Twitter > Facebook (Especially during Election Season)

5 Reasons I prefer Twitter to Facebook:

  1. Comments are focused.  On Facebook, dozens of people can comment on, and argue over, any idea you share.  On Twitter, comments are directed back to the original poster, and maybe a select few.  Your comments occur in your own posting, and are a part of your tweeting record for all to see.
  2. The Re-Tweet.  The primary mode of engagement on Twitter is the re-tweet (RT); re-tweeting encourages thoughtful, positive messages.  People obviously RT items they agree with, so positive messages are more likely to spread.
  3. One-Way following.  Twitter allows anyone to follow anyone.  I don't expect the people I follow to necessarily follow me, and I don't necessarily follow those who do follow me.  This one-way street allows people to fine-tune their stream of information so that they don't see information they don't want to.  In fact, I often unfollow and re-follow people later, when they share a political view too often that I find unpalatable.
  4. Twitter seems more fact-oriented.  In my observation, Twitter users tend to post links to articles to share a point more often than Facebook users.  Additionally, the public, searchable nature of the site means that people who are stuck in rhetoric without any fact basis, tend to be ignored.
  5. Twitter isn't about self-congratulations.  Again, maybe more my experience than true fact, but the lack of a "Like" option on Twitter encourages people to post things they want to say, without an attempt to have others congratulate them for saying it.  Similarly, the simplicity of the site tends to negate vague or passive-aggressive posts.  Sure, a user can posts an open-ended plea for attention, but it will likely get lost in the noise.
Don't get me wrong, I still use Facebook for certain things, but it is awful for politics and sharing thought-provoking ideas.  Bring on the family pictures though!

The Planting, and Care of, "Trees"

There's a popular saying in the green industry that asks,
"When's the best time to plant a tree?  10 years ago.
When's the 2nd best time?  Today."
The saying makes a point, and as someone who has been raised to appreciate trees, I plant at least one tree in our yard, every year.

More important than trees though, when's the best time to share God with a friend or neighbor? The answer has to be today.  If I had done so 10 years ago, they would be well on their way to spiritual maturity now, providing benefit to generations after them, not unlike the sturdy Linden in my front yard.

Also like that Linden tree, I need to be attentive to my own growth, and that of those around me. We care for literally hundreds of trees that we have planted at work.  In a drought year like this, we slowly water the root balls of trees that show stress, some of them transplanted 5+ years ago.  Like those trees that are showing signs of stress, we need to be diligent about caring for the spiritual growth of those trees in our community, whatever their age, or however long they have believed.  Slow, steady prayer, study, and communion with God is the only way to grow a believer; a quick splash of love or worship now and again might keep faith alive, but a person will never thrive.

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13: 31-32 (NIV)

Reality Vs. Rhetoric: "Growing the Middle Class"

I suppose that most of the time when  people hear a politician talk about wanting to "grow the middle class," they think it's a great notion.  The line seems to a big applause-getter if you watch political speeches.  However, stop and think about what that really means.  Keep in mind, most of "us" are already middle class.  Most of "us," whoever we are, are striving to improve our lot in life, if not for ourselves, then for our children.

I worry that when we talk of growing the middle class, most of don't realize that we're endorsing policies that not only retard people from slipping out of their "middleness" into poverty, but we're also limiting the opportunities for upward mobility.  It's the old trading risk for security equation.  Sure, life in the middle classes will be more secure, and life in poverty will be more comfortable, but high taxes and reduction of liberties also mean that it's harder for people to escape their averageness, and go on to great success.

So, I'm officially against "growing the middle class" as a political metaphor or ideal.  Instead, how about we work on reducing poverty, and leave the middle classes to their own devices?