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Reality on Twitter: It’s Not Pretty

Want a jolting dose of reality?  The kind that gives you a remarkable – if not jaded – insight into our culture?  Hit the “Nearby” button on Twitter.  Especially when I’m traveling, I’ll use the “Nearby” button on my iPhone Twitter app and take a look at what people in a 1-5 mile range are saying out there.  To say it’s depressing is an understatement.  Call me out of touch, but I tried it at the DFW Airport the other day and found a porn actress discussing sex positions, a couple fighting (on Twitter no less,) incredible profanity, blatant sexual chatter, and what looked like a drug deal.

You may think the Twitter-verse is populated with intellectuals like you pushing the boundaries of responsible digital communication.  But an occasional “Nearby” session will remind you about the coarse, ugly, hyper sexual culture we live in today.

And did I mention bad grammar?  (And I don’t mean interesting abbreviations).  Unbelievable.

Try it.  I’d love to hear your experience.

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5 Comments

  1. I’d rather not do it again, but I’ll confirm your findings.

    You’ll find the same thing on most any blogging service, micro or otherwise. I prefer to maintain the attitude that you and I both seem to be promoting, that we came here because of particular beneficial personalities, not because we were impressed with the general content.

    I teach high school Sunday School. I keep encouraging my students to get involved in social media in order to build and enhance a lifelong online reputation. On the one hand, I have very resistant parents. On the other, I finally go and visit my students’ pages and then I really wish I’d kept my mouth shut.

  2. Just tried it. Interesting stuff going on around me. Its funny seeing the comments from people travelling through the county on I-65 making comments about what they see. One was “just ate at the waffle house in KY – can mark that off my bucket list.” Another was commenting the ginormous flea market we have here.

  3. I’ve had similar experiences. However it does give me an insight to what’s important to the upcoming social media generation and our audience. I think these conversations have always been out there..it’s just we could never eavesdrop like we do now. Makes you wonder what the “nearby tweets” would have been during Jesus walk on the earth.

    1. Did you see the digital nativity video that has been going around the past week? It gives an interesting view on what it might have been like when Jesus was born, if there was the social media like today.

  4. Phil, we routinely activate that search tool to get a better idea of the culture around our church. I follow as many of the regular twitter posters within a 1 mile range of our church neighborhood. Many users block us, but then again many are surprised and even open the door for discussion. You are right.. the language is R rated and the content is sometimes beyond imagination. I can tell you this though: Our church leaders had no idea “what was out there” and it has caused a new attitude of prayer and urgency in even my own life to use any means available to share the Gospel.

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