The first blogpost of 2010. A new year. A new decade. And a continued series. (Confused what the series is about? I suggest you read the first entry or two.)
3. YouTube: It is probably a default bookmark on many browsers these days. I remember when I added it to my toolbar my mind was primarily occupied with convenience and efficiency – “since I visit YouTube often, then should I not be able to get there very quickly?” I cannot claim to have extensively thought about YouTube however I do have a few thoughts about how I have come to use it and what it’s role should appropriately be.
I am rather convinced that looking at the idea of YouTube should scare the Christian. The name alone points to the selfishness that runs rampant in our culture. I have personally experienced YouTube’s allure – the allure of ever-increasing views of my video that, for some reason, suggest an increase in my significance. Whatever happened to John the Baptist’s declaration that “he must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)?
Why then, if I believe that YouTube is significantly self-centered, would I have it bookmarked? I think this raises the important question of how we use the internet that is constantly catering to what I want? When I look back at my use of YouTube I find that rarely have I simply sat alone and watched videos by myself. Generally, I have watched videos with others, creating shared experiences and stronger community. YouTube, then, has been a catalyst for deepening relationships, even on a shallow level initially. Of course, YouTube has not been solely responsible for all of my relationships or even their depth however this use of YouTube sees it as a tool and not as an end of itself. Likewise the internet should always be used to extend and advocate life as it is actually lived not just virtually experienced (this spawns a whole alternate discussion of things like SecondLife).
Jesus’ call on the Christian for humility clearly calls for caution in exploring the world of YouTube. However, such a medium can also be used to share experiences and deepen relationships (all within the caution that not all videos or experiences are worthy of having). May we always use the internet as a tool to help us follow Christ more closely and not as a means purely of self-indulgence.