If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to Tweet about it, does it happen?
That was the question that I posed to my philosophy student friend, Dave. His response, “No Tweet? Never happened.” Of course, he’s totally kidding (I hope), but it brings up a relatively disturbing point: at what point did social media become so incredibly anti-social?
Now, I’m all for using the internet to communicate with other people (I write this blog, don’t I?) My company’s workday is about 95% telecommuting. I keep in touch with my friends around the country and the world via Facebook and Twitter. Besides that, I’ve moderated several forums and an IRC channel over the years. I know how much good can come of social media. I also know how much bad can come of it.
There are basically two ways a social media platform goes down: A) quietly, without so much as a death whimper, or B) in a fiery explosion of flaming and ranting that leaves everyone ticked off. In my experience, it tends to be the second.
Silence is an art form – this coming from someone who, by all accounts, can talk a camel into sprouting wings. I’m like most Americans in that I have strong views about politics. Very, very, VERY strong views. And, like most Americans, I had little trouble sharing them. I just opened up and let ‘er fly.
Then God challenged me, two days after New Year 2012: spend the entire year without once sharing my political views. Some of you may remember this resolution, and how it turned out for me. (I got off a month early, after the election, but only to share this message.)
Talk about your paradigm shifts. For the longest time, I thought I had a corner on political (and otherwise) truth. I had the best solutions, and everyone else was crazy. I know I am far from alone in that flawed sentiment. (If you doubt it, read the comments on the online news sites.) Now, for the first time, I realized that all my political views, even the correct ones, were in some way wrong!
(Serious post alert.)
In my view, truth is absolute. I know that’s not popular, but I’d argue that if science is absolute, what makes us think that moral law would somehow not be? That said, I also believe that this absolute truth is multi-faceted, like a diamond. That diamond is solid, but how light is affected when passing through it depends entirely on the interaction of these various facets.
But I digress. I’m getting a little tired of being painted as narrow-minded because of my beliefs. At the risk of stepping on some toes here, no, I don’t support homosexuality. At the same time, I don’t HATE anybody. Some of my best friends on my college campus are gay, and you know what? They’re pretty cool people. If they ask me for my opinion, I’ll give it respectfully and clearly, and listen to theirs. If they want a civilized debate, I’m game. If they don’t, I’m going to respect their right to differing beliefs, and I’m not going to force mine down their throats.
I’m coming right out with it: yes, I am “genius.” I don’t remember my exact IQ score, but it is up there. At last check, I’m right around the threshold for Mensa, which I have no actual interest in joining.
Truth be told, however, I don’t like telling people. I generally just tell people I have a “high intellectual metabolism.” When I say “genius” or “high IQ,” they get weird ideas in their head about me and what I’m capable of.
So let me set a few things straight…