I believe that had Jesus lived here on earth today he would have used ‘text’,’blog’ and ‘tweet’ speak on the various current social media. Jesus was a humble carpenter but He had a wonderful, simple way of speaking publicly. For example, He appealed directly to the masses of ordinary people in His sermons on the mount. Jesus used everyday language in a concise way to convey his important messages to his audiences.
Today’s social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, texting or blogging are ideal platforms to spread God’s word between fellow Christians and beyond, to reach out to people of other faiths and non-believers: perhaps by influencing people who may become Christians; and piercing the armour of even hardened atheists and humanists. Far from being a technophobe, Jesus would have embraced technology to reach masses of ordinary people.
Social media platforms do promote materialism and instant gratification through commercial advertising, the latest ‘instant fix’; yet there is room for God’s words of love and encouragement through its various mouthpieces. Nevertheless, it is important that abbreviations so often used in tweeting, for example, cannot be misconstrued by recipients and this is where the number of characters permitted for each tweet can be a real challenge.
Jesus would certainly have given any internet or media trolls short shrift! He would have resisted the temptation to use the ‘colourful’ language in reply to such baiting; and He would have refused to join in the ‘free for all’ slanderous accusations levelled at the various pre-trial press victims in recent years.
I believe that Jesus would have avoided the pitfalls by spelling words appropriately and His ‘take-home’ messages would be precise and transparent. Jesus has the gift of understanding our psyche and our human frailty. He starts at the place where we stand and comprehend: then appeals to our altruistic selves, to forgive and to love others, as He loves us without bounds.
In an increasingly digital age, the danger is that not physically standing in front of an audience can create a degree of detachment. It is imperative to be able to use technologically driven jargon effectively, and clearly, while remaining appropriate to the relevant platform used.
Social media can be used to lighten the load of everyday life; the messages from Jesus over two thousand years ago remain as powerful in 2013. There is no central policing of the internet and this is why it is important that Christians have a responsibility when using social media to ensure that the teachings provided by Jesus remain pure and untarnished in an increasingly secular society.