about a week ago, i read a tweet from a friend that i thought was funny. i wanted to respond to it, but i knew that my response was one that could offend people, so instead of doing a normal reply, i went to send them a direct message. i clicked on the menu button to send the direct message, but imagine my surprise when i saw that the direct message button was grayed out. there was only one way that this could happen:

the friend didn’t follow me back.

do me a favor and read that last line again and then gasp. it’ll make it more fun and make me feel better about my story.

my friend that i followed had made a decision at some point in time to unfollow me. there was a point in his life where he decided that my tweets weren’t worth the .00043 seconds that they took to read.

i was offended.

i was hurt.

i was stupid.

if i really wanted to respond to this friend, i could have:

a) called him.
b) texted him.
c) e-mailed him.
d) facebooked him.
e) skyped him.
f) facetimed him.
g) written him a letter and mailed it to his house.
h) driven to his house and told him personally.
i) sent him something on google plus.

okay, that last one was a lie. no one uses google plus. my point in all of this is that i had multiple different ways to communicate with him. twitter was not my only form of communication with this guy. the practicality of the response was overridden by my pride being hurt because he thought i wasn’t as interesting online as i thought i was.

does that sound stupid to anyone else?

i’m a social media guy. i love it. i value it and what it can bring to relationships and how it can connect people who would otherwise never meet. if i looked through my replies on twitter from the past 24 hours, i’d see responses from friends in multiple states and one from a friend in another country. social media can connect us in ways that weren’t even conceivable ten years ago.

while i value the benefits of social media, i know that there are dangers and drawbacks as well. relationships get distorted. opinions are condensed into 140 characters or less. privacy goes away.

last summer i went through twitter and unfollowed over 200 people in one weekend. some were people who i had followed at one point and then my interests changed so i unfollowed them. some were people that i didn’t care to see tweet about their drama. others were friends that simply rubbed me the wrong way on twitter.

i basically got offended for someone doing the exact same thing that i did.

our relationships with people are some of the most important things that we have in this life. those relationships cannot and should not be based off of activity on the internet in 140 characters or less. when we allow the amount of people who follow us to be something that we put our self worth in, we completely miss the point.

life is not about followers.

life is about relationships.

imagine what your life would look like if you spent more time investing in real relationships and not digital ones.

imagine what our communities would look like if we stopped going back and forth on twitter and grabbed coffee or a milkshake and had the same conversations.

imagine how we could change the world if we all banded together over the cause of christ like we do a picture with a bible verse on it.

to the guy who unfollowed me – i’m sorry i got offended. i’m sorry i let it bother me. i’m sure you had your reasons and i respect that. we can still be friends without the help of al gore’s internet.

in all actuality, we may be better friends without it.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.