Most of you have heard me comment on how I believe social media can negatively affect some portion of our lives. But today I don’t want to talk about its effect on our schedules or our community. I want to talk about its effect on me. I took a week off, and you may or may not already know the reason.
For those of you unfamiliar with what I’m talking about or who just need a refresher course, I spent a couple of weeks blogging about a few less discussed spiritual disciplines that God has been using in my life this summer. We have had a few people read and comment on them. Then in the last blog, we had a few people respond with a disagreeing point of view. Now I don’t mind when people disagree with me, but I get my pride involved from time to time and get my feelings hurt the same as anyone. Most of the time I hold my tongue (or my typed response, as the case may be), but unfortunately that day I was careless. In fact I made the same mistakes I was accusing someone else of making. I posted a foolish tweet where I used strong words, calling names really. It was childish and irresponsible. But the thing is… unbeknownst to you, my loyal readers and followers, I AM childish and irresponsible some of the time. We don’t put that in the liner notes or in the media bio, but it is nonetheless a part of my life. I make mistakes. Big ones. And this particular one has made me look at my place in social media very closely this week.
I don’t know how much good my blogging or tweeting does. I don’t know if people are being affected by my poor writing skills and random thoughts. But I am quite sure that at least three people will never be affected by my words, music, or ministry again. I don’t know how to weigh the value of that. Is my offhanded comment going to make enough impact that I should risk the impact of the ministry that I have invested years of my life building and learning how to do? Does my blogging and tweeting really make people feel connected to my music and ministry the way my industry advisors tell me it does? Now, I don’t necessarily want you to respond about me personally. I just want you to think about these ideas, and then let me know what you think.
Social media gives us the opportunity to make very public mistakes. We have more opportunity to offend and hurt with our words than ever. Is that a good thing? I know we have more opportunity to do good as well, but does that actually happen? And honestly, aren’t most people like me, in that good words affect us a little, but hurtful words cut us deeply? Can one comment I make undo however many dozens of blogs I’ve written, however many tours I’ve done, and the five records we’ve released?
I’m not looking for your comfort or encouragement. I’d like you, as a part of the most socially connected generation ever, to walk through this issue with me. I’d like to hear your thoughts. I have already learned that I have to be more thoughtful and wise about what I write. And if any of you have ever been hurt by my words, whether this time or another, first I would like to ask your forgiveness. Second, I would like to hear from you as well. And I promise not to snap back at you this time. Especially not in 140 characters or less.