By Angela Abbamonte
Social networking has become an almost unavoidable part of an American college student’s life, with Facebook becoming a key form of communication and Twitter providing information and anecdotes from friends, celebrities and news sources around the world.
The more-than-social pursuits of social media have been amplified with the recent struggles going on in Egypt, at one point bringing the Egyptian government to shut down the Internet there.
The educational and political aspects of social media are becoming clear, with teachers using Facebook to communicate to students and revolutions spreading throughout the World Wide Web.
Some professors use Facebook as a form of communication, and students may “follow” one another on Twitter to get advice on schoolwork.
Recently, the subject of using Twitter in the operating room came into question in a popular television series. The doctor was working on a patient and had an intern tweet — or send a short update through Twitter — about the surgery as it was going on. At first, the chief of surgery would not allow it, but when something unexpected happened in surgery other doctors tweeted in possible solutions, one of which ended up saving the patient’s life.
The Washington Post is using the 140-character micro-blog to communicate the words and happenings of the Civil War in light of the 150-year anniversary of the war.
According to the description of the @CivilWarwp Twitter account, the Washington Post is “tweeting the Civil War, in the words of the people who lived it 150 years ago — from journals, letters, records and newspapers.”
Unfortunately, not much can fit in a single tweet and many of the words appear slightly different than they did in real life, such as the tweet that read, “Tyler 2 Peace Convention: ‘u have 2 snatch from ruin a…glorious Confederation, 2 preserve the Govt & 2 renew & invigorate the Constitution.’”
The more people are able to access photos from Facebook and ramblings from blogs, the more I think about what I put out on the Internet.
While my Facebook is kept clean and my Twitter is seldom used for trivial content, I cannot help but think I could use social media to spread important information instead of simple greetings and silly photos.
As a journalist, I have a passion for keeping people informed. The content streaming out of Egypt told the world what was going on in the country. History lessons are broadcast in short and sweet Tweets. More often, though, Facebook statuses inform our friends what we are eating for dinner.
Is this what is most important to us? Is this what we need to share with anyone who is just a click away?
My father is a pastor, and he has read the Bible through every year for as long as I can remember. This year he has taken up a new step in his routine to share what he has been learning and provide a sense of accountability with his Facebook friends.
Every morning my father puts a verse or two from his Bible reading as his Facebook status, accompanied by a short prayer echoing what God told him through the passage.
This simple act has reminded me daily of his dedication to God and inspired me to be mindful of what I share online. It has also given friends and family who connect with him online a daily witness, resulting in several people from his past contacting him with prayer requests and inquiries about his faith.
We have a great calling to go and make disciples of all nations. We spend hours a day online reading blogs and watching Hulu, yet we have become so desensitized to the importance of what we write and post for the world to see.
The nations learned of Egypt’s governmental unrest through social media. How much more important is it to share about the King of kings?