, my full-time job is as a social media coordinator. 😮
I'm really glad that I wasn't on social media until I was more mature, as let's face it, there's some not so great stuff out there. Being absent from glamorous falsities and the need to feel insecure and narcissistic was freeing, especially during my formative years.
Like for example, have you ever noticed that Snapchat will automatically get rid of all your flaws before taking a photo? I always find this interesting on Snapchat that every "fun" face filter always makes my skin look glowing, my eyelashes long and fluffy, and my face a lot thinner. It's not even like the filters are being advertised to make you look better (in fact, they are often designed to make you look just plain ridiculous), but this is just the automatic default.
Still, I think social media can be a great tool for authentic evangelization. I'm passionate about connecting us through social media, about opening up conversations and communities that breed truth and beauty, not competition or fake perfection. Catholic social media is genuine. It's real, raw, and community-building - if we know how to leverage this tool that God has given us.
Here are some tips to being an authentic Catholic on social media:
If you have to take more than 10 photos to get "the perfect one," you may want to check your intentions. I'm just as guilty of this myself - but if you have to take multiple selfies or living room shots with numerous hair and makeup or adjusting breaks, it might be an indicator that you are posting more for yourself than for God. God thinks you and your house and your car are perfect just the way they are, and people tend to like more authentic posts anyway.
Share the messiness. Similar to the above, being an authentic Catholic on social media starts with being an authentic person on the platform. This doesn't mean you have to go TMI, but it also doesn't mean you have to sugar coat everything. Being a Catholic, a parent, a business owner, etc. is hard, and it's okay to express doubts, fears, and chaos to help make yourself a little bit more real.
Respond to others. Catholic social media shouldn't be a one way street. Make sure you are replying to comments on your own page (it helps remind people there is a real person behind a brand) and also commenting and reacting to others' posts as well. The #1 thing that people use social media for is to connect with friends...make sure your church, business, school, etc. is viewed as a friend by just being friendly with others on social media!
Be a witness. I used to always say to my sixth grade religious ed class, I'm not expecting you to walk into school tomorrow, throw open the door, and pronounce Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That's probably not going to work. Rather, witness to Christ on social media the same way you do in real life. You don't have to put it in people's faces, but sharing a religious image or song or talking about Mass online is a nice, subtle way to include your faith in your online image.