So I know I’m the last person on earth who still isn’t on Twitter (except for my husband–family solidarity!). In the past I’ve written about the various temptations and pitfalls of social networking sites, not because I’m trying to be Amish but simply discerning. As positive an impact as these technologies have had, there are also temptations as well and we need to talk openly about them.
To check out some of my old posts, go to “What Would Jesus Tweet” and “Fakebook.”
Today I wanna talk about another temptation presented by Twitter (and Facebook, and even this blog, for that matter). But before I do, you have to understand something about me: I have a problem opening my mouth when I should clearly keep it shut. I am a verbal processor and I tend to say whatever pops into my head at the moment. This trait has gotten me into trouble many, many, many times. It has not only led to my own embarrassment, but to the embarrassment of others as well.
In the face of this struggle I have often turned to Proverbs, which is full of advice for someone like me:
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (13:3)
A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. (18:6)
A fool’s mouth is his ruin,and his lips are a snare to his soul. (18:7)
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (21:23)
…and my personal favorite…
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (17:28)
The last proverbs has often been re-quoted the following witty way: “It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”
I have prayed these verses over myself for years. And thanks to God’s grace, I have seen some change. But I also have a long way to go. And that’s a big reason why I’m not on Twitter. With Twitter there is a temptation to immediately post to the world whatever crazy thought comes into my head. And given my track record, this power could easily be misused. Not only would I probably make myself look bad at some time or another, but the temptation to slander another person or cause is immense. Sarcasm does not always translate well.
Christians are certainly guilty of falling to that temptation, not only with Twitter but blogging as well (probably more so with blogging, in fact!). It’s easy to turn a blog into an angry soapbox. Fortunately, the blogging form forces me to stop and process my thoughts rather than post out of reflex, so it has been easier for me to resist speaking out of turn, but that accountability does not exist with Twitter. Your soapbox is ever at your fingertips.
As always, I am not writing this to condemn Twitter in and of itself. I know a lot of people who have used it in both creative and God-honoring ways. However, I also know I’m not the only one who struggles with shooting my mouth off. If you’re like me, just be careful about what you tweet. As the verses from Proverbs remind us, the more times you open your mouth the more likely you are to say something dumb. I for one don’t need one more outlet for making that mistake. Think before you tweet.
I have a recent post called “To Twitter, or Not to Twitter” (a few posts down) asking my readers if I should join. (I was pretty sure I was going to). But I loved their feedback.
One of my readers said this:
Whenever I tweet or blog, I try to keep these two quotes from John Piper in mind:
1. When asked what should be told to a roomful of Christian bloggers, he said, “Tell them that it takes relentless intentionality to keep a Christ-exalting blog from become a clever blog. The temptation to entertain is almost irresistible.”
2. “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
I love that wisdom. I joined Twitter last week and have really enjoyed it for information’s sake- found lots of good resources as a writer all in one place that I would not have found anywhere else. I actually “retweet” a lot so I don’t have to come up with my own update (or worry about saying the wrong thing).
I worried about moderation, but it’s been so simple. It only takes a few seconds to tweet. I think it’s a great tool- of course to be used in a wise, discerning way.