The Internet provides lots of opportunities to speak up and be heard. Social media services like Facebook and Twitter, news websites and blogs are just some places where Christians can have a say.

Many news websites allow readers to post comments at the bottom of a news story.

The media often use these comments to measure public sentiment. They are an important tool for shaping public opinion and the views of opinion makers in the media.

Many media outlets, however, moderate the comments submitted to them online. This means that if a comment does not comply with its guidelines, it is not published.

This can be because the comment attacks someone personally, or it strays from the topic at hand.

So, how can you ensure that your comments are published in news articles?

A few general rules apply:

  • Don’t post material that incites hatred or violence

  • Don’t attack someone personally; make the comment about the issue/s at hand

  • Keep comments relevant

  • Avoid ‘SHOUTING’ i.e. don’t write all in CAPS

The Sydney Morning Herald has published some relevant articles that go into detail about commenting on news sites. Use these as guidelines for posting comments on other media outlets too, including blogs and Facebook:

Consider some of the following options to help you make the most of the opportunity to have your voice heard about issues important to Christians today:

  • ACL’s Pick of the Day’s news. ACL compiles a daily media monitoring service of stories of interest to the Christian constituency, including on marriage, family, human rights and religious freedom. Use this list to find stories you may wish to comment on. Check the ACL website each morning to access the list.

  • Spread the word. Encourage your Facebook friends and Twitter followers to comment on blogs and news sites.

  • Post often. Most websites allow you to post multiple comments. Each time you visit a news story, try to leave more than one comment. Check back throughout the day and keep participating in the discussion.

  • Create an account. Some websites will only let you comment if you first create an account with a password. To save time, set up an account in advance so you’re ready to participate in the discussion.