Monday, November 12, 2012
Inclusive or Exclusive Dialog
If you want to make sure your conversation is exclusive, use church phrases, quote scripture and write a long post.
You know the kind. The words that drip of church-speak are phrases that you wouldn't hear in a movie or at coffee shop. They are insider language and keep your dialog from including people who don't speak the same language.
If you quote scripture, you are automatically excluding anyone who doesn't think the bible is the word of God. That's fine if you want to only have conversations with others who also believe in the bible, but if you want to have dialog with people outside your church context, then avoid leading off with scripture. It takes a faith-commitment to believe that the bible has any meaning beyond an interesting ancient text. Inclusive dialog doesn't ask people to make a faith commitment to be a part of the conversation.
Long Facebook posts are off-putting. I know that I rarely will read a status update that's longer than a few sentences. One or two lines is ideal. The longer your post, the fewer people will read it and fewer still will comment on it. Look at it this way. If you want to have a monologue, go ahead and put up a long post. You'll get to speak your piece, but you may not get much interaction. However, if you want to have a dialog, keep it short and, if possible, ask a question.
However you want to post on Facebook is fine. But if you want to have inclusive conversation, you need to avoid long, scripture-laden, churchy-sounding status updates.