Today I did something that 6 years ago would have seemed impossible. I removed something from my life, as a test, that recently has not been bringing any benefit into my life.
In today’s world I did what might be considered unthinkable – I deactivated my Twitter account so that in 30 days it would be deleted. My social media presence has shrunk.
According to the official Twitter records I had created the account back in 2011 shortly before we moved to South Carolina. I did so in order to follow some of the local sports teams, stay up to date on things of a theological nature, and to connect with people. As a tool I found it very useful especially in regards to breaking news. If something important happens you can bet the story will break and trend on Twitter at lightning speed.
That was the thing that grabbed my attention today especially as related to the inauguration. Tweet after tweet, story after story came scrolling across my timeline from what appeared to be 100 different angles. While I do not consider myself a political savant, I do have interest in things that can and do affect my everyday life. This means that a tool like Twitter allows me to see trends. The trend that continues to rear its ugly head during events like today is the desire for soundbites rather than critical thinking skills.
Each tweet seemed to be screaming “Look at me!!!” by listing out some rather ridiculous statement that apparently I should take at face value. I’m pretty sure my wife was wondering why I had a look on my face that made me appear as if I was having digestive issues. It felt like I was being bombarded by a constant barrage of data without anything of substance to assist the reader in knowing how to use information. As I always say when teaching a class “Knowledge is just information, wisdom is knowing how to use it”. Knowledge without wisdom can be a destructive force that assails reason and logic.
Discernment is something we should all strive to possess, and I’ve learned over the years that my first reaction to something is typically correct. I may not always know at that exact moment why something appears right or wrong, but it is rare when my internal red flag system (think of the challenge flag in football) is incorrect. When one of those flags is thrown I know I have to take a step back and assess. Today a flag was thrown that opened my eyes to the fact that Twitter no longer offered me anything of substance. It is not ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ and I would never suggest everyone stop using Twitter immediately upon reading this statement. To be honest I feel the exact same way about Facebook but due to certain responsibilities I can’t quite delete my account (yet).
Sometimes to simplify our lives we have to do the unthinkable, even if the changes we’re making are not revolutionary in a large scale sense. Though if it makes a change in just one life maybe it is more extraordinary than we think.