I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Some days I want to divorce myself from all of it, press the delete button and never look at another Facebook page. Other days I spend far too much time looking through the pages and pictures and eavesdropping on others' lives.
I have a Facebook page, and I do Twitter. I am "LinkedIn" and tied to several other features of today's social media landscape. Like you, I am astounded at the power and influence this has throughout the world. The best example is what is happening in the Middle East, where turmoil continues to bring changes and threatens to reshape the region. Facebook and the Internet are at the heart of these events, with protestors rallied to "e-streets" and then literal streets when summoned through these social forces.
We are all watching the power of the Web impact our lives. We are connected to people and events in ways we never imagined a few years ago—well, at least the way many of us never imagined. Those 30 and under have no problem adapting to this new reality. My generation can remember when news and ideas didn't spread quite as rapidly as the flick of a tweet.
Today nothing remains secret for longer than a nanosecond. Where we are and what we are doing can be transmitted instantly at will—and even against our will if our cell phone is on, because it will continually plot our location to marketers. This power continues to influence events beyond the control of leaders in every walk of life. To ignore this reality is lethal to any organization.
Reading of the recent upheaval in Egypt and the role the Internet played reminded me of a scripture from the book of Daniel. Daniel sought to understand the meaning of all the prophecies of future events he was given to record, but God said the meaning would remain locked until the end time: "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4 Daniel 12:4But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
American King James Version×).
We are certainly in the time of vastly increasing knowledge. Whether all that knowledge is true, noble or pure is not always relevant. Whether it's used to build a world based on righteous principles is not always considered. Whether it builds or destroys is not always watched. Knowledge can be considered "neutral" and left to find its own level in the marketplace of ideas and information. But in this process more harm can be done than good.
Daniel had no idea what was being described. We who are living through the fulfillment of the prophecy have our moments when we can't understand what we see. But we are in the midst of an information and technology revolution that is reshaping our world. We can't escape it even if we feel overwhelmed by what we see. It's our reality, and we need to make the right choices in using the power in our hands.
So I doubt that I will ever pull the plug on my connection to the Internet and all its wonders. But I am resolved to use it for good and to ignore it when it pulls me toward anger or thoughts I really should not harbor. I am determined to stay current with all its uses so I can teach my grandchildren how to harness it in the right way to build quality lives.
Above all, I am determined to use social media to build healthy relationships and restore any that are damaged. With knowledge comes responsibility, and with the increased knowledge available to us comes the duty to use these tools to restore all things that, transcending this world, will be part of the coming Kingdom of God. WNP