Thursday, January 31, 2008

Use Your Nugget

The ignorance pervading our society continually baffles me. I really wonder sometimes how some people - particularly young people - are able to make it through the day with some of the ridiculous things they're up to.

Now, before you get defensive or think I am being judgmental, know my heart on this. My concern is genuine, and I am not simply bashing the stupid decisions people make. The good Lord knows I have made more than my share of poor choices. I'm talking about something different than bad choices. I'm talking about being irresponsible.

The best example I can give you is the whole "My Space" deal. I understand that in today's world, you're a nobody if you don't have a MySpace page (I guess I'll always be a nobody). MySpace is your personal sounding board. Your place to let everyone know whatever you want them to know about you. But, in the history of earth, nowhere has there been something that qualifies for the label "TMI" than on MySpace.

You see, on MySpace, you can communicate to someone who you are in a small fraction of the time it would take to have a conversation - maybe even a lifetime of conversations. And, what I believe appeals to people (particularly teenagers and 20-somethings) is that they can be relatively careless and indulgent and not suffer any "real world" consequences. But, anyone who uses MySpace (or any online community) should know better. You gotta be responsible - perhaps even more responsible - when giving the world easy access to your life.

Let me give you an example. I've only been to two MySpace pages in the past year or so. Both times it happened somewhat accidentally. One time I typed in a coffee establishment on Google, and the other time I typed in a local restaurant that was new to the area. Instead of a web site for the business, each time the listing that most closely matched my search term was a MySpace page. So, to find out more about these places, I clicked on the links to the MySpace pages.

Needless to say, I found out very little about the coffee place and the restaurant, respectively, on these pages. Instead, I found out the person who worked at the coffee place was a smoker and a drinker, as well as what type of people they hung out with. As for the other MySpace page, it was much more revealing about this person's character. Excessive use of foul language, somewhat risque photos, and self-indulgent posts and comments communicated a message loud and clear about this individual.

Further, what they failed to realize is that reputations of these businesses is also at stake when they are irresponsible with the "space" they are given online. You can see why many colleges and employers are now screening students' and candidates' MySpace and Facebook pages before considering them to be a part of their university or organization. I wouldn't want MY business or program to tank because some foolish person was careless and irresponsible with what they said on a web page, would you?

In the end, we all need to think about the message we send to others, not only with our actions and interactions, but in every arena where we have the opportunity to influence someone.

And, even though it's an old adage, you truly only have one chance to make a first (and lasting) impression. Let's remember that, and remember we're not here for ourselves. We're here to point people to Christ.

Us your nugget.

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