My Journey into Social Media
My son, José, encouraged me a couple of years ago to leap in to the "digital dance". He refers to himself as a "geek translator." Explaining the mysteries of the internet and its value to those who do not speak the language.
So I took the big leap. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, MySpace and whatever. It was kind of fun. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones.
People are Important
Answering a phone call, a letter or an email has always been a big priority for me. Then AGT came calling. Suddenly I had 173 personal messages. Some of them good friends in serious crisis. Some I had never heard of. My Facebook friend tally had hit 10,000 and 4,000 people were following me on Twitter. I was overwhelmed!
How could I keep up with that kind of onslaught? What I was discovering was that my online relationships were becoming one inch deep and a mile wide.
The east coast of Florida is made up of a 600 mile stretch of beaches, from Jacksonville, all the way to Key West. Most if it is islands that are seldom more than three or four blocks wide. It is easy to walk from the beach on the Atlantic Ocean, to the Intercostal Waterway. All the way from Key West to Boston Massachusetts. 3000 miles separating these islands from the ocean. Three blocks wide and three thousand miles long.
I was staying at the trendy Costa d’Este beach resort, owned by famed Cuban music icon Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio. I looked out the window at the beach. I had traveled to the east coast of Florida to perform as a keynote speaker in Vero Beach.
The top leaders of Watercrest Senior Living Group gathered to widen and deepen their leadership skills. They were studying Stephen Covey's "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People," a book that has sold millions of copies. One of Mr. Covey’s most popular quotes is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
That flies in the face of the slap dash attempt at communication that goes on today. Conversation on the internet has become a mile wide and an inch deep. Our culture has rapidly followed suit.
Even The Sand on All the Beaches of Florida
God is not a mile wide and an inch deep. He is deeper, wider and longer than anyone can imagine. It is a great reminder that He takes the time to understand us.
God can do it with everybody on His FB page. I cannot. I realized that it was much better to have deep conversations with a few people. Rather than to have ten thousand friends that don’t hear from me except in a spam email or an internet post.
That was what these leaders from Watercrest Senior Living Group were trying to achieve. To lead by listening and understanding. Helping their staff, workers and patients feel significant. You can’t do that “a mile wide an an inch deep.”
So if I don’t respond to your tweet or FB post, please forgive me. And be comforted, God will never leave you hanging, forget your face, lose your text or ignore your email.
God hears your every heartbeat.
All Too Often
We trade volume for substance. Success for significance. Friends for fame. And affection for recognition. How easy it is to send out a text or a tweet with the hope of a response - even a negative one - rather than have a conversation. A face to face requires trying to understand the other person. It is not easy, but true communication nourishes our souls. We are quick to post some vitriolic criticism that cuts to the quick rather than boost someone’s hope. We are piercing our surroundings with negative barbs, causing death by a thousand tiny cuts.
At one point in this frustrating struggle, this odd question blew my mind. "How in the whole world could God keep up with billions of people with needs?" People have weighty requests, serious hurts, and valid complaints.
Back in the pages of the ancient scriptures I was comforted to read "It is so precious when you think about me, O God! You think of me huge number of times a day! If I try to count them, they are more in number than grains of sand on all the beaches."