Monday, January 31, 2011

What Would the Blogosphere Do?

(First off, let me comment on the giant chasm in time from my last post until this one. You see, I think too much before I write, and so I stop writing. But I need to stop planning and just type. So no more thinking. Jump the chasm. Go.)

When it comes to character and integrity - or more specifically, that moment when you decide whether to do right or wrong - it usually helps if you think about what you would do if someone walked in at that moment. "Do not do what you would undo if caught," I think is how one saying puts it. If you are tempted to steal a little sign off of someone's desk, take a shirt from a roommate's closet, or accept a bribe, the biggest reason that you are even considering these options is that you think no one is watching. And so by removing that part of the equation, voila! suddenly you're not so enthusiastic about doing it.

That was part of the whole idea of the "WWJD" movement: What would Jesus do if He were in my shoes? (or maybe, sandals) Or more explicitly, would I still be doing this if Jesus were standing right beside me? (or insert respected idol or grandparent in there, if you prefer.) It has been and continues to be a powerful thought.

I always take it to another level. What if it got in the newspaper? What if Channel 9 Evening News showed my face as its breaking story? That makes it REALLY easy. No way, José. Don't want to walk down that road.

Yet there's a problem with that scenario: the chances of the news team caring about my ball-point pen heist are negligible. So I've never really had to worry about that.

Except that now, things are different. Maybe I do have to worry about getting my face on the news.

Because now anyone with a cell phone, blog, FaceBook or Twitter account is nearly as powerful as a news team. Her "viewing" audience is anyone else connected to the Internet who might happen upon her post or "Like." (cue Wayne's World clip: "And their friends and their friends...") Then if enough people are Googling and blogging about it, THAT becomes the story....and then yep, the news networks pick it up. You (or I) could become fodder for tomorrow's new funny/stupid/quirky viral thing.

Sure. It's still not likely that any one thing I do wrong will become exposed to the world (though I hope Julian Assange isn't read this...) But knowing that my moral mistake is just a tweet away from the world seeing it might just give me enough pause to make the right decision.

And if that doesn't work, then don't look now but Jesus is standing right behind you.