Don’t push the button
Posted on 15 March, 2011 by sampeckham
Buttons are everywhere these days aren’t they? Coffee machines to water coolers, elevators to TV remotes. Most of us even sit in front of 104 of them all day on our desks. But it’s the virtual buttons online that often hold the most power, particularly the ones labeled “Publish“, “Share” and “Tweet“.
John Dyer recently wrote an interesting article in Christianity Today entitled “Not many of you should presume to be bloggers” discussing how social media has changed the way we debate theological issues. He argues that,
What few of us realize is that when we press those “Publish,” “Post,” “Comment,” and “Send” buttons, we are making the shift away from merely “believing” truth and stepping into the arena of publishing that belief.
I agree with that statement, however I’m uncertain of the presumption he goes on to take: that, in doing so we also assume a position of leadership and teaching.
I have in fact wrestled for a while on whether to delve into blogging personally.
As a New Media practitioner I am supposed to, it’s expected of me, as much as tweeting and Facebooking. But my hesitance in doing so is because I wonder if the world needs every New Media professional to regurgitate the same stories and talk about the iPad 2 in a variety of nuances. Even more so as the tide of bloggers and twitter users grows bigger, do we need all the inevitable noise that comes with each new ‘publisher’.
On top of that has been the question of attitude. Consider this:
Can anyone truly blog humbly?
I am sure each time you write you can consider your words, and have a humble attitude toward the subject matter you write on, but is hitting that ‘publish’ button and publishing your content to the world really a humble action?
Perhaps it is assuming leadership when you blog and I have just never thought of that side of it, but whether it has any effect or use must surely come down to your readers opinions and any changes they have in attitude as a result.
For me though, the biggest issue is not so much those who assume leadership by writing the blog in the first place, it is everyone who has access to comment, share and tweet their day to day thoughts. Which, let’s face it is, everyone online. (For example, check out the comments that John Dyer’s post garnered, let me remind you, on a christian website.)
Don’t get me wrong I love the the idea that when we push those buttons we go from ‘mere’ internal belief to outward proclamation. As a christian that gives us many great ways to share our faith.
But as much as we have opportunity to proclaim, what we publish will come under scrutiny of the masses and is not easily retracted. It is far too easy to quick fire a response, to slam a comment or leave a sarcastic remark.
Even if we’re careful not to do that, are we just posting, sharing and passing on noise? Promoting the procrastination and time wasting nature of the internet, rather than enriching and nurturing it?
In an age where everything online is immediate and now, now, now, where we are encouraged to keep feeding our ‘walls’, changing our status, we need to learn to be comfortable with not pushing the button. Happy to accept something ‘totally amazing’ didn’t happen to us today. We need to take stock mentally before we respond and ask ourselves if this issue is really burning enough that I need to wade in as well.
In a world where the current, the now, the immediate defines our relevance, we need to remember as christians where our relevance comes from.
What’s your take?