“Mom! I can’t believe they read my diary!"A second picture, captioned, “Daughters now,” had an equally distraught girl:
“I can’t believe only 200,000 people have read my blog!”
Yes, some of us do crave attention, it’s true. While others are uncomfortable being noticed. To some extent it’s always been that way. Yet new technologies seem to add wrinkles.
Missionaries and Social Networking
This is a big issue in the mission community. Many Christian workers are eagerly tapping into Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and the like for ministry purposes and in hopes of strengthening their communication and ties with colleagues and supporters. They happily share ministry-related news, prayer requests, and opportunities.
Others either shun or are very selective about their involvement in such environments. Many of them are Christian workers in sensitive areas; the risk is that someone will identify them in ways they do not wish to be seen. Even being linked to people who publicly use religious or spiritual language or post their Christian affiliations and job titles can seem threatening.
Several friends on Facebook have suggested I “friend” Joan in SE Asia, Diana in K’stan, and others whom I suspect would be as uncomfortable having my updates appear on their accounts as some of my other expatriate friends have been. If only they could be sure I only wrote about what I was making for dinner and posted cute pictures of my kids (oops, no kids!) it might be different. But that’s not what I tend to write about... So if they ask me directly, I’ll say yes, but I won’t follow the friend “suggestion” from someone else.
Maybe they wouldn’t care or have found ways to compensate for or minimize the risks.
Maybe if I wrote something they weren’t OK with they’d just “hide” my updates or “unfriend” me.
I just don’t know.
For me, the benefits of being open about my involvement in Christian missions, personally and professionally, outweigh the risks.
I’m a mobilizer: I’m not supposed to be keeping this stuff secret. My job is to spread the news.
But I also know I could come to regret today’s decisions, tomorrow.
Hiding in Plain Site
Blogging played a minor but interesting role in a novel I read recently. Anna - our heroine and sleuth - has a job tracing down missing people. When her own brother disappears, she puts her skills to work trying to find him, forgetting until almost too late a trick she herself had taught him: that you can preserve your safety and still communicate with loved ones by hiding your message in plain site on an anonymous blog.
I suppose the same would be true for running a crime ring, or something like that, wouldn’t? Maybe it will show up in the next Dan Brown novel!
Similarly: In a recent article about journaling, Grammar Girl mentioned that some people choose to keep a journal about their inmost feelings on an anonymous, unpublicized blog - for security’s sake. That's right. You can add to it anywhere, need not carry a book around, and don’t have to worry about your diary being lost or stolen.
What do you think?