Now, if each of these parties speak with just three people, the network grows to include 375 people. Square that and we're at 140,625 possible conversations and points of view. Try to put a bow around that mess.
If it makes the front section of a newspaper or even page two of a blog or Twitter feed, the network could grow by a factor of 10 to 3750 people and now the complexity is rated at 14,062,500 possible interactions.
Fourteen million and counting...in other words, a crisis that could have been handled fruitfully and might have even moved the institution to a new footing has become unmanageable, and, short of a miracle, the opportunity for reflective, prayerful, constructive conversation has slipped away. And even if that goal is achieved within the confines of the Seminary, the number of people who have been exposed to ugly debate are, for the most part, unidentifiable and unreachable.
What a mess. Don't make one of your own. Consider the answers to these questions:
- What am I trying to accomplish by going public with news from my institution? Am I trying to find a solution to a problem or am I trying to embarrass and leverage others?
- In resorting to social media, am I acting as a conservator and steward of an enterprise and institution that is bigger than me and entrusted to me by God? Or am I trying to defend myself or vent my frustrations?
- If my real goal is to embarrass, leverage, or vent, what does that say about my relationship to the community in which I am working as a participant, a board member, or as a leader? What does it say about my level of commitment to the institution's future? Which is finally more important to me: the future of God's work in the place I find myself, or my own momentary advantage?
- More broadly (and deeply): What does my choice to use social media say about my accountability to the movement of God in the world around me? Can I really justify destroying the fabric of God's work in a particular place by setting aside those priorities in the name of focusing on my own advantage and ego?
If some of those questions appear to be leading or rhetorical, or if they seem to have only one reasonable set of answers, it's probably because there isn't a good rationale for squandering the opportunity for healing and growth in the name of going public. If the satisfaction of airing your views in the social media is what you need, cut to the chase: Call the lawyers. Contact the realtor and turn out the lights.