I learned a valuable lesson this month about being careful what you pray for, because sometimes you actually get it.
Lately I’ve been feeling convicted about the amount of time I’ve been spending on social media, and the ways I’ve used it to seek validation as a writer and Christian “influencer” (I feel gross just typing that). So I prayed about setting some boundaries.
Almost two weeks ago, I got an email that my Twitter account — my platform with the largest amount of followers, the one I spend the most time on — has been suspended. What did I do to get suspended, you ask? I posted a video of me skating. With music. Violated some copyright laws, apparently. The kicker? The video that busted me was from 2017.
This, honestly, feels like being trolled by God.
The weird thing, though? I’m not really that mad about it. Well, not anymore. I did have a bit of anxiety at first, because Twitter is my oldest and most successful social media platform by far; “successful” if you go by the number of followers, anyway. But of the 3 platforms on which I am active, it has also been one of the most frustrating.
Twitter makes it so incredibly easy to fire back whenever you see a “hot take” you disagree with, and even easier for said “hot takes” to be inundated with trolls who have no interest in engaging thoughtfully.
It’s also fuel for the Comparison Monster. I recently watched a launch campaign unfold for a new author that was way more successful than any of mine had been. The marketing content, from the graphics used to the number of “likes” and “retweets” was utterly impressive. Rather than feeling happy for this woman’s success, I just felt bad about mine.
Every author knows that in order to sell books, you have to have a “presence” on social media, and I’ve had and maintained that presence for over ten years now. I’m grateful for the community I’ve cultivated, especially as an introvert with social anxiety who doesn’t meet new people very much. Social media has become a virtual window to the outside world, especially during Covid.
But as grateful as I am for social media, it can also be pretty irritating. The few times my tweets have gone viral, they’ve all been silly musings that have nothing to do with my writing. But the thoughtful, curated content related to my books and blog? Significantly less engagement. I’m sure this is more related to changing algorithms than anything, but it’s still frustrating when you’re trying to run a business.
Most critically, it’s revealed an ugly part of my heart that cares about appearances far more than it should.
Bottom line? The social media gig used to be fun. Most days, it still is. I occasionally meet people who end up turning into real-life friends, which is awesome. But as a primary tool for book sales? I don’t know, man. When it starts feeling like a chore, and only fuels doubt and comparison, maybe it’s time to step back.
I followed all the recommended steps to appeal the suspension of my account, but haven’t gotten a response. At any rate, I’ve already deleted the app from my phone, and the world has not ended. If this had happened a few years back, it may have caused a psychotic break: my followers! My platform! My “influence”! How will I live?!!
Today, I’m doing fine. I feel more relieved than panicked or sad, which I consider a sign of the growth and maturity that God has been doing in me. These platforms are all his, anyway.