God and the Twitterfaceogosphere

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

I don’t know what else to call it—this swirling vortex of blogs and tweets, comments and links, doppelgangers, memes, and tags.

All I know is I’m getting sucked in.

My inbox is bulging. I’ve got 34 starred items waiting in my RSS feed. I’m tweeting before every meal.   I have an opinion about the new Facebook layout.

I’ve taken to measuring myself in numbers—followers, friends, hits, visits, and pageviews.  My self-esteem rises and falls with every peak and valley of my Google Analytics line graph.

Every day I wonder, Will my readers like this post? Why haven’t I gotten more comments? Why does she have more followers than me? How did he get so many subscribers? Why can’t I look as pretty in my profile picture? What witty and repeatable statement can I make in 140-characters or less? Am I reviewing this book because I want to or because I want the favor returned? What would Donald Miller do? Who is this person writing on my wall? Will my readers buy my book? Is that the only reason I’m doing this? Do I really know them as well as I think? Would they like me if they knew the ‘real’ me?

Sometimes I feel like a fake.

And then there’s the advice from the experts—“You must be on the Twitterfaceogosphere to build a platform,” they say.  “Don’t make your posts too long,” they say. “Write about controversial subjects,” they say.  “Include a number in the title of your post,” they say. “Consider posting a picture of your child or pet,” they say. 

I wonder if perhaps I should write a post entitled “10 Reasons My Opinion About Homosexuality is Cuter Than Your Cat” because I bet that would get more comments than Anne Jackson’s post about Haiti.

Sometimes it just seems like so much noise, and I’m just one little voice screaming into it, desperately hoping to be heard.

I consider giving it up.

Maybe for Lent.

Maybe forever.

I consider writing a dramatic post announcing my exit.  The post would explain why Christians should spend their time on more important things, like helping the poor, and it would make everyone feel really guilty for tweeting about their breakfast or sending their books on blog tours or having opinions about the new Facebook layout. It would get WAY more comments than Jon Acuff’s posts about stuff Christians like.

But then I remember that God is sovereign over the Twitterfaceogosphere too, and that my problems aren’tout there but in here.

I remember the friends I’ve made. I remember the meaningful conversations I’ve had. I remember the encouragement I’ve received.

It’s so easy to convince myself that it is my pleasures that are guilty, not me. I tell myself that it’s Facbook’s fault I procrastinate, Twitter’s fault I’m jealous, and the blog’s fault I lay awake at night worrying about how many books I can sell.  I tell myself  that if I can just get rid of this platform I’ve worked so hard to build, I will be rid of the sins that I’ve brought to it.

The truth is, it’s easier to blame the Twitterfaceogosphere than it is to make boundaries,  discipline myself, and turn the computer off and go for a run. It’s easier to look away from this mirror than it is to face the truths that it reveals—that people don’t necessarily care about the things I care about, that my insecurity won’t go away with better blog stats , that I’m probably not the next Donald Miller after all.

Maybe the biggest mistake we make in assuming that the Twitterfaceogosphere isn’t a part of “real” life is believing it’s got nothing to teach us.

What are your feelings about the Twitterfaceogosphere? What have you learned from it? What measures have you taken to keep it from taking over your life?

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