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How wide is our listening?

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 30 June 2013

Microsoft have hit very bad timing with their advertising campaign “Your privacy is our priority” given what we have heard from Edward Snowden and the responses of various governments.

That whole saga raises many questions about privacy and government-run snooping which could not conceivably be done without the involvement of major IT companies.  Their campaign does raise other questions.  One image from it is of a child with the caption – Some things you’ll share online: “Got first cell phone” – Some things maybe not: “Confiscated at school”.

I am a relative latecomer to “Social Networking”.  I don’t have a Facebook account but I have started using Twitter.  For me, it’s more about the information that I glean (much about my love of food and through it I obtain a lot of recipes and restaurant reviews).  But I “tweet” very little. Twitter contains a lot of items of news and wider interest but also a lot of items that just don’t need to be shared.  As some people say “Too Much Information”.  There is also a host of gossip, as Sally Bercow demonstrated to her cost.

It’s been an interesting experience for me.  Who do I choose to follow (listen to on Twitter) and why?  Who do I “unfollow” and what is it that prompts me not to want to listen to someone again?  I try hard to ensure that I listen to a variety of viewpoints on my areas of interest.

In our listening, these questions apply not just to “modern” communication.  How wide is our listening?  Perhaps Guardian readers need to buy the Telegraph or even the Daily Mail (and vice versa) for a few weeks!  

And in our speaking, do we make sure that discretion is the better part of valour.  Is Twitter just one outworking of what Jesus said: What you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the rooftops (Luke 12:3)?

Jeff Claxton