A friend of mine shared the following article on his Twitter account and it caught my attention. This is slightly ironic considering this article is about the isolating, maddening societal effects of online social networks such as Facebook, MySpace (if such a thing even exists anymore), and *ahem* Twitter, but we’ll let that slide for now. 😉 Predictable impressions aside (such as how this reminds me of Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, or David Platt’s book “Radical”), what struck me as I read this article was that even though I fully agreed with the points made in the article about how we as Americans are inventing the very things that are killing us as a culture, I still find myself here – sharing this with you via an online network of sorts.
The idea of a blog is appealing. You can reach more people and oftentimes it gives you a medium through which you can express your opinions without fear of peer review or censore. But is that really beneficial in the long run? Yes, it may allow one to “get everything out of her system” in a sense, but in doing so it removes any motivation to discuss thoughts and feelings and beliefs with other real human beings – face-to-face. So, there is a loss of interaction, and with a loss of interaction comes a loss of dialogue, and then a lack of accountability. With no accountability one becomes more comfortable saying whatever she wants however she wants with no regard for such things as “line of reason” or “intellectual honesty” – things that fellow human beings who are similarly committed to dialogue would demand. This leads to “sloppy language, which makes sloppy thought possible” (Michael Bauman).
So, as you read this post and the article, think about how many real conversations you have in one day. Are you just a passive consumer? Taking in whatever drivel happens to float by on your Twitter or FB feeds? Or are you intelligently engaged with the world around you? Able to distinguish the Truth of the Christian worldview from the deceptions of the philosophies of the human tradition? I challenge you to take one article, one piece of news, and don’t just consume it – investigate it, dissect it, discuss it with a close friend (or better yet an enemy), protagonize/antagonize it. I promise the results will surprise, if not intrigue, you.