Why God Doesn't Tweet
By: Nick Chrisohon
I have noticed a startling trend occurring in social media. From the constant updates on my Twitter feed during General Conference to the chicken-based controversy in late summer, and amidst other polarizing issues and scandals, social media has become the hotbed for sharpening one’s ability to cut others down with sarcasm and snark. Politicos of all stripes post memes, videos, and small comments to strike out against those who disagree with them. Whenever a new scandal comes to light, I groan at the thought of the uncompassionate tête-à-têtes that are to follow.
Why is it that our collective social vocabulary has moved toward indirect sarcasm and snark? I do not think this is solely a text-based concern as the same language and tactics are prevalent in other forms of media such as television and film. We love to be as cutting as possible while still toeing the line between debate and direct insult.
On that note, I find it amazing how powerful the phrase, “I disagree with you,” can be. I honestly do not believe people are actively out to slander and snap at each other, but the ability to politely disagree seems to have vanished in the digital realm. When politely saying, “I disagree,” I have observed a temporary calming of tense situations. It is as if those words say, “we should probably stop this for now.”
One could argue the loss of peaceful co-existence in comment boards and Facebook walls stems from the perceived sense of distance the Internet offers. Avatars and profile pictures do not convey a person with a history, a face, and feelings; however, unless our technology has developed personal opinions and trolls the Internet when we aren’t looking, faces and histories and feelings are what fuel these conflicts.
A personal mentor of mine – we’ll codename her “Momma” to keep things simple – once told me to always live above reproach. If someone says or does something you feel is inherently problematic, you should request permission to engage him or her in dialogue. Be aware that others have histories and experiences that shape their opinions and motives. If you choose to engage a person, my advice is to engage with love and compassion.
Love and care for others is the message I read in the gospels. You may have read them differently. If so, feel free to contact me so we can talk about it.
Discussion: What can you do to better show grace and mercy in the midst of a debate? How can you let others have their opinions and views in love while still respecting your own?
See more devotions from Nick, and our other Young Adult writers, or find out how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.