Tag Archives: facebook

Social Networking Faux Paus

My social networking pet-peeves:

1. Anonymous, passive-aggressive posts.

“I wish someone would learn how to mind her business” (sometimes there is a “you know who you are” inserted). If you want to call someone out, use their name. If you are talking about a general subject then leave the personal pronouns out of it.

2. Misuse of the LOL phrase.

Using the phrase LOL after something does not necessarily make it funny or nice. I can’t just say, “Johnny is a selfish jerk, LOL” unless there is some inside joke or personal anecdote to which it refers.

3. A distinct online personality.

People who are witty, sarcastic, extroverted, and bold online but are dull, quiet, and passive in real-life exhibit tendencies of multiple personality disorder. Be who you are in real-life online (and vice-versa). Don’t say something on the internet you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Sometimes I’ll catch people tweeting something in the moment that they are too afraid to say aloud. Live in reality and use social networking for what it is. Do not use social networks as a venue for your alternate personality or to substitute for reality.

Do you have any social networking pet-peeves that you want to add to this list?

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The Centrality of Language

As my wife knows, I have become a little persnickety about concepts regarding meaning, language, and the like. Unfortunately I allowed myself to be enticed into a Facebook ‘discussion’ on Bible translation (sidenote: facebook ‘discussions’/arguments rarely work). Shame on me, I should have known better.

I became the ‘bait-taker’ in this Facebook comment thread because the author denigrated an entire translation, the “Nearly-Inspired-Version” as he called it (where have I heard that before?). I am not here to defend the NIV per se but it is significant to realize that no translation is inspired.

Translations are never one-to-one. Meaning is not tied wholly to words but to context and usage (both linguistic and cultural). To use a semi-crass example: I remember learning Spanish in high school and college. I thought, in my immature and innapropriate way, that it would be funny to learn how to describe bodily functions en Español. I learned that, en Español, I would say, “me tiro un pedo” — literally, “I threw a fart.” That’s not actually what is happening during the act of passing gas — it is an idiom, an expression. Just like I have never “grabbed the bull by the horns,” though I often claim to.

Literal translations are never entirely sufficient. The Bible is inspired, but it is inspired human language. As such, all the idiosyncrasies, irregularities, and communicative difficulties of human language exist (e.g., idiom, non-standardized spelling, grammatical irregularities, etc.). The reason I was so bothered by the original Facebook post was the way it disparaged an entire English translation because of one non-literal translation. This person was upset that a particular verse in the NIV (Genesis 2:17) translated bĕyôm (literally “in the day”) as “when” (I know that the NET Bible also translates bĕyôm this way).

but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17, NASB).

“In the day” is very likely an idiom meaning “when.” If I was talking and said “the other day” I rarely mean a specific date and time but, rather, “a while ago” or “when this happened in the past.” In fact, I sometimes refer to things that happened months ago as “the other day.” The real kicker in Genesis 2:17 is not what is meant by “in the day” but what is meant by “die.”

My concern with this type of naïve literalism is not the intent. I understand that those who want wooden, word-for-word, literal translations are trying to preserve (in their minds) the original text. Nor is my concern the actual translation of Genesis 2:17 (I am fine with either “when” or “in the day” and would probably have translated it “in the day” because I think the idiom transfers well). My concern is that a narrow understanding of language and inspiration will actually confuse the intended meaning of the text as understood in its original cultural-linguistic context. As such, strict literalism might obfuscate rather than elucidate the intended meaning.

There are a number of examples of this problem that I run into every time I try to translate anything (whether it is Spanish, Koine Greek, Biblical Hebrew, English slang, body language, etc.). Maybe I’ll share some more examples in the future from things I am translating!

Facebook Posts, Romantic Infatuation, and Jesus

I have some friends whose functional savior is romance. They love the emotional porn that is evidenced in popular series such as Twilight. Romantic comedies form their picture of male-female relationships. They write Facebook posts saying that they “can’t live without” such-and-such a person. They give other people the place in their lives reserved only for Jesus. They want so badly to have unconditional love and acceptance from another person. Only God can love completely and unconditionally. Putting that kind of hope in another person will only lead to disappointment. In fact, it’s not fair to the other person. No person can love you like Jesus.

BP Oil Spill ≠ Haiti

I recently read this insane Facebook spam on various friends’ statuses:

So where are all the “Save the Gulf” concerts? Where are the TV benefits with celebrities & musicians giving heartfelt speeches on the poor fisherman, wildlife, beaches, loss of income and sabotaged Gulf economy? I find it rather strange how these people (including our own government) are so quick to help Haiti & other countries, but sit on their hands for this American disaster. POST IN SUPPORT If YOU AGREE!

The silliness and insanity of this statement shocked me.  This statement signifies misplaced nationalism, lack of perspective, and an inappropriate concern with money rather than human lives.   The Gulf Coast will be seriously affected by BP’s ineptitude (e.g., tourism, wildlife, economy, jobs, etc.), but the earthquake in Haiti killed more than 200,000 people, left several other hundred thousand people injured, and many more homeless.

The death and injury of hundreds of thousands of human beings is incomparable to a the negative effects of the BP Gulf oil spill.

Facebook, Causes, and Misplaced Guilt

I want to make sure people understand that “copying and pasting” a canned Facebook status is not really supporting a cause.

Have you seen these?  “Paste this message in your status if you love your husband.”  How about you tell him you love him.  Even better, how about you demonstrate that you love him.

A Facebook status is a poor substitute for actually fighting for a cause.  You are not fighting autism by posting a Facebook status.  It is much like buying a Livestrong® bracelet for $1 and thinking that you are fighting cancer.  Buying a Livestrong® bracelet is, arguably, a good thing and it is a way to support the fight against cancer; however, a $1 donation does not make you a part of a “cause.”

I think people want to assuage their guilt by identifying themselves with a cause without actually making any sacrifice to fix a problem or bring about a solution.

This is the way Christians often are.  They want to identify themselves with Christ and get the benefits of Christianity without obeying Jesus’ call to sacrifice.