Recently, I wrote about “your best image now” based on a WSJ essay on bragging and social media. The piece raised many good questions for me, including one I’ve been turning over in my mind for a long time: is it wrong for me to RT material about me?
So you know, “RT” doesn’t “Remotely Tazer” or “Radically Transgress.” It means “re-tweet,” and so it applies to Twitter. If someone says something nice about you–”@collinhansen wrote a great story”–should you RT it, and pass it along to all of your followers? Is that fine, or is it a violation of Proverbs 27:2, which reads: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips”?
This is a complex matter, as I said a few days ago. Social media has changed things. It’s tricky to know where to find exact boundaries. Some would say, of course, that you should never RT material about yourself, because yes, it is a direct violation of Proverbs 27:2. I get that. I’m sensitive to it. In fact, in many cases, if someone has said something complimentary about my writing/speaking, I purposefully do not re-tweet it. I suppose that this is a policy rather than an unbroken law, but it is indeed my general rule.
But other situations raise more complex questions. If a news outlet, say The Gospel Coalition, has sent out word to their followers about a piece I’ve written, should I RT it? Or if a small media company has done a video with a pastor about sanctification that aims at building believers up in the faith, should he RT it? In both of these instances, I can see an argument for passing on word about it to people who might want to see it. There is, after all, a ton of media produced nowadays. If you want content to be consumed and actually helpful to people, you may feel a desire to do your part and notify people about it.
I do this with Facebook and Twitter. If I blog here, I’ll post it on both of these outlets. That lets people know about it. And if a site is running a piece I’ve written, I’ll often let folks know about it. In doing so, by the way, I feel a tension. There is a gray area in such decisions. Am I being self-promoting? Well, maybe. I can be honest about that. Is that my primary motivation? I certainly hope not.
So I guess I can say this: I understand never RTing yourself. But many of us who want to edify and strengthen God’s people and promote the gospel find ourselves in a brave new media world where publishers and sites actually kind of count on you to publicize your content and put it before its target audience. Many of us who are not currently blockbuster authors must therefore travel to the aforementioned “gray area” with regularity. To RT or not to RT? That is the question.
Here’s where I land. I want to be scrupulous about self-promotion. So that’s my first priority. (Feel free to sound off in the comments–is my model self-promoting?) My second priority is to try and put good resources before people in a non-invasive way. That seems to be part of the work of writing and contending and speaking today. I see the gray area, and I try to focus on getting out gospel-driven material, much as doing so–like preaching or pastoring or leading or almost any human activity–places me in the possible position of self-exaltation.
In all of this, I am aware of my sin and human penchant for self-deception. I am constantly reminded by the nature of questions like this one of my need to confess sin to God and to ask the Spirit to continue changing me into the image of Christ in a comprehensive, holistic, across-all-plaforms kind of way.