Alarm No. 1 goes off as the Night Owl alert fills our bedroom.
Tap to snooze? Yes please.
Fifteen minitues later — here comes the second alarm bolstering the silk alert.
It’s time to get up. As I reach for my phone, barely able to see my iPhone 6 screen with one eye open, I go through my everyday routine. I read my texts from those who aren’t a grandpa (like me) and stay awake past 10 p.m.; I delete the 5-10 junk emails I’ve compiled from the night before mainly from Ebay and H&M, followed by the casual social media check of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Then the eventful stuff happens. With my eyes now adjusted to my lowest brightness setting on my phone, I open Timehop.
For those who don’t know, Timehop is an app that gathers what you posted for that specific day spanning from 1-7 years ago on any major social media platform.
It’s a wonderful app that allows for you to remember funny pictures, videos and random posts. Sometimes, I laugh and share a good smile with Kayla. But, for the most part, I’m embarrassed. No, really embarrassed. No almost like on the board of being ashamed.
When I read what I posted 3-5 years ago it makes me sick to my stomach, so much that the words — “you idiot” are frequently uttered to myself daily. The ironic element of my whole Timehop experience is the content in which I’m speaking.
I’m not ashamed of the stuff I posted 6-7 years ago when I wasn’t a Christian. Truth be told, we get a good laugh of what was posted then. Instead, I’m ashamed of what I posted when I became a Christian and served in my first ministry position.
Let me share a few things I noticed about my posts. Hindsight is always 20/20.
1. I was judgmental.
For some apparent reason I guess I thought my job was to be the Holy Spirit for my 87 Twitter followers and 400 Facebook friends. It was my purpose in life to “speak the truth” and let my followers and friends know what God’s Holy Word said. Post after post was filled with me looking down on groups of people who behaved in certain ways.
At the time, I suppose, I justified my harsh posts and comments to being empowered and bold. Now, it’s evident I was cowardly and dumb.
The reality is judgmental types of posts do absolutely nothing. They showcase you and I to be better than others. As I look back to the damage I caused in 140 characters, I reflect on who — of the actual 87 followers — read my tweets. Who did I impact negatively because of it?
Who did I turn away from being judgmental?
2. I thought I knew everything.
I believed one way of how church and life should be .. and that’s it. Surely my big-time ministry experience as a volunteer in a church for one year paved the way for my “know everything” mindset. (read sarcastically)
From posts to even blogs on this website — that we still have kept up (for some reason) — are examples of a close-minded view on ministry. I can look back and see that I adopted one philosophy and ran it down the throats of others.
- If services aren’t two hours — God isn’t there.
- If you’re not laying hands on people, they can’t be healed.
- If someone isn’t filled with the Holy Spirit, they’re lesser than Christians who are.
- If your services are too structured, you haven’t allowed the Holy Spirit to move.
Can I stop? It pains me to even list a fraction of not only what I thought, but openly shared with others through social media. It pains me that I openly disagreed with those who didn’t share the same philosophy.
It’s a hard place to come to the understanding that we don’t have everything figured out. It’s harder to admit that your way is not the only one. The next time you post, be aware there’s a leader doing things completely different than you — and that’s perfectly okay.
3. It was all about me.
We had this amount of students in youth group.
We did this at our church.
We went on this vacation.
I get it. Social media, to a degree, is about you. You control the content and people follow you based off what you post. But, at some point, people will get grossly annoyed.
Recently, I performed a personal test. I communicated with an individual and purposely neglected to tell them anything about my life or my church. I wanted to see if they would ask. Instead, after months of talking they never once asked a question about me.
For months, the duration of our conversations were one-sided. All about the other person.
To a degree, we’re all guilty of self-promotion. We want our friends and followers to know we’re successful. Naturally, we think if we have a large turnout at an event or service, we’re successful. So we post about it.
Harmless. However, when you’re only talking about yourself and your perceived success, people will begin to run the other way. This was my life. Over the last year, I’ve had to make a concentrated effort to talk and post about other people. It’s been hard. But, I have to realize there’s more to life and my social media usage than Matt and Kayla Marcantonio.
My professor in my very first journalism class at LSU (go follow her — she’s awesome) talked to us about the billboard theory. Would you want what you post seen on the biggest billboard on the busiest street in your town?
Believe it or not, one post can change everything. Ask Justine Sacco. Even for us — one blog post about Joel Osteen not only expanded our blog network, but brought criticism as well. It changed everything.
Take it or leave it, but Timehop will reveal character you might not see presently.
Timehop has revolutionized the way I interact with social media. When I post today I think — in a few years, do I want to be saying “you idiot” when I wake up in the morning?