Last week Amanda Mortus from WorthyOfAgape.com wrote a post about twitter practices called, “Missing the Point.” In the post, she highlighted her frustration with certain practices and strategies used by some folks on social media; in this specific case, Twitter.
She asked me for my input into the post, so I will gladly give it! (Note: Amanda and I have discussed my response already – even though I disagreed with some of her points, we agreed to still post this!)
In one sentence, my response might be something like this: “I understand your frustration with the fact that some practices in which certain people engage on Twitter seem to lack elements of charity; however, Twitter is merely a communications tool that is used by many different kinds of people each with different goals, goals which require a diverse set of purposes, strategies, and ‘practical’ practices than our own.”
In other words, I think the issue is that there is an assumption that in order to show authentic love on Twitter, it must be used as a way to foster and cultivate “real” relationships with people. The fact that a lot of people don’t use it for the purpose makes some people upset.
Cultivating real relationships, as noble as it is, however, is really only one use for Twitter. But not it’s only one.
There are several reasons and ways people use communications tools, including Twitter. Each is based on what their goal is. Many people use Twitter to network professionally, to find new jobs, to read inspirational quotes, to follow celebrities, to market their new book, or whatever.
That leads us to this question: is using Twitter without caring about engaging personally a bad thing? In and of itself, or morally speaking, I would say no, it’s not a bad thing. It’s different than what Amanda or I try to do, but it’s not bad or morally lacking.
Note that “not engaging” does not mean there is a lack of love, charity, or caring on the part of the Twitter user. Pope Francis does not respond to each of his 2.5 million + followers. And yet, the love with which he Tweets is not diminished. Why? Because his goal on Twitter has nothing to do with building relationships. His goal is inspire, to make people think, and to communicate (one-way, by the way) to the masses what he is up to on a daily basis.
Twitter, again, is a mere communications tool. There is no obligation, morally speaking, to have to engage with every single follower. I don’t do that, and I don’t think it’s morally wrong not to.
What do you think?