I’ll probably be accused of being the Grinch whole stole #GivingTuesday or renamed Scrooge for this blog. Don’t toss too many tomatoes my way, but I wish the #Spending phenomenon would go away.
I suspect my attitude stems from a deep-seeded resistance to being told what to do with my time and money. I prefer to decide that for myself. It may also come from a longing for more authentic human contact. Participating in social network mass movements feels like crowd control to me. I don’t like being treated like one of hundreds or thousands or millions.
There are advantages
I realize there are pros to this movement. In some sort of weird way, these trends bind us together. I know these #’s do help sell items and raise dollars for worthy causes. I’m not against shopping or giving. Nearly everything in my home is the result of someone shopping somewhere. Even hand-made items were crafted from supplies someone went shopping to obtain.
I’m all for giving often and generously. I’ve spent over sixty weekends in the past decade helping congregations motivate members to give to their capital campaign appeals. I’ve helped several non-profit organizations generate the much-needed donations for their missions.
What troubles me
What troubles me about the #Approach is that it feels like we’ve swapped convenience for personal social interactions. Schoolteachers are now coaching students on how to enjoy social time together without technology. I’ve seen images of babies barely able to stand repeating words tossed at them by a toy while parents stood by taking photos to post on social media. I want to yell, STOP IT! Put down the camera. Pick up the baby. Let your child hear YOUR voice saying those words. Let your baby be looking at YOUR face when they try to repeat them. These few short years are going to unfold quickly. NOW is the time to bond with your baby. In person. Without mechanical interventions. You won’t get another chance.
Here to stay
I accept the Internet path between people isn’t going to go away. I pay people to teach me how to navigate the route from my home to others via social media. It is a tool I must master to continue functioning in the world of electronic writing, publishing, and marketing. The internet makes giving easier; but I’m not sure it does much for exercising our giving muscles. I think most non-profits dependent on donor dollars to fund their causes would prefer regular, repeated donations all year; not just on #GivingTuesday. I think brick and mortar stores would love to have our retail dollars any day the year; not just in the marathons that have become Black Friday and #CyberMonday.
I recognize the irony of sharing these thoughts via the Internet. That is my point. I’d rather we chat together over coffee, tea or wine. I prefer to go to a store where I can talk to a real live human being. I wonder if this emphasis on #Whatever is counter productive to maintaining healthy habits in shopping and giving. I fear we’re being maneuvered like sheep toward a cultural slaughterhouse of anonymity and deterioration of meaningful personal connections with one another. I suspect I am opening a door to an onslaught of “I beg to differ with you” responses.
Tell me about it. Has this #Approach to shopping and giving improved your life? If so, do tell. Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear what you think. If we can’t have coffee together, maybe we can at least exchange some opinions – via Internet. I know. How ironic is that?