Put the Cell Phone Down & Step Away From Your Twitter

This year a number of friends have told me that for Lent they are taking Twitter and/or Facebook off their phones. The distraction of these networks had consumed more time and energy than desirable. What is their problem?

Well, if you are like me, you may have noticed or actually you may have not noticed how you can unconsciously scan the list of recent tweets from your friends or check-up on your FB friends. For some of us these actions have become so familiar we give away our attention without even realizing it.

This week I have tried to pay attention to what I give my attention to, particularly in regards to social media. My smart phone doesn’t always lead to smart decisions: like when I am checking twitter at every stoplight, reading emails at dinner in the middle of a conversation with friends, or checking FB when I need to be playing with my kids.

So, this weekend, my wife Holly and I decided we will work to set boundaries on how, when and why we are using or misusing our phones. Is this a struggle for you? If so, how are you working through it?

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11 thoughts on “Put the Cell Phone Down & Step Away From Your Twitter

  1. Well I did an old fashion pinky swear with my kids that my phone would not be out in the car, in restaurants, ect. Kids make excellent policemen of parents bad actions!

  2. Hey Aaron, Im enjoying seeing your blogs again…I am only on twitter Id say about 10% of the time, and my phone is not a droid, or smart or anything like that, when it comes to phones Im a little stuck in the past…all I like to do is make phone calls, send texts, take some pics and occasionaly Ill go online. The biggest problem I have is being a facebook junkie…I have found many friends from my past and I like catching up with them, I love writing notes and posting pics, then before you know it 2-3 hours have gone by and Im still on FB..its crazy I know. I honestly didn’t think about giving FB up for Lent. I did however give up TV, for me this electric device is far more distractive….I believe it is a family curse…everyone in my family loves the TV and it is always on, even when no one is watching. Ive noticed lately it has been giving me headaches and I cant stand the noise, Jesus knows I can do more productive things without it. It has been very hard these first couple of days with no TV, I used to watch it at night when I go to bed, because I do not like silence at night, but now I listen to worship music…I have literally found myself waking up in the middle of the night smiling, because a sweet song is playing. I do need to minimize my FB time…I dont know how thats going to happen?………If I think of a way…Ill get back to u!!! 🙂
    Lauri Barkman

  3. AMEN Pastor. I was asked today how I like my new iPhone 4 and then told I should have waited for the next one coming. I have to say that I just cannot possibly keep up with all the gadgets and technology today, nor can I afford it all. Thank you for the confirmation that I have enough technology and need to know WHEN to use it and when to walk away and/or put it down. Blessings.

  4. I canceled my facebook account and have never regretted it. It was to time consuming and I realized how nosy I can be. I just decided to mind my own business and cancel.

  5. Great post Aaron!!
    It’s all about boundaries in life. The techno things in life aren’t all bad as long as we set limits. Thanks for the reminder. I do love Twitter & Facebook in keeping up with your families and others I’ve been asked to pray for. I’ve decided not to get the data package on my cell phone..this way I don’t have access 24/7. Take care & Hugs & prayers to all!!

  6. Hi Aaron,

    Wow! My wife and I just had a little pow wow about this topic. It’s so true and being that I manage social media for clients, I feel that it consumes my life more than most. But I’m always trying to balance my attention and I try to make a concerted effort to not let it distract me while I’m hanging out with our family or friends. I personally try not to take my phone out of my pocket when out with friends or family. If I don’t pull out my phone, the temptation to look and get caught up in the conversation falls away.

    Obviously, we all fall into the occasional trap and revert back to our social, somewhat disconnected lives. But I feel if you’re conscious of it and you want to be better about controlling it, you will. Thanks for putting it out there…because we should all think about it.

  7. Yes, boundaries are important.

    That said, I’m making an income by being a freelance copywriter & social media manager. Companies pay me money to manage their fb & twitter accounts.

    So at times when I can loathe social media, it’s also my bread and butter. I guess it is more about building relationships in a healthy way while not neglecting our REAL LIFE relationships right before us. I’ve made it my point to not have my cell phone on me when we’re out to dinner or on a date. I rarely check the thing once the family is “home” for the night, unless I’m online for dedicated work time.

    Thinking of you all and praying for Kate as always!

  8. Thanks for this post! I was also recently convicted about using my phone constantly for facebook and email. So I decided to start with a small change: I no longer allow myself to use my phone for those purposes while I am in the car. When I am at a stoplight and bored and tempted to reach for it, I use that time to pray instead.

  9. kinda love to read how general a struggle this is 🙂

    I still haven’t quite worked out what place I wanna give social media in my life and how on earth I’m gonna keep it there. I suffer from chronic fatigue so in a way online contact ís rl contact for me as it’s what I can handle; and yet I get so little counterweight from life outside the ‘screen’ I sometimes miss having ‘lived’ a day; having memories of it that weren’t typed out some place.

    Not currently twitterfasting, but ditched social media when our church had a week of fasting start of this year. Quite reveiling. 3 days of frustration, 4 days of utter relaxation. Afterwards I unfollowed about a quarter of my twitter input and clicked a whole bunch of ‘don’t show’s on FB. There was nothing wrong w/ m but like you said: it takes up attention. So much loose stuff claiming a place in my thoughts that cld be spend on more important issues. I kept track of stuff I actually missed and got rid of most of the rest. Also noticed I ended up checking email less cos my pc just wldn’t be on, or my phone didn’t have enough appealing stuff on it to be so addictive anymore. So threw FB of phone and got mail off my openingscreen while disabaling notifications. I find checking mail once or twice a day really is all I need; I end up doing something usefull when I check it instead of stay stuck at my pc, reloading, browsing, and waiting for smth interesting to happen.

    That was the successfull part. It helps at times, it fails at other; I’m still struggling to keep it within boundaries. I think I need to either lay down very strict rules or unable myself to have access all the time though, cos if not it just keeps sneaking back in.

    Ever saw this vid on the issue? Pure genius! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzxmMvbBilM

  10. i love the way you said that — “we give away our attention without even realizing it.” i am so guilty of that. probably more often than i am willing to admit.

    i’m going to be mindful of that this week. i want to get better at being fully present with those around me.

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