Why Your Digital Rants Aren’t Helping Anyone (Including You)

digital rants

Want to know why your digital rants aren’t helping anyone (including you)? Read on.

You know that recent Nike commercial where everyone discovers the world has stopped spinning? The news anchor confirms, “The world has stopped turning on its axis.” Inspired by the sight of a nearby hamster wheel, a young woman grabs her Nikes and invites everyone she knows to run the same direction to get the world spinning again.

They start running.

Eventually, she has some notable friends join her cause—Kobe Bryant, Kevin Hart, Odell Beckham, Jr., Simone Biles, even Bill Nye.

Well, they get the world spinning again. The problem is, they’ve been running in the wrong direction. So, they all turn around and run the other way. Of course, Kevin Hart, apparently not just the comedic genius but the geophysics genius as well, knew they were going the wrong way the whole time.

I love this commercial.

But I also hate this commercial.

Hats off to Nike, because the commercial did make me head down to the mall for a new pair of running shoes.

But the truth is, whether all 7.4 billion of us are running the same direction or standing on our heads doesn’t affect the rotation of the earth in the slightest. You’d think that at least Bill Nye the Pseudo-Science Guy would have known better.

I have this same frustration with people who try to change the world through digital rants with Facebook and Twitter posts. Nowhere is more energy spent with less actual output than in the machinations of social media.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Those folks on Facebook who try to convince everyone that “TO NOT AGREE WITH ME ON __________  ISSUE MAKES YOU A BAD PERSON WHO HATES FREEDOM AND—OH BY THE WAY—YOU ALSO PROBABLY KICK PUPPIES AND THROW PLASTIC STRAWS IN THE INTERCOASTAL WATERWAYS!!!!”

But are our digital rants actually changing people? Or are they more about us trying to declare our righteousness?

Reflect on your own experience. Have you ever changed your mind about something someone said to you in the comments of one of your Facebook posts? I’ve developed new opinions about the person doing the posting digital rants, but not usually new opinions about the issue they’re posting about. The longer social media exists, the more it seems to become this generation’s version of shoeless, bearded men parading through downtown with sandwich boards shouting that the end of the world is at hand.

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J.D. Greear
J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.