So the social network/web/outlet debate has only begun in our society. The wonder of networking mediums is amazing. We all have stories of connection that we could only dream would ever happen again. Some of it is heartbreaking. Other times it’s awkward. There’s those moments when you wish you hadn’t (re-)connected.
And then times when you were hurt because others felt that way about you. Those passive-aggressive posts/tweets so often scream, “Notice me, care for me, help me.” And other times they’re perceived as such only to be completely unintentional. Have you seen personal vendettas taken out on there? Awkward. Especially for those of us in a feed having a thought to share in attempts to have a mature conversation.
Truly everything that was created by God was created for good. But it also has the capability to be used negatively, for selfish means and as a tool for Satan, the prince of this land we find ourselves in. I have seen people so blessed by something someone says to them via social media. And I’ve seen people hurt so deeply by the same. And it’s funny, because in both situations, words can be interpreted incorrectly. It’s true for anything. God creates the human bodies & sex, and it gets twisted all wrong by what we create it to be: a temptation, a god, a money maker and a temporary pleaser. EVERYone has this struggle. We can certainly be focused well on Jesus and the calling in which we find ourselves, but all of us have experienced this – no matter what kind of human you are (and yes, there are many kinds).
What else? There’s sports. Great activities and awesome fun – and great for your health. Paul even discusses it in 1 Corinthians 9:24 ff. It’s a great analogy for our spiritual lives. It’s said again to young Timothy as well. In each case it urges us to live with spiritual discipline BEFORE physical. My have so many taken what is good and twisted it to not only deify their bodies, the gym and their pride; but we (myself included) have made sports, the entertainment that it is, into a god. What’s the difference between people chanting over a fire with sacrifices and people ripping the head off a mascot (or each other) at a game.
Television, movies and other forms of entertainment are also good. Jesus went to parties. Many have used film for spreading the gospel and touching on meaningful issues that can enact life change. Yet obviously it has gone awry. I don’t even need to mention a show – you can probably think of one (but of course none that you watch!). Hmmm…
Now I’ve taken social media, sports, movie, television and other fasts before and I can now pretty much tell when I am getting addicted to something. My response to addiction 9 times out of 10 is to quit it cold turkey, ripping the bandaid off quickly, and often bashing whatever it is that had a grip on me like Venom had on Spiderman. What’s more, I have experienced almost all of the above situations & I’m guilty of almost every last one. Thank God, there’s one I haven’t. Facebookcheating.com. If you want your stomach to church and be moved simultaneously to anger and tears, check it out. Stories of folks whose spouse had cheated on them as a connection from facebook (often times old flings). There’s even people on there who share their story and rationalize it because of certain factors. If there’s abuse in the current relationship, get out! But don’t go getting into another. Unwise. Unhealthy. But it’s not unintentional.
All our choices with what we post, tweet or share are choices. They’re intentional. And we have the opportunity to use them for good or for evil. There’s probably a few neutral things in there, but you know what I mean.
I’m a verbose person. It’s why I like blogging so much. But it’s interesting because blogging is often more for myself than anyone else. I mean, even if others are blessed by it, selfishness creeps in and I want to know how/why/when. It’s as if I want my impact to count. Clearly there’s nothing wrong with this desire, I do care about people and their lives. But so often we want to know how we have affected people’s lives more than we want their lives affected. It’s why we like the “like” button so much. We know the feeling when someone “likes” something we have to offer and so we want to share that with them as well. And sometimes when we post on their comment, we want others to post on that which we posted on theirs. See how we get? I’m not a pinterest guy, but I’m guessing you want to know people are re-pinning your stuff just as much as finding what others pin. We want to be important!
I guess what it all comes down to is discernment. Should I or shouldn’t I? And why? Is it for me? Is it for others? Could this potentially cause harm? Will it potentially encourage? Now there’s nothing wrong with something we say being for us. But it ought not cause harm in the least. My wife takes hours to write one email. I joke with her about her meticulousness in it. But it’s wise. She pours her mind and heart into it and delves deep into how others might perceive every word she says. Reading Proverbs 11-14 this week, I must say that it’s Biblical. What we say counts and we can’t take it back. And maybe better put is what we communicate always says something.
I’ve used Ephesians 4:29 over and again in my life and others’.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths [and I might argue fingers, eyes, hands, ears, etc.], but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 ESV)
There is great hope that what we communicate, listen and discover can impact people’s lives for the better. Yes, how and what we listen to can be a huge deal. But it’s by God’s grace that it even can! We are simply offering our communication through Him and by the Holy Spirit in our lives. This stuff is of paramount importance.
Maybe I should tweet this.
1 thought on “On tweets, posts, blogs, the like button, social media, etc.”
I’m not kiddin when I say I was thinking about this topic this morning. I have been (mostly) off Facebook for the past…I guess it’s getting close to a month now (been on to make sure my notifications don’t get out of hand and for a few youth things, but not reading or interacting), and I am to the point where I wonder why I even use it.
Connection is nice, but does it take the place of face-to-face connection? I think for me, it does too often. I love when I take time off Facebook because it lets me see how much time I am spending connecting on there versus on the real world and forces me to actually talk to people.
And why do I say what I say on Facebook? There’s totally this “look at me!” attitude about it way too often. Sometimes it’s for others, but often it’s mostly for me. I blog, and I find that I don’t have that problem nearly as much on my blog and I think because my mindset is different. I write what I do on my blog at least as much for others as for myself. But Facebook is “my” space to show off, not for healthy meaningful interaction.
It’s tough to just quit, though, because like you mentioned, it can be used for good, in my life from others and in others’ lives from me. Getting to that place is the tough part. It’s out there and it’s possible, but it’s just a battle to attain. And then there will always be people who take things out of context, judge you (and they often find this easier on places like Facebook rather thab real life…I can’t count how many times people have said things to me on FB that have absolutely shocked me and made me think “wow…didn’t know you felt like that, I guess we’re not on as good of terms as I thought..,”), and generally work to undo whatever good can come out of the vast world of social media. I know i am guilty of all counts above, too. I just wish the rules, boundaries, and wise advice about what is good and what is not good to say online was more obvious and well known. (This whole post makes me want to go scour the Bible and other wise places and come up with my own rules governing my use of social media…hmm…)