This is Pastor Tim’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, July 12, 2022.
Many of you probably heard that Elon Musk, the eccentric billionaire, was making a play to purchase the social media platform Twitter. I thought that sounded interesting, so I signed up for a Twitter account. I am kind of proud of myself; I had it for a little over a month before I deleted it. I deleted it because my suspicions were confirmed: social media is no place for a normal person, even a person as normal as me.
In that month I had the account, I did not friend anyone. I turned down many multiple of friend requests from lonely college girls. Not sure why they would be interested in an overweight, middle aged, white guy, but they sure sent me a lot of requests in that month. I turned them all down.
The reason I realized that Twitter is no place for me is when I made one comment on a post, ONE POST. There was some person with blue hair who apparently had a tragic accident where a box of fishing lures blew up in their face who made a comment that I disagreed with. Yes, I admit, in a moment of weakness, I commented on this person’s post trying to point out the error in their logic. Little did I know, that person was not interested in debate. They immediately blocked me but left my rebuttal up. I started getting a lot of messages from people who called me names I had to look up to figure out what they were. That was a mistake because now I have images in my mind I wish I didn’t have. People can be downright mean online!
So I did what I believed I had to do. I blocked out the entire media outlet known as Twitter by deleting my account, having lasted a few days shy of 5 weeks. What this experience has left me wondering is why in God’s name would anyone want prolonged exposure to that environment? It is clear that no one wants to listen to anyone, or take seriously any kind of debate or conversation. All they want to do is get on there and preach sermons. I know that is a very strange thing for me to have a problem with, but I only preach for 20-22 minutes a week. I honestly spend the vast majority of the other 10,060 to 10,058 minutes per week listening. I listen to all kinds of things from all kinds of opinions. I read, reflect, and occasionally respond to many different sources.
The colorful people I found on Twitter were in no way interested in anything resembling conversation. What they were looking for was affirmation. You are great and wonderful and smart and awesome and so totally correct on every syllable that has ever come out of your mouth. That is what they want, and anything less than that is seen as an attack that they and their minions have to destroy.
Are we that afraid of people who disagree with us? I like to have people agree with me as much as the next guy, but I do not base my self-esteem or my self-worth on what anyone else thinks. When we put that kind of power in the hands of other people, particularly people you only know from social media, you open yourself up to a world of hurt. People on there are vicious, and they know a whole lot of mean words they will attempt to assign to you.
I have two pieces of advice for you today. First and most obvious, please limit your exposure to the cesspool known as social media. If you have a closed account and only interact with people you know in real life, then that is great. I strongly encourage you to use social media in that way. However, if you are out there exposing yourself to influences that you only know from a digital screen, then you are inviting a huge unknown into your life.
Second, guard your self-esteem. I know that I get paid to say things like this, but I strongly encourage you to go to God for help with that and to avoid the opinions of people you don’t know and who don’t know you. The Good Lord sees us as sinners and broken but He also “so loved the world” as John 3:16 teaches us. We are valuable in His eyes, even if we are not perfect.
We are all seeking validation and affirmation. We see signs and symptoms of that all the time all over the world. People are trying to find it in the wrong places. If you or your kids or grandkids are getting too caught up in the false world of screens, please break that addiction and go into the real world. Deleting Twitter had no effect on me whatsoever because I don’t care. If you are in a place where you CAN’T be without social media, then you need to give some serious thought to what that means.