For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Eight Great Truths Every Introvert Should Know
I deactivated my Twitter account around the time I was grieving the death of my dad. If I remember correctly, my last Tweet was in January or February.
When you’re a writer who has been absent from the literary world for over a decade through the advent of social media, it is necessary to do the homework it takes to catch up on what’s going on in the industry, to learn what journals and which editors are seeking work to publish that may be fitting for you to read or to submit to.
I had joined Twitter years ago to meet writers like myself, Christian novelists, agents, publishers. It was a way to keep a pulse on all the dynamics of publishing and to carve my way into a community that would welcome me.
In a recent NYT article, Lindy West wrote: “It’s where you orient yourself in ‘the discourse’ — figure out what’s going on, what people are saying about it and, more important, what no one has said yet…the prevailing wisdom among media types has long held that quitting the platform could be a career killer. The illusion that Twitter visibility and professional relevance are indisputably inextricable always felt too risky to puncture. Who could afford to call that bluff and be wrong?”
I learned through the years that although news and trends were rapidly available on Twitter at an alarming rate, the jarring sounds of background noise—competitive egos clamoring for attention—became revolting (and from Christians nonetheless). Joining them or echoing their positions felt inauthentic.
I quit because Twitter was not the place to be edified. Twitter fostered tension, exploited biblical teaching, and enabled mob rule and heresy. And all of it caused me to suffer from people exhaustion. I was getting headaches more frequently.
As introverts, we hope to impact those who get the message we’re sending: our dear readers, our subscribers, our families, our children. And we do it quietly, humbly, without much fanfare or noise.
Here are eight great truths every introvert should know about Twitter.
- I found that I often felt inclined to surrender to the opinions and ideas, and even theology of the loudest person. This made me less inclined to come out boldly against an influencer’s stand, for instance, on matters of biblical importance.
- I have no desire to be the center of attention. I prefer to stand by the wall, to watch from the sidelines. My husband says I tend to project calm even in heated conversations. This is not easy to do, but online, it is more necessary to protect our testimony from outrage lest we have it unearthed for all to see in the future.
- I exercised the power of the pause. I had to think before stating anything. It’s too easy to impulsively react, to fire back, to applaud or commend someone’s thought. But I needed to consider commenting carefully before pressing send. Pausing gave me enough time to reconsider responding at all.
- The pressure to be on all the time is immense. Influencing others becomes the desirable trait agents and publishers look for in emergent writers and that becomes the standard they use to measure the prospective success of a writer. Unfortunately, humility is not rewarded in the creative world where we work in solitude.
- I’ve learned to treasure my writing gifts more adequately. Authentically articulating my positions and convictions through writing is the best way I can make a difference. Passion doesn’t need to be articulated through fiery words and outrage for the sake of a following.
- I recognized that I don’t have to give up my traits and behaviors as an introvert in order to have an impact. Recently, I went to visit my mother-in-law who is terminally ill. I stayed by her side for several days. My family and I cooked and cleaned at her house. We made time for this. We were intentional about being present in body, mind, and spirit with her in her time of need as she lives out her last days in the confines of a bed, in a room with windows, in the presence of those who love her and who she loves. This is what matters in life. This is what matters for eternity. This is how we teach our young to love and to prioritize people.
- In lieu of randomly tweeting something, I invested my time on writing a note to an auntie, or picking a coffee date with a niece, or calling a brother or sister weekly to check in on them. What a concept! To connect with others who are real people with a heartfelt interest in my spiritual growth, my family, or my friendship. These relationships are built on my own terms. However, online relationships cannot be forged with great care and depth.
- Connecting daily on Twitter was impossible. Sharing daily was impossible. It was stressful and challenged my devotions at home and my creative gifting and output. I gradually realized that Twitter depleted my reserves—for creativity, for peace, for family, for discernment. It took me away from the physical and intellectual space where I did my best thinking—outside, taking a walk, talking to someone I love, participating with my children on playdates.
It’s so liberating to get out of the mob and the constant pull of hostile and divisive banter on Twitter. I can’t begin to tell you how much I don’t miss it. I have loved ones calling me and it’s so lovely to hear their voices, to listen to the expression of their entire being. This satisfies the soul more than a feed can ever offer.
I love that you give your readers something with which to fill the void – write a letter, make a visit, place a call. Thank you, dear one. I am grateful you have been intentional with seeking peace and pursuing it. Even more, I’m thankful for this living example you give us all.
Thank you, Kristy, for your kind words. I remember a time in the past when this decision was lukewarm in my bones. Now I’m glad I decided to do away with it altogether. Thank you for your support and for being an example to me too!
There is so much noise and so much ANGER on Twitter right now. Even if you do stay true to yourself, you can find yourself buried in horrible, nasty replies. Replies that say “I didn’t read the post, I’m just commenting based on the title/my prejudices/my anger”.
I took a social media break during Lent, and I still haven’t added the apps back to my devices.
I also have them blocked on my laptop from 9-5 every day.
As a blogger, social media is a necessary evil, but I pay for a service that lets me schedule tweets, and I have vowed to limit time to once a day to reply/retweet and share tweets from some of my groups, but try to stay off the full feed. I search hashtags like #writingcommunity and other things to keep the junk out.
You have to do what you need to do to stay sane.
It’s always great to decompress and remove ourselves from angry situations. We would in person and online is no different, right? I commend you for your discipline and self-control, Jenn. That is really wise. Guarding ourselves against vacuous mediums of entertainment and socializing is so crucial now that we know what the effects are. I’m glad you’re one of the few who feels this way! Thanks for stopping by!
Yes! I often struggle with social media, its rapid speed and seeming expectations. It’s good to get away from it and focus on the really important things and the people who we can influence and encourage in real life.
Yes, Katha, I’ve found all that to be true and more fruitful than spending too much time exhausted on the internet.
I also left twitter, I just found I was on social media too much. I didn’t like the competitive nature of it. Now I can focus more energy on my blog
That’s exactly where the focus should be. I think when we invest time in our writing, we will find more relief and purpose. Thanks for your reply!
I don’t seem to have a problem with leaving social media to be just that. A place of social interaction. I don’t allow myself to get caught in the fray or the debate or the mess. I use it for what it is. The comparison trap can suck you in faster than an electric vacuum! I refuse to play the game.
That is good, Susan. You have a good hold of boundaries. I am glad you stopped by to say hello!
Obviously, we need a “Twitter” for introverts. I have not been able to identify with Twitter and you have perfectly articulated the way I feel about it too. My best description for Twitter is OVERLOAD. I wonder how those who spend time on it have time to do anything else. And as Jenn mentioned earlier, the anger level on Twitter is at times frightening; some of the things people are angry about are not even important. Thanks for an article that gets right to an important point.
Thank you, Aletha, for coming alongside and responding. I am with you on the OVERLOAD part. It truly was vexing my soul and taxing my nerves. I think it is always best to flee from those things that no longer edify. Some environments, people, events, or situations are too toxic and thus make it all too easy to reject them.
Although I have a personal twitter account and my blog has a twitter account, I am not at all active on either. For those who recently follow me, I will thank them, but I do not go through the newsfeed. To be honest, I never really got Twitter or the fascination with it. I seem to prefer Instagram now because I can control who I follow and in that way ensure that my feed is edifying and encouraging.
Thanks for sharing these insightful words of wisdom.
I found you because you linked up before me at Rachel Lee’s. I am glad to have found you! All of your posts just hit me right where I’m at. This one, especially. I am only on one social media and that’s Facebook. I have recently stepped way back from there for all of the reasons you outlined here. It’s toxic. But difficult b/c people are sharing good things there, too. Three women in my church had babies and I didn’t know it! It made me see how little we are talking to each other anymore. I am glad to have found you and can’t wait to dig in deep and find other gems I know are here! Thank you for sharing your gift with us!
O, Amber, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your heart here. So glad you did. You’re welcomed anytime! Check out my newsletter if you’d like too. I send it out semi-monthly. Kindly, Erendira.