Sometimes twitter and facebook seem like a receptical of self indulgent banalities: messages of “just got home” “brushing my teeth” “I love ketchup with pickles” and other such messages seem to be strangely self indulgent and sometimes they even border on what could be called ‘twitter farts’ in that it may be just as well to try to keep them to yourself out of politeness to the rest of those around you. But lately, particularly with the recent events in Iran where thousands of people are using Twitter to stay in touch as Facebook and even internet have been closed down, I’ve changed my mind and now I think that like most things, Twitter can have great social redemptive uses and as most earthly things its value should be judged by HOW it is used. I think its clear that criticizing Twitter because you see it used in silly ways is probably a legalistic narrow viewpoint somewhat like those who totally condemn alcohol use because they have seen negative effects from it, or those who totally condemn guns because of criminal use of them, or who totally condemn dancing because they’ve seen it lead to other behaviors they dissapproved of in some cases.
I think there are posts which can prompt others to thoughtfulness and new insights, and so I try more now than ever to think about the social usefulness of my posts and comments. I mean, of course we all need to express ourselves, and some do that through facebook and twitter– and thats OK. But it just shouldn’t be done without constraint like some sort of internet blackhole.
So while now I am more convinced than ever that Twitter and Facebook and other social networking tools on the internet can be used for good purposes, I think we need to see this as a stewardship issue– we have some responsibility to use these for the good. I still believe that they often are used for pretty self centered banal purposes. I realize that it is a matter of degree and balance, and a bit of silly facebooking or twittering is harmless, and I love to do it. But when significant time is wasted on these and most all of the postings are frivolous at best, then I think stewardship issues arise, for any Christian who sees their life as having a worth and purpose for their Creator. I mean, what in the world are we wasting our lives doing down here?
I know I waste a lot of my life on stupid frivolous activities (look at my dumb DVD collection). Its hard to know how to spend one’s time– thats part of the difficulty. But lately I have been more able to see how that we can use technology resources in twitter and facebook to do good and prompt others to thoughtfulness and responsiveness, without eliminating the laughter too… May God have mercy on us all– and on our twittering and facebooking…
check out this article on the twitter revolution in Iran from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/06/17/DI2009061702232.html