When to listen, and when to mute
Last night I made the decision to mute several keywords on Twitter. (You can do this on the Tweetbot social media client.)
I follow a lot of journalists and foreign policy analysts on Twitter. It’s an important source of news and analysis about events and trends impacting the unreached. (It’s also a channel for me to tell the story of the unreached.) As one of my primary sources – thinkers and writers who refer to important long-form reads – it’s key that I use it well.
Unfortunately, the brou-ha-ha that is the American election continues to swamp Twitter, and a lot of people – including the journalists and analysts I normally follow – are commenting on everything happening in the aftermath.
This leads to a challenging situation. I want to avoid an “echo chamber” effect where I only hear opinions and ideas that I already agree with. On the other hand, the American election and its aftermath is not really something that I am focused on, work-wise. With the exception of the issue of diaspora ministries, most of the unreached are only barely affected by the election.
So last night, as I said, I made the decision to mute some keywords – Trump, Clinton, Bannon, Recount. Almost immediately, this made a tangible difference in my timeline, and I noticed about a half dozen articles that otherwise would have been drowned in the “noise.”
I do not advocate disengagement from the world, but sometimes in order to focus on the thing we are called to, we will have to ignore some of the “noise.” We do not have to listen to every voice clamoring for our attention. In the end, time and attention are (perhaps?) the two scarcest commodities we have, and we need to use them wisely.