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The question usually goes something like this: Would you rather have lots of power, lots of money, or lots of fame? The assumption is that these things tickle our fancy and – on our darkest days – motivate our selfish side.
Although my answer is the least practical and I wish I could change it to “money,” it sings out from my inner celebrity: I’d rather have fame. Truly. I would love for everyone to know me and adore me. (Maybe it has something to do with my love language: I’ve got a sweet tooth for affirmation.)
Sometimes I feel like my desire to be “popular” drives my Social Media decisions. I tweet, post, facebook, and email because I want to make you (and all of your friends) smile and say, “She is so great.” I smile all day long when I see that one of my posts has been tweeted and retweeted a couple of dozen times. Although my family members are my #1 fans, when I don’t get my “fame” fix at home, I sit down at the computer and find a handful of readers who think I’m awesome. Of course, I’m not totally corrupt. I often email, blog, facebook, and tweet simply because I want to encourage my friends, connect with my family, and minister to my readers. But I just can’t look you in the eye and say that my motivations are always pure. I’ll be the first to admit that when I am spending far too much time and affection on Social Media, it’s because I’m salivating for a little fame. But after a while, the very thing that brings me a boost, depletes me.
We humans love the taste of things like power, money, and fame. But if we pursue them alone, we’ll die of hard hearts. Maybe this is why so many of us have a sinking feeling about social media – even though we enjoy it and spend lots of time with it. If we’re honest with ourselves about the lurking emptiness, we’ll discover that we’ve been using Social Media to feed a part of our hearts that is meant to be starved. Humans don’t grow well on a diet of power, money, and fame. In fact, we are only ever happy when that part of us is depleted. We’re happiest when we’ve heaped every ounce of power, money, and fame upon Christ.
So what to do?
Well, the solution requires a paradigm shift. Although I could grit my teeth and “try harder” to stop using social media as a quick fix, it wouldn’t get me very far. My resolve would last until next Tuesday, and then I’d be back to spending hours in front of the screen trying to make people like me, while feeling less and less like a human.
What has given me some success is writing out a list of wholesome expectations for my time online: 5 to 10 things I can pursue via Social Media without constructing an idol or indulging in selfishness. The focus on goodness has inherent boundaries and a natural point of satiation. I see this same principle at work when I eat a really good meal. I’m satisfied with small portions and hardly have any room for dessert. On the contrary, I can shove my hand back into a 5-gallon bucket of cheese balls dozens of times, needing more, more, more! We find balance and satisfaction with good online pursuits, while selfish online pursuits lead us only to the dizzying center of the Social Media Vortex.
To keep myself from swooning for Social Media fame, I’ve established some practical expectations for my time online.
I expect Social Media…
* to improve my writing – in technique and essence
* to encourage my readers to love God and other people
* to handle criticism with dignity and grace
* to handle praise with simplicity and humility
* to grow in compassion, wisdom, and discretion
When I’m in Social Media to gain these expectations, I can write one thoughtful post without scrambling on twitter and facebook so that hundreds of people read it and love me. I can just post it. Then I go on with my day, knowing that I’ve already gleaned goodness from my work.
Jump in: Would you rather have lots of power, money, or fame? Do you think your love for one or more of these things ever drives your involvement in Social Media?
To do: Jot down your expectations for Social Media. Tape them to your computer screen so that you can remember why you’re online. (Of course, we’d love to peek over your shoulder! Share your thoughts in the comments or link a post.)
Join in! Link-up!
Join us tomorrow for Day 2!
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Posted on Monday, November 28th, 2011 and journaled under Guest Posts, Social Media. Follow the coffee talks on this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a Coffee Talk or trackback from your own site. Keep up with Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by subscribing here.