“Can you feel the silence?” - Van Morrison
I’m breaking up with Twitter and facebook.
There is no one reason for this. There are a number of little shard-like reasons. All little to nothing by themselves. But in the aggregate, enough discomfort to walk away.
I got tired of the silliness of always feeling like I needed to check facebook and twitter.
The noise was crowding out any possibility for silence.
Every clever thought was immediately followed by the need to post it. And often the clever thought was born out of the need to post something. Anything. The tail was wagging the dog.
On facebook I had hidden almost every pastor. On Twitter they were not in my reading list. They were mostly quote machines, or pithy statement-makers – as spiritual as Jesus and certainly more clever.
I was tired of seeing the word “mission/missional/mission-etc.” and every possible variation of “gospel-hyphenation.”
I was tired of feeling too cool to comment and respond. And then I would wonder if that was the reason someone did not respond or comment on what I said.
I got tired of people just making up new requirements for pastors.
I got real tired of wanting to tell people what I think they should do.
And I got tired of wanting to attack so much of what was above.
I got tired of being tired of it all.
So I’m quitting for at least a month. Maybe forever.
This past friday evening, I was at home alone. It was quiet. I went and sat on the front porch. The only light available came from my house. So I turned them all out and sat in the still and the quiet and the dark. I lit my pipe, watched the smoke curl into the air and sat there for an hour or more. I actually have no idea how long. I just thought. I thought about all kinds of things and every now and again I would think about the unique thing this was…
“I’m not on facebook right now and I’m glad…it’s so quiet…no stupid hashtags on twitter…it’s so quiet…something is moving around in the copse south of our home…and it’s quiet enough to hear a leaf parachute to the earthen floor…”
Does anyone ever stop and just think anymore? Without guilt? Usually we fill up our time with some form of entertainment or work or social activity. All good things. But thinking alone seems to be at a premium.
I have so few times of sitting and thinking in my life. The portability of my music collection, my iPhone and my computer make me always accessible and everyone else is also. Movies are so easy to get at, what with Netflix and Hulu. My parents used to have to wait till the weekends to watch a movie. What did they do in the meantime?
So on Saturday, full-hearted from the night before’s lack of events, I deleted facebook and Twitter from my iPhone. For two and a half years facebook has been accessible wherever I am. But I took it and Twitter and thrust it into the nether regions of cyberspace…as far as I was concerned at least.
And it crashed.
Thankfully I was able to find out this was a common enough occurrence and I was able to find a solution. But for about an hour I was entertaining the reality of having no iPhone. We are not sure how we will be able to buy Christmas presents for our kids so the idea of shelling out money for a new iPhone was preposterous. I had often said I would never be able to go back to a normal cell phone. Now I am not so sure I can say that with such confidence. I’m not even sure I want the phone I have anymore.
There is so much to think about and all the while I’ve been filling that space with social media and digital information. God, grace, family, law, beauty, friends, love, creation, indoor-plumbing, the cross, gravity, food, music and death; all worth my thoughts in the silent moments between the noise of life. Those times have always been there but before they were frustrating and boring; times to be got over and gotten through. I want to think differently.
So I’m breaking up with Twitter and facebook.
Both accounts will be around for awhile. They will both still be used for publishing. But that could change at any time.
There are “difficulties”that will come with this decision. I won’t be able to keep up with many people like before. I will miss out on news stories, music recommendations and the little details of people’s lives which made social media so enjoyable. But I am willing to look into paying that price.
I like what I can do with social media, the internet and my iPhone. I’m just not sure what all it’s doing to me.