I was born in the mid-195os and during career in IT saw the transition from computers that filled basements to the desktop personal computer. I was involved in making that happen in the company I worked for in the 1980s and loved it. I embrace technology, believing it to simply be a tool which is neutral and the good and bad of it coming from how it is used. I’ve held on to that view, but it is very shaky now. Further developments saw the introduction of the internet (I was privileged to see an early version before it was made public) and the rapid miniaturisation of electronics which have resulted in the smartphone and tablet. I have welcomed all of this with enthusiasm. As somebody who likes being informed, I also enjoyed the availability of news at the touch of a button, and signed up for social media with relish, not being an avid ‘poster’ but an avid feed reader. I also loved the immediacy of the medium, knowing what world leaders were saying before it made the main stream media.
These last six months, or maybe longer, have caused me a great deal of angst, however. The stuff I read (making a conscious effort to follow those with whom I disagree as well as agree for balance) has become more personal, more pointed, more sarcastic, more nasty, more intolerant of other’s perspectives, more insulting, more …. dispiriting I suppose. It also made me feel powerless – all these people to whom I am exposed will not be influenced by me (and often just escalate the offensive remarks if challenged) and I turned to prayer.
I was reminded of this, from the Bible: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” and “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things … And the God of peace will be with you.” (Ephesians 4:29 and Philippians 4:8-9)
So, the social media is off, at least for a season, whilst I follow that advice from St. Paul and seek to ponder the pure and noble things of life.