“IDLE” WORDS & SOCIAL MEDIA

Thursday, April 4, 2019

    “Lord and Master of my life! Grant me not the spirit of idleness (ἀργίας, праздности), despondency, love of power, and idle talk / idle words (ἀργο-λογίας, праздно-словия).” (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, Part 1)

 

     The easiest way, (but not the only way), to limit my “idle” words is to limit my “words” altogether. And I’d just like to note today that social media actually helps me do that, in its own way. Because on Twitter my “posts,” originally limited to 140 characters, are now limited to “only” 280 characters; on Instagram my words are even more limited, and a video-“post” needs to be just one minute; and in the case of Facebook or Email, while these don’t limit the length or number of our words, it is simply unwise to make them too wordy, if we want people to read them. Because our tolerance-level for “TMI” or “Too Much Information,” perhaps ironically, is quite low in our Information Age. And this reality is difficult, I must say, for someone like me, who is a “talker” by vocation, and I generally find it hard to say anything meaningful within the limits of 280 characters, or of one minute, or of the reasonable length of a Facebook-post or Email. It seems to me that you have to be, like, Jesus Christ, or Confucius, to say anything both meaningful and brief.

 

     But thank You, God, for this “difficulty”! There’s this hidden blessing in the constraints on our words, in social media, which is teaching me to weigh and limit my words, in its own way. Let me be grateful for that today.  

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