The other day, someone tweeted to me and said,
“And that makes about 18 tweets in one day. Sorry guy, but officially unfollowing.”
First of all, that person is indeed correct. I tweet way too much. Not only that, but I am the worst kind of Twitter person. Because I will lull you into thinking I’m not going to tweet much that day. A few hours before I was issued that public unfollow, which is the middle finger of Twitter, someone else asked if “@jonacuff was OK?” because I had not tweeted in four hours. See how I do it? I trick you into thinking there aren’t any tweets coming and then I unleash a tweet tsunami all at once that probably includes at least three jokes about the show “Swamp People.”
I completely understand if you unfollow me though, I do tweet a ton and that can be annoying. That seems pretty open and shut as far as web dilemmas go, but there are a few other online situations where it’s hard to decipher what the best Christian response is. We’ve already talked about the Christians who apparently hate to use Snopes.com, but here are 4 other people I struggle with:
1. The friend who asks you to be Google.
Have you ever had a friend that wants you to be his personal Google? He calls you at work and will say, “Hey, when is the Ticketmaster pre-sale for that U2 concert in Nashville?” You don’t work for Tickermaster. You are not in U2. So you do exactly what he could do from the cubicle he is sitting in. You Google it. What’s Christian protocol in this situation? Can we all just agree that when someone does this, we can reply with a curt, but polite, “Google it?” Unless they’re not at a computer or are in their 90s, they should probably be able to do that pretty easily.
2. The friend who changes their email every week.
I have a friend who is on his third email address in three weeks. He didn’t get fired, he just wants to find the perfect email provider. So, over the last few days I’ve received the “Would you please update your address book with my new email address?” I want to be honest, at this point, I just don’t believe him. I want to, I do, but as Oprah says, “Past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.” He’s not going to stay with Gmail. Eventually it will let him down, they’ll have an argument, he’ll storm out and run to the tender digital arms of Yahoo Mail. I can’t keep going through that emotional rollercoaster. What’s our move in this situation?
3. The friend who starts a fake Facebook account for their baby.
I didn’t know this existed because none of my guy friends do this. If my friend Bill called me and said, “Hey, our baby is going on a crazy rant about diapers on Facebook, you’ve got to check it out,” I would hold a social media intervention for him. But it turns out some folks are doing this. They’ll start a Facebook page for the baby and then post status updates like, “I’m cranky today. My mommy didn’t give me a long enough nap so now I’m fussy!” Then the baby’s mom will respond to the status update she herself just wrote and say, “We had errands to run. I’m sorry you didn’t get a long nap, but mommy needs you to go to bed on time tonight!” I don’t really even know where to start with this. I can kind of understand folks who do it with their pets. There’s a cat that has over a million Twitter followers. Maybe you’re doing it as a social media experiment. Regardless, I still don’t endorse your dog, inevitably named “Rusty,” tweeting, “When my owners are at work, I look for bacon and things to chew on. Like shoes!” How do we handle this one?
4. The friend who writes the entire email in the subject line.
I can’t believe I almost missed one, but fortunately a guy named Josh reminded me of this practice. Sometimes people will write their entire email in the subject line. I understand if it’s just a one word response like “yes,” or “no.” But I’ll get emails with subjects that say, “Give me a call, I need to find out how we’re going to meet up for dinner tonight at that sushi place downtown. Parking might be an issue.” That is asking an awful lot of a subject line. It’s designed to contain a highlight of what’s inside the email, not the entire email. It’s a “subject line” not a “story line.” What’s our plan to “love on” the friend who does this?
There, I feel better already, although I do fear that your baby might put me on notice on his Facebook page. Maybe he’ll say something like, “Jon Acuff makes me mad like pureed peas!” Fair enough, fair enough. But I should warn you, there’s an above average sized pigeon I see in the parking lot at work sometimes and I’m starting a Facebook account for him. And you might assume blue jays have the most profane arsenal of verbal insults in the bird kingdom, but you’d be mistaken. It’s above average sized pigeons.
How do we be kind online?