My post for this month over on BigBible can be found here.
In a small departure from the norm, I wanted to unpack a bit more personally here.
My break from Twitter has made me reflect and ask myself several questions, some of which I mentioned on BigBible, some I didn’t:
- Have I been expecting more than is possible?
- Have I put more faith in Social Media than is sensible or right?
- Is social media doing me more harm than good in the place where I am at the moment?
- Have I actually even really missed it?
- Have I even been missed?
- Do I want to return?
I maintain wholeheartedly that the church should have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and anywhere and everywhere else it can – for wherever people are, is where God is – and where God is, is where we should be. My reflections here are more on a personal level.
I found myself with this pressing question, in the way only The Clash can express it
So I am grappling.
Have I been artificially trying to construct a community for myself, given the rootlessness that I feel, being in a place I have not chosen to be in a way I would prefer not to be? It has been a hard experience moving to new physical surroundings without being able to utilise any of the usual tools of ‘fitting in’ because I can’t get out much and put the energy into getting to know people in the way I would have in the past. There are activities, but I can’t join many of them. That doesn’t mean people don’t want me, or I them, just my limitations make it restrictive. And that in turn makes life very lonely.
So, what am I actually looking for social media to do? To give me comfort? Company? Somewhere to have a place to inhabit and be? Am I in it out of sheer nosiness? Or a true exploration of a ministry and calling – in which case I cannot step away…
But is social media the place to find any of that? Twitter is very transitory and relatively shallow. It moves on very quickly. Facebook has more of a community feel to it, as recent experience has shown, but it has its limitations. As I’ve dipped back in to Twitter, I have found it rather overwhelming, and very quickly come across some of the things that made me step away in the first place. I accept that some of this is where I find myself at the moment.
Yet for those who have no other source of community, do they offer a solution? There can be a tendency to ‘look at me’ on social media, whether we recognise it as that are not, and maybe that is what I don’t need right here, right now (and that’s about me not you!) – though I recognise that as also part of people seeking community and connections. But there is also a lot of great depth, much humour and some good people to know. I think the great lesson is to not put more faith in something than it can return to you – that way leads pain and disillusionment in all things. But if we (I), take social media for what it is, accept what it can offer and not be disappointed by what it can’t, then it has much to offer. Community – yes of a kind; lots of fun – yes; and the rest, well don’t take it or myself too seriously 🙂
I’m still thinking – what do you think? It’s a conversation I want to have, so please join in.