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Saturday, 27 June 2009

blogging with care

I often think about the care we need to take with use of our words. I wrote a more general entry on the topic not that long ago (see here), but there is a sense where extra care needs to be taken in an ever expanding technological age. It is so easy now to write something that flies around the world – whether through email, blogging, Twitter, Facebook and various similar mediums. It overtakes the spoken word – where once we had to wait until a letter was sent and delivered, we can now communicate within moments. It is as fast as the spoken word, and yet it holds the power and permanency of the written. So much of what we say becomes very public very quickly – especially true of blogging.

This is why I have always tried to be careful with this blog. Choosing a public blog is a deliberate decision, and it’s a great medium for interaction of thought. Within this, I want to have the same care with my speech as I would if I was face-to-face with a person, having the same respect and the same wisdom with my words. I want to be honest and I want to aim for transparency in thought and faith – while at the same time retaining a level of sensibility and self-knowledge. I want to refrain from losing my temper because I am having a bad day – I know once the sun has set and risen again, I will very probably feel differently. This doesn’t mean I won’t admit to a bad day – just that I don’t want ill-temper to drive my thoughts. This blog is a therapeutic outlet for me, but I want it to be a healthy one. I want it to be a tool to drive me to think deeper and more clearly in life. That is why I started it in the first place.

I also feel it is tremendously important to be sensitive to issues where there is disagreement between parties. I believe in being honest about my own viewpoint, but I also believe in taking the time to word it properly, to avoid misunderstanding or misrepresentation. Often the attitude of the participants of a discussion is more memorable than the discussion itself. This doesn’t mean I think we should never show disagreements, but that we remain fair and not simply descend to baiting each other.

“It really is high time we developed a Christian ethic of blogging. Bad temper is bad temper even in the apparent privacy of your own hard drive, and harsh and unjust words, when released into the wild, rampage around and do real damage.”

- Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham

As a Christian in a diverse world, and a world of diverse thought, I hold to the concept of ‘seasoning my conversation with salt’ – so that it is a good, edifying, respectful thing, and being prepared to answer others but to do so with dignity and respect. It distresses me to see others hurling insults at each other when they profess the same central belief – and yet show no respect for each other, or no self-examination. This ties in with my thinking on humility – that it is about seeking the truth together, understanding that we will and do get things wrong, but we want what is right (which is not the same as what is easiest, or what we find most comfortable within our world view). I want to reflect this when I write here.

Blogging is an astonishing thing, when you consider how little time it has been in existence – how recently the technology has existed to enable it to exist in the first place. Personally, I want to apply the old maxim ‘think before you speak’ as much in this area as in my daily life.

5 comments:

Angela said...

This is a great post. Like you, I am concerned by blogposts which end up being used as a space for someone's temper tantrum - or unkind words. Furthermore, as a Pastor's Wife, [like you] I am conscious that people do listen to what we say - and unguarded words can cause a lot of damage in the 'virtual' world as much as in the 'real' world.
I want my comments to help others, and to build them up, and to encourage them in their faith. I am sad when a thoughtless comment hurts another.
I am constantly amazed that other people actually WANT to read my blog - but thrilled when their comments imply that something I said DID help them - that's more about god's Grace than my writing though.
I shall put a link to this post on my blog, because I think it is worth sharing!
Blessings xx

Kathryn said...

I do attempt to blog with care. Most of the sites i visit appear to as well, but then, most of them are written by Christians.

The fact is no matter how careful we are, we can still hurt other people because of misunderstandings & differences in communication.

About a month back i wrote a long post on my health. A well meaning comment simply crushed me. I waited a while before replying, because i knew the person didn't mean to hurt me, but it happened just the same.

Any time folks interact no matter what the media or form there is the possibility of misunderstanding, etc. Part of being human & flawed, i guess.

Thank you for sharing. It is important that we all keep this in mind.

Elizabethd said...

I'm so glad I checked Angela's post today to read your very interesting blog.
What concerns me is that so much very personal information /photos etc, can be shared with the whole world.

Lucy said...

Some good thoughts here, thanks guys.

Elizabeth - yes, I know what you mean. I tend to avoid personal photographs and specifics like exact location, date of birth etc., but I know many blogs share a lot of personal details. I see the appeal and it's a wonderful way to share with friends, but if I took that approach I think I would make it a 'permission only' blog, so I knew who was reading. That would be my personal preference, anyway.

Elizabethd said...

I would love to follow your blog, but dont understand the system of 'subscribe' in a reader??

"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster