Even if you don’t have twitter, you’re not far from it. Tweets are often shared, not just within that medium, but also on Facebook, blogs and other social media apps. When sharing good news, it’s great that it can be picked up beyond its own space. However, how often does it really happen that good news gets passed along?
It’s so easy either on our mobile phone or tablet, to send our first reaction in about 140 characters. Sharing a local fundraising event or word of a good deed done is a great way to pass on positive messages. But when it comes to topics that are controversial, it seems negativity is what is passed on. Do we really know enough to be able to condemn so quickly? Would we want to be judged based on so little knowledge? Do we realize that our response could hurt others?
Social media was initially thought to help educate others about different points of view. In reality, it seems to bring people who have the same point-of-view together and give them a forum to express, not just their thoughts, but their emotional reaction to other viewpoints. Using social media to hold a public figure or a company responsible for their actions, can be beneficial to society as long as it is done respectfully and honestly. But continued bashing of a topic, person or company is more like a virtual mob than a tool for change.
I wonder if the Bible were to be be translated in the cultural speak of the day, would Jesus be quoted as saying: ‘Let the man among you who has no sin send the first tweet.’ (adapted from John 8:7) A first step to countering this negative trend could be to start looking at our own responses, even if it’s after the fact. As we get more aware of our reactions, perhaps we can wait 5 minutes to let our emotions cool and think about a positive way to respond instead. Another option may be not to respond or share at all.
If we are followers of Jesus, we need to receive the peace He brings to us and pass that on to others. Let the peace of Christ begin with us and be evident in all our words and actions, even down to the smallest tweet.