I don’t remember how long ago it was that I opened up a Twitter account. As with most technological crazes, I was slow to come around. As a regular user of Facebook, I couldn’t figure out how this thing called Twitter with all its “Tweeps” tweeting about their life in less than 140 characters was going to benefit me.
But after I was introduced to some people who preferred Twitter over Facebook, I bit the bullet and opened up my Twitter account. And wouldn’t you know, people I had never heard of started following me. And as I started following other people, they started following me back. And the coolest thing was when I had a tweet that provoked thought, people responded and would retweet so that their followers could respond.
But lately, I’ve been getting more and more one-way communication on Twitter. I recently followed someone who is apparently pretty well-known in certain circles. I guess this person would be called an expert. After following them, I got a direct message saying, “Thanks for following me! I hope you find it helpful. Here is more about what I do (link).” And it seems as of late there is increasingly more of that. I really thought the whole point of social media was that we can interact and learn from each other. And I realize that someone with thousands of followers is not going to be able to legitimately follow all of them in return. But that doesn’t mean that those people don’t have things to offer that are of value. I think any time we have people coming to us (following) in hopes of getting good information that we should be in a position to feel like we can learn from them as well.
The other day I was watching The Nines. It was an online, webstreamed, Christian leadership conference where lots of leaders were video taped and streamed in consecutive segments. To make discussion relevant, the speakers were asked a series of questions. One speaker was asked, “Besides the Bible, what books have impacted you most.” And seriously, the guy pitched out two books that he had written himself! Am I alone in thinking (in the words of the 2008 National Youth Workers Convention) that is “seriously ridiculous”?
I’m afraid Twitter and other social media outlets have made us arrogant. I get images of a bunch of us sitting around with long beards, togas, and laptops trying to come up with a profound statement that we can blog or tweet about. And all the while we’re philosophizing about all things Christian, there’s work to be done. I’ll be up front and honest that I do get a little ego-stroke when someone re-tweets a post or responds to a thought-provoking question I’ve asked. But in our quest to learn and grow we have made the quest about being profound rather than about the practical application of our wisdom? Profundity is not bad as long as we are willing to put it into practice. Proverbs 9:9 says “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” That tells me that none of us have arrived and we should always be learning and growing and that we have lots to learn from each other.
I hope I/we don’t reach the point where we feel like we have arrived. Part of the Christian experience is that none of us have made it yet and until we meet in glory, we should keep learning from each other. Do you feel like social media has made some people arrogant?
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