Wednesday, June 10, 2009

online meanderings: the temptations of blogging and facebook

How much happier you would be if you only knew that these people cared nothing about you! How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theater in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers. (G.K Chesterton, Orthodoxy, p.12)

I've been trying to find that quote ever since Nicole posted it, because it's such a wonderful antidote to bloggerly self-absorption. When I started blogging, I had no idea that it would tempt me to think so much about what people think of me.

It's good to know I'm not alone as I struggle with temptation. I've been encouraged and challenged by other bloggers over and over again as they reflect on the temptations blogging brings into their lives: self-absorption, people-pleasing, and careless words. All this in addition to being distracted from face-to-face relationships, as I talked about last week!

So why do we do it? - to encourage others, to share our thoughts about God's truth, to enjoy God's good gifts of reading and reflecting and writing - good reasons all. But I need to continually remember that I write, as I do everything, for an audience of one.

on Facebook, blogging and self-absorption

Shannon put my struggle into words in No, really I'm fine:

But there is undeniable part of blogging that feeds a part of us (me) that is, perhaps, not the most sensible part: the part that craves to "measure" ourselves, the part that is naturally drawn to a false sense of urgency, the part that needs to be heard even when there's not really anything to say.

In One of the dangers of blogging Tim Chester warns

We receive our 'seductive applause' almost immediately through hits, comments, Technocrati ratings and so on. If you desire the approval of your peers, or would-be peers, then you say the right things, commend the right books, knock the wrong people and so on. Within a constituency it can all become dangerously self-reinforcing. We commend one another for echoing back the same thoughts. All the time, we feel we are part of the cognoscenti, the cabal of people who know what is right. But 'on the last day we stand or fall on the approval of one Person, one Master, the Lord Jesus.’

Josh Harris' observations in My one and only week on Facebook could apply equally to blogging:

[Facebook encourages] me to think about me even more than I already do--which is admittedly already quite a bit. ... If that egocentrism is a little flame, than Facebook for me is a gasoline IV feeding the fire.

You'll find the same warning in Justin Buzzard's list of 9 ways not to use and 6 ways to use Facebook in Redeeming Social Life Online:

Don’t allow Facebook and online life in general to make you a more distracted person. ... Don’t allow Facebook [blogging] to tempt you away from your calling and work. ... Don’t let Facebook [blogging] cause you to think about yourself more than you already do.

on blogging and a sense of obligation

Crystal Paine gives some great guidelines for blogging in Keeping computer time in balance, although I'm nowhere near growing out of the "sense of obligation" she describes here! Maybe you could pray for me to change in the way she has:

I don't feel obligated by blogging or emails. ... I used to feel a sense of obligation to answer every email, respond to every comment, and faithfully blog something each and every week day.

In my post an end to blogging? you'll find some links to other posts by godly bloggers reconsidering their commitment to blogging.

on love, comments and blogging

Wendy Alsup reminds us of the importance of being careful about how we write online in Speaking the truth in love: "I read too many Christian blogs this weekend. It was quite depressing. First of all, I am a glutton for sensationalism. I admit it."

Lionel Windsor gives some helpful guidelines for blogging and commenting in On love and blogging: "So here are some suggestions for what constitutes a godly comment ... Apply it to anything you do on the internet—blogging, posting, commenting, etc. Be sons of God. Be godly."

That sums it up pretty well!

1 comment:

Katrina said...

Thanks, Jeanne. There is a very selfish aspect to blogging that constantly needs to be kept in check. This post was a helpful reminder of that. I appreciated all the thoughts (yours and others)you shared within it.