As I have been launching this new blog, I have been looking over some of the posts from my previous blogs and I think that I have come to the conclusion that twitter has made me dumb. That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but here is what I think happened. In the days before Facebook and Twitter, my online means of communicating publicly, through the emerging medium of social media, was my weblog. Although there is no official appropriate length for a blog post, it was rare that I would post something in the range of 140 characters. So, if I finished reading a book and I really thought others might like to read it, I would sit down and write a brief review. It wasn’t usually anything that could accidentally be mistaken for the Sunday New York Times Book Review, but I would put some time into it. Then came Facebook and Twitter.
It became so easy to post a quick thought. As the technology improved, it became possible to share that I read a book right from my Kindle or post a thought from my smartphone or share an article I read just by clicking a button at the end of the article. These are still amazing tools but I think they make it too easy to avoid reflecting. It is too easy just to pass something along and not take any time to reflect on it. And I think reflection is important.
I write for a living. I don’t consider myself an author but the volume of writing I do on a regular basis adds up. A sermon for me usually come to about 2500 words. It is sort of the equivalent of a chapter a week. Professional authors have to struggle through a lot more revision than I do and my final sermon on Sunday morning isn’t usually exactly like what I write. But I still write. I also write copy for church publications, copy for video productions, plus liturgy, letters and various other things.
The beauty of a blog for someone who writes is that it is a place to practice and grow. A number of things I have shared on blogs in the past have ended up in sermons. A number of things I have shared on blogs in the past have thankfully stayed out of sermons. As I look back over my previous blogs, I see my writing improving and I see ideas that I now take for granted developing. I realized that it has been a while since I have had a place for that to happen.
While I think there is value in being able to immediately share and pass on thoughts and information, there is also value in reflecting and writing. Hopefully I can do some more of that.