Monday, November 22, 2010

No Turning Off Your True Self When You're Online

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill
‎"When it comes to technology in general, and social networking in particular, the heart is simply revealed."

--excerpted from a piece by Mark Driscoll in the Washington Post.

While he is responding specifically to one issue of  Facebook and adultery, Driscoll's statement addresses a much broader issue relevant to us all.

‎"Impatient, angry people post flame-throwing statements in haste.

Boastful, narcissistic people post statements and photos constantly to ensure we do not ignore them.

Dissident troublemakers post trolling inflammatory comments, seeking to have the same effect as a hose on a bees' nest.

And the perverted pursue illicit connections, including adultery, as they enjoy posting and seeing sexualized photos and statements."

I can attest to the truth of those words, especially having actively engaged on the 'Net on different platforms over the past few years. My online dialogues with a wide spectrum of people have ranged from MySpace (just who is on there anymore?), Facebook  and YouTube to Twitter  and a wide variety of forums and blogs.

In that time, I've engaged in diverse (and hot-button) topics such as Amway, homeschooling, politics, religion, sports, family and money.

Are we all entitled to the occasional "off" day, in which we respond in a way that doesn't reflect our authentic self? Absolutely. But what is the pattern of how we engage with the world--both online and offline?

Years ago, I thought it was a given topic that caused people to respond in a certain way. But through engaging online with hundreds of people from many different walks of life, I've witnessed undeniable, and all too predictable, patterns emerge.

Driscoll's diagnosis puts into words what I've come to firmly believe: cyber-behavior truly is a matter of the heart.

No comments: