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A Social Media Manifesto

Adrian Patenaude

I'm a like whore. Well, recovering. This year I've realized that just like I go to chocolate for comfort, I go to social media for affirmation. When I'm doubting myself and my ability to create, it's all too easy to fall for the cheap, fleeting praise of a Facebook like or a retweet on Twitter.

In the world of public relations, social media is regarded as a powerful tool for self-promotion, meaning a professional online presence. But I twist it into a self-absorbed competition for the most likes or retweets. Out of a desire to be accepted and admired, I post what I create, then sit back to watch people ooh and ahh over my "brilliant" work. (Pride. Gross.) It also comes out of a desire to be published. To feel like I'm being productive. To be regarded as a legitimate artist. All of this is rooted in a deep insecurity. The truth is I don't believe in myself. So I look to others for confidence...which is a lousy place to look.

Once my 15 seconds of fame have expired, I start browsing and end up smoldering in jealousy of my talented friends. So I start brainstorming more content. My brain turns into a scrolling feed as I document every witty observation or philosophical thought so I can post it later. The interstices of my life are cluttered with my obsession. Every spare moment is spent online, checking likes and favorites and retweets. I've deleted meditation from my life. Time that could be spent dreaming up new ideas is replaced with the godless clamor for attention. I wear myself out in the endeavor, while the real work is left untouched on my desktop. And then I wonder why I don't have time to write.

But the cycle stops here. I've decided to employ some good-ole-fashioned self-control to change the way I approach social media. Below is my...

SOCIAL MEDIA MANIFESTO

I will not use social media to promote myself, to compare myself or to waste time. Instead, I will use it to celebrate God and others. Before I share my work, I will test my heart for purity and humility. I will acknowledge that not everything is meant to be shared: some is set apart for God and me alone. So whether I post or tweet or whatever I do, I will do it all for the glory of God.

Feel free to keep me accountable to this. (I'm serious. Please call me out!)

Am I the only one who is struggling with this? Let me know in the comments.