Friday, 2 January 2015

New Year Resolution: positive force for good online

New Year is a time to look back, assess what has been and then to look forward in hope and new resolve.  January 1st is an ancient Roman feast of Janus, the two headed god who looked back and forward.  Since 1750 it has been the New Year change point.  Resolutions abound and founder.  In a brave moment I resolved to aim to be a positive force for good in the cyber-world of social media.  The spur for this was that I see, and am also on the receiving end of, so much destructive energy through Tweets and Facebook posts, through the assumptions behind so many websites.  It starts to become corrosive of the noble virtues of 'whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, commendable, worthy of praise' appealed to by St Paul in his letter to the Philippians (4:8).  There is much on the internet that corrodes and stirs up all sorts of visceral drives that are uncontrolled and there is a need for a counter to help show a different way.

So what does being a 'positive force for good' in the cyber-world mean?  Here are a few of the ideas that were in my mind as I made the resolution.

Does it build up?

Does it encourage?

Does it bless and is it life giving?

Does it reflect a deeper purpose?

Does it challenge in the light of that deeper purpose and its values?

Does it respect and honour?

These are the questions I will try to keep before me to help me in trying to be true, honourable, just, pure, pleasing and commendable and worthy of praise.

I might falter at times.  I get frustrated and fed up like everyone else - the corrosion wears holes - but I am going to aim to be called back to these noble virtues.  If I can't find a way of balancing them, then that is not the moment to post my thoughts!  Social media is not a good place to vent frustration.  It is a good place to share ideas, challenge with penetrating questions, but with respect and honour, even if I disagree profoundly with another, especially when I disagree.  It may catch on.

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