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.