Book Author Philip Yancey Explains How To Find Common Ground On Social Media - Social Media Explorer
Book Author Philip Yancey Explains How To Find Common Ground On Social Media
Book Author Philip Yancey Explains How To Find Common Ground On Social Media

The internet has been an open forum to discuss subtle differences in opinion. I’ve experienced this myself countless times. You will be in heated discussions if you hold a different opinion on politics and religion than someone else. A book author offers a suggestion on how to change this perception. 

Philip Yancey, a respected author, released his first book in October. I included it as a top trending book of the year, based on seeing so many reviews and ratings on digital platforms (almost all of the reviews are positive) but also my own appreciation for the author’s stirring account of his journey in life.

I can relate to it on many levels, most notably because I’m releasing my first book in a few weeks. (Yancey, on the other hand is the author or 25 books. He has found many benefits from social media, particularly in reaching new people. He’s most active on Facebook, where there are opportunities to chat with readers.

“Social media is a great way to express yourself, but you have to figure out a way to do that with integrity,” he says. “I often start with topics and people that are hard to argue with, such as Bishop Desmond Tutu or Deitrich Bonhoeffer. I’d rather go with the more timeless topics and avoid stepping into the negative comments and back and forth chatter.”

Talking about love and showing respect for others was one of the topics we discussed. I joked that we get into debates on social media when we pick specific people to love or not love, and how that’s not a great way to develop common ground. Every person is worth loving regardless of their differences.

“For writers in particular, it is hard for us because it is counter-intuitive to beat our own drums,” he says. “We want to rely on the effect of our words.” We both agreed social media could help us, but it has also become a hindrance at times, especially as authors and writers. 

For me, it’s the nuanced dissection of opinions that has caused the most quarreling; e.g., the people who agree with something I’ve written for the most part but take issue with one comment. As the director J. J. Abrams once said, “We live in a moment where everything immediately seems to default to outrage. There’s an M.O. where ‘it’s either exactly as I see it or you’re my enemy’. It’s a crazy thing that there’s such a norm that seems to be devoid of nuance and compassion….we knew every decision we made would please someone and infuriate someone else.”

Yancey holds a similar viewpoint on social media.

“As soon as you declare a position, the other side doesn’t listen and you are judged. I’d rather show grace to people who are so marginalized these days,” he says. “By not taking a position on certain red-flag issues, no one can pin me down. There’re a need for some bridge-builders and some reconcilers. In our divided society we don’t find many people who see that as their calling, but for me it is my calling.”

That is ultimately the greatest challenge. It can lead to widespread discord and arguments over nuance. Or it can open up opportunities for building healthy relationships and ultimately finding common ground.

Yancey’s view on reconciliation is a good one. We can all hope to share that spirit and not deconstruct the views of others.

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About the Author

Adam is an owner at Nanohydr8. He really loves comedy and satire, and the written word in general.

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