Apologies to Mahatma Ghandi for borrowing his well known quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, to remind all of us that our tweets, and all social media, if used wisely, can be a powerful force for good.
Too often today I hear stories, even from my own teens , of the cowardly or cruel texts, sent out for the world to see, that tear down friends or classmates. A recent study by the University of Wisconsin Madison revealed that there are approximately 15,000 bully related tweets posted every day resulting in more than 100,000 nasty messages hitting the internet airwaves each week.
Would any one of us or any of our children want to be subjected to this kind of cruelty? The answer is a definite “no”! In fact, those very individuals who are sending out hurtful messages with just a tap on “tweet” would be horrified if such a tweet were sent out about them. So why do we do it?
Perhaps it gives one a sense of power to gain the attention of so many followers and to shock them or surprise them with an audacious message. In truth, however, it is the ultimate act of cowardice to hide behind a screen and say what you would never have the courage or will to say in person.
True power lies in ones ability to influence others for good. When you tweet or retweet a positive message about life or another individual, you inspire others to share it or to do the same. You have caused someone to smile or feel joyful and then perhaps even to share that joy with many others. What is more powerful than that?
An organization called “The Foundation for a Better Life” is the creator of the “Pass it On” public service campaign that we often see on Billboards and on tv commercials. Their basic belief is that “values are worth more when we pass them on" and that "people are basically good but sometimes they need a reminder.” Their campaigns promote values such as courage, forgiveness, integrity, loyalty, respect, strength, character and kindness. We see on their ads real life examples of individuals who embody these values and inspire us all to live them as well.
Over 2000 years ago, one man embarked on a similar campaign- just one man with a message to love our neighbor as ourselves. Christ Jesus challenged us to be in the world, with all the evil and unkindness that can seem to be there, but not to be of the world- to be separate from it and help to heal it. In other words, Jesus wouldn’t necessarily advocate that you stop tweeting, but that when you tweet, be an influence for good!
Values are worth more when we pass them on. Your example, your next tweet could be the words that inspire someone else to be better, to be kinder, to help another. Words can heal us, help us, inspire us, encourage us. Words are powerful when used as a force for good. So be the tweet you want to see in the world! If you don’t do it, who will?