Here’s a too appropriate discovery: When I went to promote my latest Dust in the Light essay on Twitter, I discovered that the social media giant had suspended the account. Days after appealing the decision, mostly to find out what I’m being punished for, I have yet to hear back. Most likely, the offending action was a tweet promoting the prior essay on Dust in the Light, warning that our society will probably regret having erased our ability to distinguish between different forms of love.
Whatever the outcome, I’m done with Twitter. Those who participate give the company much more than they get in return by making it a vibrant place to be, which is tantamount to serving evil for the sake of an addiction. We should look for other places where our gift of interaction can build something positive.
But I say the discovery of the Twitter suspension was “too appropriate” because I made it while trying to promote an essay about the benefits of risking hatred:
An apparent deterioration of this American [willingness to take risks] is among the illnesses that have coincided with the proliferation of social media. “Just do your best,” “better to have tried and failed than to have done nothing,” even “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” — all such sentiments are more difficult to maintain when petty, envious people might capture a moment of weakness or failure and replay it without mercy for your entire life. When it comes to anything cultural, political, or simply visible, some there will be who take to social media gleefully at your every misstep.
Even without antagonists, though, it’s all too easy to imagine some future potential employer or love interest bringing up for explanation some mark that you missed years or decades earlier. So… no risks of ideas, words or actions. It’s safer to adhere to the common fashion (whatever it is), even as it thrashes wildly around. At least then a great many people will be working to excuse your shared past errors.
But we should take a higher perspective than our curated media personas, and we should be suspicious of people who want temporary failure to be taken as another’s endemic state. Indeed, there’s something evil about wanting failure to be somebody else’s defining feature.
What motivates such people?
Dust in the Light has an explicitly Christian theme, so the essay is an encouragement toward faith and finding personal security in God, but the idea filters down to the practical decisions of everyday life.
We cannot avoid the culture war anymore. It’s in everything we do. We therefore must act with honesty, integrity, and courage even in things that seem small… like offering our thoughts to the world in few-dozen-word snippets.