Good-bye Twitter! I’m reclaiming my life.

twitter

I love to read.

I love to write.

For this reason, I’m saying Good-bye to Twitter.

I’m not a fan of social media. I got a Facebook account when I was in Marianist leadership. It was an effective way to network with our members and communities around the world, but I tired quickly of the endless stream of everyday nothings. (I love you, but I really don’t need to know what you had for breakfast.) When my leadership term ended, I quit Facebook.

Article after article told me that writers must have an internet presence to garner a ready-made audience. Many publishers now demand it. I logged back on to Facebook, but logged off again soon after.

Then Twitter entered my life. It became my source for world and church news. I enjoyed the brevity and wit of some commentators, and still do, but checking my feed quickly became an obsession. I was spending (wasting) more and more time. Click this article. Respond to that comment. Refresh. Refresh. Ok….I’ll refresh one more time and then log off. Sigh.

Twitter is an amazing platform for social change, rallying and uniting voices and people to march and speak out against injustice. Sadly, it’s also a hang-out for hate-filled trolls. I hope that the folks at Twitter do more to control the hackers and bots that sully the democratic goals of the platform.

Another plus to Twitter is that it gives you up to the minute news. Seriously… Up. To. The. Minute. This becomes a problem for someone with an addictive personality. (She silently slinks in her chair, hoping no one notices her…) It’s also a problem when news is posted in a rush, without the necessary fact checking. What’s that called again? Fake news.

For me, Twitter has become a serious distraction from reading and writing. I don’t need to know what President Dunderhead tweeted or said five minutes ago. I REALLY don’t need to read all the follow-up commentary and retweets.

I REALLY need to reclaim those lost minutes and hours. What will I do with the new-found time?

I’ll read the news once, maybe twice a day.

I’ll read more books.

I’ll write more on this blog.

I’ll maybe, finally, perhaps, possibly…write a book of my own.

And, no. Lent has nothing to do with this. You know my track record with Lent. I’d be back on Twitter by noon!

 

 

 

wisdom in 140 characters

twitter

I’m not a fan of social media. It sucks up time, especially for those (me!) with an addictive personality. Social media’s focus on popularity and numbers can be an ego crusher. It also fills the mind with too much information. Really. Too. Much. Information.

And yet, I’ve become hooked on Twitter.

Why do I like Twitter so much? The poet in me loves the minimalism. Twitter leaves no room for verbosity. Say what you have to say in 140 characters or less, and press the send button.

I’m a lover of words and true wordsmiths, and Twitter has some brilliantly witty and intelligent writers. They know how to fashion a funny phrase, a deep thought, a spot-on analysis or a simple, personal thought all within the strict parameters of a tweet. Tweeting can be a form of smart word-play.

As with all social media, there is a dark side to Twitter.

There are a lot of ragers, ranters and haters on Twitter. It’s easy to get sucked into a hell-hole of anger, especially if you find yourself in an “echo chamber” of like-minded folks. The sharing of information turns into a team pep-rally, fomenting righteous indignation against the shared enemy. This happens on both sides of any ideological fence.

Another danger is the passing on of false information. Laziness and ignorance are behind a lot of the  dissemination of “fake news”. Here are the rules…Don’t read the full article. Don’t check the sources. Don’t educate yourself on the deeper issues being discussed. Simply read the shocking headline and RETWEET, with the suitable amount of indignation.

I have a tendency towards sarcasm, the quick, snarky reply. Too often, a witty or funny retort is a thinly disguised put-down. I need to discern my words carefully, whether speaking or writing. Am I sharing words of worth, or simply joining the ranks of ranters? Am I providing thoughtful, constructive criticism, or simply a nasty put-down? On a day of especially dark news, where are the messages of hope? Can I write or retweet some wee bit of wisdom that will lift spirits, mine included?

Trump, arguably, is the person most associated with Twitter in recent times. The media salivates every time the man sends out a tweet. The more ridiculous the statement, the more time the media wastes in covering the fall-out.

trumptwitter

I have my own theory why Trump likes Twitter so  much.

Have you listened to Trump in interviews, speeches, press conferences? Not when he is simply reading from a teleprompter, but when he is speaking as Trump? The man has no substance. He has a sparse vocabulary, and an even sparser intellect. He speaks in catch-phrases. His reasoning is circular. His words give meaningless a new meaning.

Think of a student writing an essay, who knows absolutely nothing about the topic he or she is writing about. What do they do? They ramble. They pad sentences with worthless words. Pad paragraphs with worthless sentences. Pad the essay with worthless paragraphs, all to meet the minimum word count.

This is exactly how Trump speaks.

Twitter, on the other hand, gives Trump a maximum word count well suited to most of what he has to say. Just the bare-bones message, sometimes shouted in CAPS. No in-depth analysis. No explanations. Yes, 140 characters is usually enough for Trump to get his message across. Short, but not sweet. Trump’s words are not poetry. They’re just scary.

Trump’s tweets reflect little or no intellectual energy. He leaves it to his advisors, the media, and the GOP to expend time, money and resources on figuring out what he said.

and yet another thought on silence…

Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives….

 BENEDICT XVI Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization

I still can’t get the knack of Twitter. I have an account, @catholicdiaolog. I basically use it to alert others to a new blog post. It’s been interesting to see the list of followers increase – many I’m sure just want me to reciprocate the favor. And, I usually do. It’s been a way to link up to other religious news and views sites. But, I really don’t think anyone is interested in every thought that comes out of my brain. Or, what I am eating at the moment. Or what TV show I’m watching…

On the other hand, I’m fascinated with a social media that intentionally puts a word limit on your thoughts. Few words, well chosen, can have more power than a rambling rant.

Several years ago, during a creative writing class, I fell in love with the process of poetry writing. I struggled with writing because I felt the need to record every thought. Letter writing was especially brutal. I waited too long to respond to a letter, Then, I felt burdened by all the news I needed to catch up on.

But poetry! Ah…it was a blessed relief. I relished finding the right word or phrase that nudges you to an inner depth and layers of meaning. Poetry, for me, was practicing silence in the writing. I fell in love with words…With the way they looked on the page. With the way they sounded. With the images they reflected.

Reading and pondering a few words is at the heart of Lectio Divina. My Benedictine friend, Sr. Grace, modelled for me how to mine the voice of God in a simple Psalm image. Meanwhile, I was getting bogged down in a confusing gospel passage or theological conundrums.

Grace taught me that God really does speak in gentle whispers and few words. What if God had a Twitter account?! 😉

See also

lectio divina – a dialogue with God

lectio divina – a dialogue with a prayer partner

lectio divina – a dialogue in community