a short do’s and don’t’s

With the good and bad of the internet practical what do we do?

I talked about connecting and begin authentic. Not presenting some kind of crafty self image but rather and honest reflection. What does all of that mean?

Do:

  • Share in others happiness and brokenness
  • Point people to love, grace, hope
  • Like, retweet and message people often
  • Where possible connect face to face
  • Connect with the number of people you can stay connected to in honest and real relationship
  • Be gracious and promote unity
  • Be open to others. Their beliefs, ideas, frustrations.

Don’t:

  • Be self serving
  • Make every post or comment about you
  • Grasp for attention
  • Make your rightness more important than unity, love, and grace
  • Pick fights
  • Be defensive
  • Connect when you don’t really mean it
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apathy, likes and life of compassion

You could make the argument that tools are neutral.

A knife can be used for good or evil. I could use it to provide shelter/food/safety or for harm and darkness. I think this is why you hear people talk about things as a double edged sword. Good and bad.

The internet is very much the same. We talked about opportunity and connections yesterday and how the interest does so much for someone with intent. But wow do we ever misuse it. We abuse this tool in some really powerful ways. Like with so many tools, when we abuse it people often end up hurt.

It doesn’t take much to find the harsh and evil side of the internet. Go read a comments section on YouTube and you’ll get it.

But I think it can also build apathy for us.

“Well I said happy birthday on Facebook, what more do I need to do?”

“I liked all their pictures I don’t understand why we don’t connect better.”

“Of course I love my community I Facebook/tweet/email all the time”

The internet is the perfect space to, with almost no effort, present yourself as someone who cares. This is by no means universal but it’s so easy to do. So easy to like all the right things and share all the “proper” links so every can see and know how great we are. And then be done. No action, no follow through, nothing.

It’s so easy to be harsh and cutting to someone sharing a dissenting opinion when we don’t have to see them face to face. So easy to pick a fight and show how righteous or smart or whatever we are.

So easy to not love.

So easy to try and be right, forgoing unity and grace.

I’ve often wondered how true a representation of ourselves the internet is.

Is it the ultimate who we are when no one’s watching? We can look at things and no one will know. We can be cutting and mean because no one knows we wrote it. Just a screen name. It’s in a space where our local community will never see it. Does our real self come out when we know there are no eyes on us?

I don’t know but I wonder some times.

Facebook is the opposite. A perfectly crafted image of the person we want people to think we are. All the right movies, books and causes. Witty posts all to present some sense of togetherness or wholeness.

We have to be so careful to be consistent. That love dominates our online selves the way we try for it to dominate our offline self. We don’t get a pass because it’s the internet. We don’t stop being a disciple once we log on.

Even if no one knows it us.

worth comming back for

I think about duality a lot. Something that is two ends of the same spectrum.

Grace and judgement. How do we blend them? How do we choose? When?

Stuff like that.

For me the internet is a prime example of this sort of duality. Spend any time in a comments section and you’ll see unfetter anger and misplaced rage.

You can also see videos and read stories of people changing the world. Giving themselves to a cause and making real change.

The internet allows for relationships to grow and develop in a way that I don’t think was present before.

I sent a Facebook to an old colleague of mine who is working in Senegal. 10 years ago that wouldn’t have been possible. I don’t have an address or a phone number. I only found out he was in Senegal because of Facebook.

The chances and opportunities are amazing.

The internet is a tool like anything else. I can be so good and it can be so bad. But with intentionality and love and grace it gives all of us a chance to start, build and deepen relationships with people who we couldn’t before. We can’t take it for granted. We can’t miss these ways and spaces for connection.

It’s so easy to drift into an ego centric internet experience. Read what I write (I see the irony), look at my pictures, like my status, all of the me, me, me stuff.

But in reality it’s a chance for a type of compassion that’s new and exciting. The internet is a place and space where we can be about what Jesus was about, love and grace.

Those are stories and experiences people will come back to see and read about again and again.