The homepage of Seth Godin’s website says, “Go. Make Something Happen.”
Go read a few of Godin’s blog posts. They usually take about 90 seconds to read. Often they are pep rallies: Go change the world, because the old way of doing things will kill us off eventually.
He will say things like this:
Too often, the corporate world pushes talking points onto people, and more often than that, speakers and writers get nervous and they turn into parrots. The only reason to go through the hassle and risk of putting yourself out there is to be out there… you, not a clone.
“Yes,” I will say to myself as I grind my morning coffee beans! Get out there! Don’t be a clone!” And before you know it, the song “That’s what friends are for” has become “That’s what blogs are for,” and I’m singing a new theme song.
Then I remember.
I’m in theology. And academics. And the church.
Three realms that don’t like change very much.
If I may pick on a fellow NT Scholar blogger friend, the disposition of our world was captured perfectly in a blog post calling out to pastors to stop tweeting.
I think everyone who thinks that what they have to say is important should be tweeting. And that includes most pastors. Yes, people say dumb things on twitter. But the concern that dumb things get picked up by the media, and aren’t the sort of careful statement one should make to the press seems to be disconnected from the experience of everyone who has ever spoken to a reporter: reporters never pick up on the careful, nuanced thing you say and express it fully in their article. They glean sound-bites that often represent the least careful, least substantive thing you have to say.
Reporters want soundbites. Twitter is a place to create your own. Do I wish certain uncharitable or otherwise disagreeable (or disagreeing with me) people would be less in the press? Yes, of course.
But part of the reality of the world that most people interact with is that they are more likely to read a Tweet than a blog; they are more likely to read a blog than a magazine; they are more likely to read a magazine than a novel; they are more likely to read a novel than a popular Christian book; they are more likely to read a popular christian book than an academic crossover book; they are more likely to read a crossover book than an article of serious scholarship; and they are more likely to read an article of serious scholarship than a scholarly monograph.
In other words, the likelihood of someone being affected by what we write is inversely proportional to the value it has on an academic CV. And, the likelihood of someone being affected by a piece of writing is inversely proportional to the care that must be taken to craft it in an air-tight, compelling manner.
Tweets and blogs are not typical forums for academics. They’re not the stuff of rigorous, careful, enduring work. The academic world says, “Please stop before you hurt someone with that thing.”
But they are the means for reaching masses both inside and outside the church and, as importantly, inside and outside the academy. Tweets and blogs cry out, “Go. Make something happen.”
So, if you think you have something to say, and especially if you’re right about that, please keep tweeting, please keep blogging.
But watch your proverbial tongue…