The fact that thousands of people have read my blog is amazing. It is also frightening. While sharing my thoughts through a blog has seemed to help some I am beginning to realize that being a blogger presents significant risk. It can transform me into someone I should not be.
I have been blogging for just over a year. It has been a strange and surprising experience. People entirely unknown to me take the time to read the words I write and occasionally share them with their friends. Each time I add a post to my blog and share it on Facebook I find myself checking back frequently to see how many “likes”, “shares” and views the post has received. When the numbers are high I fell feel validated. When the numbers are low I find myself discouraged.
This leads to some dangerous temptations-
1- I am tempted to only write posts that people will like. Seems harmless, but as a Christian I know that people do not always like truth. There are subjects about which I have strong feelings that I have intentionally avoided. The truth is that trying to be liked is not typically a path to integrity and honor!
2- I am tempted to value myself by the responses of others. I have recently started to ask myself, “Why do the thoughts and praises of absolute strangers matter to me?”
3- I am tempted to think more of myself than I should. The success of a blog has no connection to success in the things that really matter such as the relationships with my family, the quality of medical care I provide and the way I treat my employees.
4- I am tempted to present an image of myself that is inaccurate, that glosses over my failures and amplifies my strengths.
5- I am tempted to place less value on the most meaningful relationships and feedback, that which comes from face to face encounters with people who know me well.
As I look over this list I see that these dangers are present in all forms of social media. The words “friend” and “follower” have been diluted and now describe relationships that are not truly relationships at all. We look at the numbers of friends and followers someone has and assign them a worth that is completely disconnected from their person and character. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I know I need to be more careful about how I view these things. Superficiality is a dangerous thing.
I would ask you to share this post with your friends, but wouldn't that seem strange? :-)