Monday, April 13, 2009

Social Networking, Twitter, Facebook, Jessica Simpson, and Attention addicts

Well, it's been almost a month. I haven't blogged, updated my facebook, or anything like that in a while. There are a few reasons for this: First off, Calvary is currently searching for a worship director at our multi-site campus, so I've been planning and scheduling for two different campuses, and helping with a job search. That has been eating up alot of time lately. Secondly, I've been finding that too many of my online interactions get combative and argumentative, and I"m really not that kind of person. I realized that I had sort of become that kind of person :) "online" lately, and I didn't like it. I actually don't like to argue, and I don't like it when everything you "post" becomes fodder for evaluation and difference of opinion. If you were just having a conversation with someone face-to-face, it probably wouldn't go that way. At least, in my life, it hasn't.

Thirdly, . . . . and this is where I'll spend most of my time. . . . I've been doing some soul searching about our online communication, presence, and motivations.
Let me say, . . I don't think that facebook or any of the related applications are "wrong" or anything. It is the only way, sometimes, to keep up with old friends, family, and people that live far away, for one thing. But, I think I was using them wrongly, and I think alot of other people are as well.

Jody and I used to watch the old "Newlyweds" show on MTV with Nick and Jessica Simpson, remember that one? (chicken of the sea) There's alot to say about that show,. . . but one thing that always hit me was the way Jessica Simpson couldn't sit still, no matter where she was. Her eyes were always darting around, even in a car, or a waiting area. Even when she was among family she would always be scanning the room and looking around. I came to a conclusion (and I could be wrong on this. . . . .but follow me for the sake of illustration). Jessica is addicted to attention. She can't go anywhere without attempting to attract attention to herself. It's probably sub-conscious at this point, but she is always, adjusting her hair, her clothes, and looking to see who is looking back at her.

I feel like we've all become like Jessica Simpson in our online interactions. We're always looking to attract attention to ourselves. It probably doesn't feel evil or wrong to anyone, but for me it became exhausting. I actually was feeling pressure to update my facebook status in a clever way, and spent too much time thinking up something pithy to say. I was blogging to try and get comments, and I was commenting on other blogs to try and see what other folks would say back.

To me, this smacks of a certain kind of neurosis. :) Why are we so driven to gain attention to ourselves? Why do we "need" that? Why do many member of our worship team "twitter" during the service and post a picture while we're worshipping together? I could think of some good reasons. . . but it's just odd to me.

Are you ready for a big, fat, Christian cliche? Are you ready? wait for it. . . . . . . .

Jesus, has given/is giving you all the attention you'll ever need. Yes, through the cross, and even more so day to day, Read Matthew 6 (How much more valuable are you than many sparrows?)

We should search our hearts and cease striving in this area. . . .we are loved and attended to.

I'll put some more scripture passages at the end of this post. But, basically I had a Jerry McGuire moment about online interactions, and I"m going to attempt, by God's grace, to interact for God's glory, not my own. And, to interact to build others up, and not myself. . . to encourage other people, and stop trying to proclaim my sarcastic superior-ness over all.

Are we to have no "fun" online? Of course we can, and I doubt that I'll succeed 100% in my little quest.

But, there is a line, where we cross over from fun into trying to gain attention and glory for ourselves,. . . . . and there's a line where it's no longer healthy to talk about someone, or talk to someone "in front of" hundreds of other voyeurs on the internet. We should just pick up the phone (remember those) or send an email to that person specifically.

So, please don't take me as the bitter, old man. I may be both, and one of my friends told me that to reject these new technologies would be isolating to myself, and disconnecting from others. And, you know what, . . .he's been right. I haven't "talked" to some folks in a few weeks since I've been downsizing on the internet. Hopefully I can strike a balance. Remember, we all thought myspace would last forever too. . . . this too shall pass.

But, I also hope to be a more content, peaceful, in-the-moment person as I seek to use the internet for God's kingdom, . . .not Aaron's kingdom.

Now, for the 5 of you that read this blog. . . . . . . . . .

Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

1 Cornthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God

Isaiah 42:8
I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.


Jeff said...

i'm definitely one of the 5 who reads this blog :-) not 'cause you are so good at self promotion and drawing attention to yourself. but 'cause you have really interesting things to say.

hmmm... i'll have to think about this one for a bit.

i'm not sure my motivation is to attract attention to myself. being the introvert that i am that's usually the last thing i want to do. this who social networking thing allows me to stay connected to people that i normally wouldn't in a way that that is comfortable for me.

no excuses for me not to reach out more in the 'real world' more. but by being connected through facebook i have some common ground that makes it easier for me when we are face to face.

aaron said...


well, you've thought about your motivations and haven't seen any problems. . . so that's great! I hope we all search our hearts regularly. . .

I don't want this to seem like I'm judging everyone. It's a problem I saw in myself, and maybe I can help some other folks too. that's all.

Tweet on!!!!


BMer916 said...

i only twitter from worship practice