MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

the death of anonymity

There’s something that really gets to me about an aspect of social media culture but i’m especially to blame and I’m mainly disappointed in myself.

Which of these do not belong?

Justice, advocacy, compassion, and… anonymity.

Yup, you guessed it!  It’s anonymity.  It’s a lost art and we’re all guilty; especially me.

We all heard this challenge before:  “when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”.

Well, our left hand may not know of the charitable donation the right hand just made but Twitter sure does.  Our closest friends may not know about the influential person we just met with but the caring Facebook community sure does.  We may be just a generous, random, nameless stranger to that homeless lady we just helped but the blog-o-sphere knows all about our heroic encounter with Sonya, the poor vagabond we just befriended and gave $50 to.

Anyone feelin’ me?

We need to return to the discipline of anonymity.  It is a discipline because for those of us who are plugged deeply into the social media pipeline, our first instinct is to “share” with the rest of the world the greatness we were just a part of.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing and celebrating our “successes” publicly.  However, i think that once in a while we can really work on keeping a “purer” heart by making sure the act of kindness or compassionate encounter is left between 2 people, no more.

Our generation is in danger of broadcasting our “eternal treasures” away.  In other words, some of us are going to have really dinky houses in heaven.  Straight up.

I need to work harder to upgrade the size of my home in heaven by just keeping my mouth shut and not caring about credit or recognition in this fleeting dimension.  I hope I eventually live a life so anonymous and behind-the-scenes that when I get to my eternal abode, I would be surprised to find that someone from the TBN staff scrubs my toilets. (nothing against TBN but have you SEEN their building?  not judging.  just sayin…)

this post is brought to you by: this holiday season. let’s try it out.



7 responses

  1. Angela

    great post, DK. I agree!

    December 8, 2009 at 11:57 am

  2. I agree. thanks for sharing!

    December 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm

  3. JMac

    it’s hard to know that line between sharing to inspire others to do the same, and sharing for recognition. Thought provoking, thanks!

    December 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

  4. DK

    @angela & @jeffro – thanks for stopping by!

    @jmac – i agree with you. that line is really difficult to identify but i guess it’s really up to the person to make some intentional decisions to keep certain things quiet and share other things openly to inspire others. i am
    not trying to make a commentary on what’s wrong or right with this post either. no judgment or guilt trip for people but merely a challenge in light of the holidays– a time when our generosity is tested and stretched. i think a good project for all of us would be to do something weekly (atleast) that is generous and compassionate that NO ONE knows about. that would be cool…

    December 8, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  5. Andrew

    mmm good words Daniel…

    I think for me, anonymity is closely tied to humility. It’s hard to be humble when we’re broadcasting our acts of “servitude” to the entireity of our social networks.

    Which of course, raises the question, who are we serving anyways? Sure, the person we encouraged feels lifted, sure God is honored, but giving ourselves a pat on the back somehow seems to discredit what we are attempting to do.

    True humility, true servitude, happens when we take ourselves out of the equation as far as possible. When we become like Jesus, and lower ourselves to the lowest of positions, to scrub the dirt from the feet of our brothers and sisters, showing them true care and genuine love.

    Yes, I agree there is a time for telling your story, and for inspiring positive action in others, I’m just not sure social networks are the most appropriate medium.

    December 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm

  6. DK

    @andrew- good thoughts man. making sure humility has our pride in a headlock is a great and good challenge; especially with the growing influence of social media tools. It’s not a bad thing to tell our story… social media can be very good and appropriate for this so I don’t think we need to run away from it. it takes a lot of wisdom to share in a way that is not ultimately self-serving. i’m in the middle of trying to learn this… thanks for your thoughts Andrew!

    December 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

  7. Great post, DK… thanks for raising this issue. This question has come to my mind many times (especially lately in the holiday “giving” season) as I’ve been wading deeper into the social media scene. Here’s how I’ve resolved this for myself:

    If my left hand is not to know what my right hand is doing with regards to my giving, how much less so is my network of friends to know (whether on social networks or IRL). So I’ll be all about supporting, promoting, awareness-raising, RT’ing, etc great causes… but will not be sharing when and how much I may be led to give to those causes myself. Besides obedience to Matt 6:3-4 (reason enough right there), I also figure that if others are to support those causes, they will (or should?) do so because the Lord is also leading them to do so in response to the needs being presented by those causes… and NOT because I announced that I gave X dollars to such-and-such a cause or person in need. We don’t need any keeping-up-with-the-Joneses or guilt-based giving (“he gave, and therefore so should I”). Meeting the economic and justice needs of others is to bring healing and blessing to them, and glory to God — I certainly have no place in that picture. 🙂

    December 8, 2009 at 7:32 pm

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