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Credibility and the New Digital Divide

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Andrew Sears' observations and recommendations in “The New Digital Divide: Overcoming Online Segregation” published in Sojourners Magazine got me thinking about how our associations lend (or detract from) our credibility, and how we can use this to advance the Kingdom.

As a copy editor, I think a lot about credibility. I should; it's one of my main marketing themes. Don't negate your own professionalism with typos; don't send conflicting messages through ambiguous prose—don't give anyone a reason to question your competence.

We as consumers, voters, and so on look for clues as to whether or not an organization or project deserves our attention and trust. Networking helps immensely in that realm. Because we don't know everyone, we need to rely on the experience of those we trust who can say, “Yeah, I know them, they're ok.”

It's the same in the realm of giving and volunteering. We need to know who is legit and who isn't. This presents a problem for those whose consistently good, legitimate work involves interacting with those without connections to wealthy people. Those with access to lots of resources don't tend to hear about organizations that work for the poor—or at least, not from people and groups they trust. Hence, they don't know who is the real deal and who isn't, and they're reluctant to give time or money because they can't be sure it will be put to good use. That, sisters and brothers, is how the world works.

But we are not called to operate as the world does. We are called to represent Jesus, who casts demons out of prostitutes and eats with tax collectors. How do we access resources of those who run in wealthy circles to serve the needs of those who don't? Sears offers practical ways for individuals and organizations to extend their own credibility to those who need and deserve some help.

The great news is that all of us can participate. Just as you can tell your friends you're comfortable shopping at Amazon or become a Facebook fan of your favorite musician, you can easily link to organizations and people you believe in, lending them your credibility.

So allow me to lend what credibility I have to Sears' call for solidarity among all Christians, wealthy and poor. Together we can advance the Kingdom and bring glory to God.