Look Alive

28 December 2010

ON... Anonymity and 'Anti-social Networking'

A funny thing happened on the way to enjoy some music and check my inbox! There was a 'random' response of questionable intent directed specifically to me based upon my appreciation of an instrumental track. I have no idea who the individual behind the account really is. Maybe, s/he doesn't really know me or the fact that I'm allowed to like the wordless song and another commentor's open rebuke, however worldly, of some digi-fighting matches that seemed to have ensued between some listeners. Truth is, though, the person might also just enjoy unique applications of language and could have meant well by the unfamiliar symbol they used. Also, this represents one of enough situations where I should have been more prudent to keep my enjoyment inside or at the equivalent minimum of "yes and Amen". Unfortunately, no one is exempt from slips or their repercussions, so should, could and would ain't good! That, too, has has passed, though. We need to seek and offer forgiveness while doing better as we go forward.

While I believe every day is a day that the Lord has made, in John 14 this era was already written to have been sublet to another. Regardless of where your faith lives, one look at your nightly news or daily neighborhood will prove that the Love, community, honest transparency and accountability that can accompany a direct, visceral experience is pixelating into a blur. To quote a generational favorite, singer Mary J. Blige, sometimes men and women (attempt) to "do something behind [one's] back and then try to cover it up", especially when relationships of any kind are involved. Profiling, in either law enforcement or slang, can denote any prejudicial or otherwise false act that would make us look sideways in disbelief. Further, as inferred from Paulo Freire's seminal work, it is an odd but common response of a victim towards those who are suffering the same plight or trying to help as a way to prove they still have the 'it' that an unfaithful, negligent or domineering partner/authority figure devalued.

In these instances of self-empowerment, extra personnel are usually required to try wrecking what would otherwise be very beautiful; the commitment to personal reckoning of how hurt and pain beget the same then closing the circuit with Love proves too great. Because such a cycle does not promote Life, it must die to itself -- as all seeds do -- albeit with no light of the Sun, no water of added emotion, no nutrients, no hope for further growth. The digital realm does offer great outlets of faith and "edutainment" even though some outlets and users often pride themselves on profiles that bear middle, pen or other nicknames along with images of anything but the account holder(s). How ironically hilarious is it that a 'bee' with a 12-letter name would express such things! Please join me in Emoticonese now and LOL :) That may be a bit basic in the scheme of things, but the former English teacher in me is not too fond of the way our (youth's) fitness, penmanship and personal development are compromised with current social networking and ancient methods of subversion. At times, it's almost anti-social.

Before or as you point at me, possibly to the dismay of a Wilhelm Reich-type, accept my extension of a peaceful hand to explain that my semi-anonymity actually began as assistance. Somewhere exists someone who needed to be seen and heard instead of me to the point of hacking my former accounts. Life, limb and my love for socially just expression are unscathed, so it was all essentially harmless. Sooner than place family or close friends in little on-screen boxes, with whatever contact resources I have, I prefer to honor what trustworthy rapport we establish in our calls/answers/visits/sharing/overall Love while we have Life and reserve web tools to organizing and directing the constructive, professional. Sure, I may allow some avatars or comments where said inner circles, interests and work intersect. Fine-tuning that process, or the decision to leave crazy 'nings' alone, has its challenges though.  

To think any of the profile types discussed in this piece can tell us all we need to know is a grand lie. Alfred Hitchcock's famous visage alone says nothing of his hobbies. Determining a baby's gender with the naked eye trained on the pregnant woman's profile in the third or ninth month will not always produce accurate results, even if old wives insist a certain navel protrusion or set of the stomach say otherwise. Many public figures are different off the magazine page, screen and stage. All things Wiki must be subject to additional verification and, naturally, our Father didn't make me a bee, although I am appreciating the lesson of being about His business grows daily. 

From typing the title and first sentence then pressing "publish post" instead of "save draft" to the completion of this post, I enjoyed the additional peace of reading some of my favorite devotionals. One, in particular, whispered something I wholly agree with. It is our responsibility to ensure that the messages we transmit along our paths be edifying to God and each other as the network of His original design.

* This post contains elements of the short, "Datkham".

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