My Fight with Facebook and Twitter
Image from blog.sevnthsin.com
Facebook and Twitter are two social media tools that feed into a person’s habit of self-absorption. (Blogs do a great job of that too.) For me, Facebook and Twitter feed into my delusion of self-importance, one I will attempt to curb.
I am already suffering from extreme paranoia of how others perceive me. Based on my father’s history, I am paranoid of being paranoid which means I’m paranoid nonetheless. I am filled with self-pity and self-deprecation about how others perceive me. It would also be an illusion to indulge in a delusion of narcissism and self-absorption. The world does not revolve around me and here is my clear admission that I wish it would.
I have been confronted with my self-pitying narcissism, which has forced me to mediate on the state of my spiritual and emotional life. I need people to love me and if they don’t, I would rather die. In essence, People Are Big and God Is Small.
I feel hated by most everyone and wish I were loved by most everyone. Realism tells me the truth is somewhere in between. Some may simply like me, some may find me annoying, some may be lukewarm toward me, some may be indifferent to my existence, and others may just outright hate me. (I suppose I should accept hate as a paradoxical form of flattery because it’s more attention than I deserve, but I digress.)
The rise of Facebook and Twitter have led to, perhaps, not just an increase of self-absorption and self-importance (not only on my part but also on the part of others) but it has also fostered further individualism while giving the deceptive appearance of maintaining community. It may be nice to participate in hashtag or page discussions, but in the end, you are a person throwing words out into an electronic abyss that may return void—or unreplied to.
This isn’t a manifesto denouncing all social media. And while I mention its negatives, there are positives: its transcendence of continental boundaries is groundbreaking. But ever the eternal pessimist, I’m consumed with negatives and downsides.
For days and weeks (actually, years really), I’ve been pondering how to handle my Facebook and Twitter dilemma. My day can be ruined by someone’s unknowing lack of correspondence to me. This is profoundly unfair and unreasonable.
However, and here is the upside: I have enjoyed remaining in contact with friends and family via Facebook. Something I miss after having deactivated my main account. While I read and become aware of some interesting things via Twitter, it has become a mindless time- and energy-suck that causes far more negative effects on my mental health than positive ones. If I must have a vice, I shall choose one and even then it must be severely curbed, an effort of my “dying to self” daily.
- I will permanently delete all Facebook accounts I currently possess with all of its corresponding information.
- I will open a new Facebook account under my real name and refriend many of the people I was “friends” with before. But the rules have changed:
- I will allow my account to be publicly searchable, allowing anyone (who I know) to be friends with me, including current coworkers.
- I will not post status updates on my Facebook any longer. I believe this allows me to self-indulge in negative habits that I must break. If a person wants to know about my life, he or she must message me, email me, or speak directly to me.
- I will not post photos (except for the standard profile pic) or other associated content to my wall, including blog posts.
- Others, however, will be free to post on my wall. I will not restrict contact to me and I will not restrict contact to others.
- The purpose of my new Facebook profile will be to keep in touch with others. Perhaps I will comment on the activity of others. This is my attempt to shift focus off of myself and onto others to love and serve every one I can. (Not that it means I’ll comment all the time on Facebook or I’ll be on Facebook all the time. In fact, I hope to use Facebook only weekly.)
- I will eventually delete my main Twitter account after my new Facebook profile has been instituted for some time. I may not use Twitter any longer. It adds no real value to my life other than giving me the illusory appearance of my ephemeral opinion being somehow important by the hour. It is not. If I use it for anything, it simply may be for automatic blog post publishing.
These changes are not easy for me to implement and require a dying of self on my part. I am not legalistic enough to say this is what everyone must do or to prescribe these methods for anyone else. I know my weaknesses, and I am taking the digital steps to address them and not feed into them. I have already taken a major first step by purging these two apps from my iPhone. I can always re-download them if I choose, but my mentality is usually “out of sight, out of mind” so I likely won’t think about them.
A drug addict will encounter severe withdrawal if he attempts to quit a drug he has been dependent on for a long time. The temptation to use again becomes strong. There is no guarantee I’ll be successful with anything I’ve outlined above because I am a sinful human. But this is my best attempt.
As for this blog? Well, the primary audience has always been intended for One. The secondary audience I know of loves and cares about me and my thoughts. I think I am striking my social media balance by not depriving my loved ones (who I am important to) of the inner thoughts and struggles I choose to reveal. Not as a form of self-importance but as a way of reaching out—putting my thoughts out for discussion and getting feedback from a “community.” The community is open to all and I limit my blog publicity precisely so I don’t obsess about blog traffic and stats (as I once did with my previously successful blog).
I hope to find better ways of cultivating and using my time without daily check-ins at Facebook and Twitter. (I will still be stalk-able to a limited few on Foursquare, however.) Perhaps this endeavor will help lessen the paranoia that these social media tools feed and force me to increase my dependence on God.
Because at the end of the day, there is only One who alone has said He will always care about me and always love me despite my sinfulness and annoying qualities. It is in Him alone in who I must immerse myself and trust because my life will otherwise be a grievous topsy-turvy of manic-depressive pendulum swings—as it already is.
“At the end of the day, You alone will remain.”
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