Monday, March 5, 2012

Why I Don't Tweet


Why aren't you on Twitter?

It's a question I've been asked often, probably due to my social networking habits. With its ability to gather hundreds of followers and share snippets of information as 140-character blurbs, Twitter forms the perfect trifecta of social networking alongside Facebook and blogging (sorry, Google+).

I don't have Twitter and I don't want it. Here's why:

Too much noise and distraction in my life. It's already hard for to be present with the people I love. With a laptop and iPhone, the amount of relational static caused by the Internet can be painfully overwhelming at times. My wife and I have to remind ourselves to put our phones away and simply be with each other and our children. Adding Twitter would only increase the noise, and might push my already-stretched sense of networking self-control over the edge into technology oblivion. Reminds me of the Portlandia skit below (click here if the video doesn't show up for you):



Too much temptation towards self-promotion. It already feels a bit weird to put my personal thoughts, stories, and opinions out there on the Internet. In my own insecurity, I desperately want to be liked by others, even if that just means my Facebook status or blog post was "liked." I imagine that Twitter would only fuel that fire for me, adding another way to evaluate and compare myself to others (Did people re-tweet my tweet? Did the popular Twitter user choose to follow me? Did he/she respond to my tweet directed to them?). In the writing and Internet world, there are plenty of strong voices encouraging us to build a platform and get a tribe of followers. The very image of a platform is to create my own tower and place myself on it so that I can be noticed by others. Didn't that already happen once, to a destructive end?

Too few ways to encourage. At times, Facebook and blogging can be truly beneficial for others. I've gotten enough feedback from friends, family, and complete strangers to know that (for me) these mediums are encouraging and thought-provoking. Something I wrote in a post or a status was used by the Lord to extend His grace to another human being. That completely baffles me, and I'm deeply humbled every time someone is blessed by my musings and stories. With Twitter, one has 140 characters to write a blurb, which ends up being a soundbite (noise) or a link URL to one's own blog post (self-promotion). It seems difficult to encourage and be encouraged when there's little in the way of depth or ongoing conversation. Perhaps I'm wrong on this one because I haven't experienced it; it's just how I feel, and I'm open to being corrected.

I don't have a cool custom blog design or my own URL (though I did purchase joelmayward.com about a year ago and just can't figure out what to do with it...so if you want to help me figure that out, email me here). I'm don't know how to write HTML or how to increase Google searches or how to create my own fonts or logos. That's not my gifting, my calling, or my passion. I love youth ministry, theology, church, movies, and Jesus. I also love writing, so I write about the things I love and post them in bloggy form and pray that someone is blessed and encouraged (even if it's just me).

Twitter users: do you agree or disagree on my three reasonings above? What have you found to be the pros and cons of using Twitter? Share in the comments.

You can't follow me on Twitter, but you can certainly follow the RSS feed for this blog. I'd also love for us to be Facebook friends.

2 comments:

  1. From someone who used FB for several years before coming over to Twitter, I found FB to be far more narcissistic tending than Twitter. I've been on Twitter for over two years now and have connected far more deeply, being inspired and lending inspiration, than ever on FB. I think some of your reasons for holding out on twitter could also be used by people who left FB. In other words, its all in how you use it and finding your best method of connecting with others. Twitter works better for me, but then again its all in who you follow. But from experiencing both, you cant really bash one or the other, you just need to find what works for you. I personally have restored deeper connectedness to my social life since deactivating my FB account, and my family is experiencing more real community as opposed to pseudo community. Just find what works for you but dont overconsume on any.

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    1. Great response, and I totally agree that one isn't inherently better/worse than another. I also agree about the over consumption; I think that's what I fear for myself, which is why I'm choosing not to tweet. Consider it social network dieting :)

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