When Your Twitter Gets a Little Out of Control

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sometimes we don’t know we’re deep into a hole. we can look around at our surroundings and think, “this is fine, this is fine. i’m not in deep. i can get out at any time.” and it’s only when this thing becomes a little bit of a crisis do we look around and up and realize how deep down we actually are.

sometimes these pits are serious and sometimes they are a little silly. i recently found myself at the bottom of a rather silly pit.

confession: i love twitter! love it! i tweet approximately ten times a year, and most of those tweets are about the bachelor, so i’m more of a passive consumer of twitter than some kind of twitter extraordinaire. when i first joined, i followed a lot of celebrities, but learned that actually, most celebrities are pretty boring on twitter: lots of retweets for people’s birthdays, well wishes to the troops, that sort of thing. i began following other bloggers and a lot of religious writers and thinkers, all people that i have a great deal of respect for. it felt good to read lots of new blog posts and to fill my feed with theological discussions. i love discussing theology and Christian feminism and race relations and books and politics; all subjects that don’t exactly lend themselves easily to playdate conversation fodder (not that we haven’t tried, right, anna?). so i was getting filled up on twitter. i just didn’t realize how filled.

it all began to take a turn for the worse a few week ago with some controversy surrounding dave ramsey’s blog. suddenly everyone on twitter was firing back and fighting and tearing each other down over this post. there were articles on cnn.com about it. there were a lot of nasty anonymous comments. it was stressful to me. next up was a controversy over the “jesus feminist” twitter feed—and the fact that the posts (mostly quotes from the book) were typed in by a man. lots of passion, mean comments, threats, discussion about who is allowed to speak for or even about women. finally, and i don’t think anyone missed this, was the duck dynasty controversy. i stressed over the comments on jen hatmaker’s blog. i felt stressed for kristen howerton. i want to give rachel held evans a hug.

i kept reading the horrible, nameless comments that people, other Christians, were leaving for each other. my heart pounded, my stomach was in knots.

oh? did you miss all of this? right, because all of this was happening online and not in my normal every day life.

there’s enough good left on twitter that i’m not going to turn it completely off, but i did a major purge right after Christmas. even if i like your writing, even if i think you’re right, i just need to take a step back. no more snarky comments. no subtweets. no retweeting mean commenters or mark driscoll, because i don’t want to read them. and certainly no more following anyone associated with the bachelor.

even if it began well-intentioned, my online life was dragging me into a pit. here’s to starting 2014 with twitter in it’s rightful place, and truth and love being spoken everywhere.

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