Editor’s Note: This is part two of Sherri’s journey using social media. Read Part 1 here.
Social media has provided these key benefits over the last three years:
I’m a busy sales professional. My territory spreads across a large swath of the Southwest, including Texas. I spend an enormous amount of time in transit and when I get to my hotel in the evening, emails are waiting to be read and answered. Being able to check in with friends and family via social media provides a comforting buffer. I look at pictures, read about everyone’s latest exploits, join Evening prayer with @Virtual_Abbey, or join in a Twitter conversation or two.
This buffer helps me relax and feel a bit less lonely when I’ve been on the road too long and feeling disconnected from home.
Praying my feed has become a spiritual discipline. If it’s your birthday or anniversary, or I see you’re having a tough day, I pause to say a little prayer for you. I regularly set aside time to “pray my feed,” randomly praying for folks who show up as I scroll through. I rarely know their specific needs, but trust God does. My travel makes it difficult for me to commit to regular service. Praying my feed provides an outlet for my desire to serve.
Much to my surprise, I’ve found that I use Twitter in particular as a news source. I had no idea Twitter made it so convenient to access news. I follow several media accounts that link to articles and commentary throughout the day. When I do sit down to read a newspaper or watch a news show, I’m usually up-to-date on major news stories. Since Twitter makes it easy to access multiple sources, my understanding is more well-rounded these days.
My world is being expanded beyond my reality as a 50- something grandmother, single engineer who travels a lot. Social Media helps me connect with those experiencing other stages of life — college, parenting newborns, dealing with teenagers, and entering midlife. Encountering other people’s stories on social media helps reconnect me to similar stages of my own life and helps me reconnect with those parts of myself. When I witness joys and sorrows I have not experienced in my own life, I am opened. God plants the world in my heart and expands my heart to hold it.
I have found that my usage of Social Media has enriched my life and my interactions with others. I believe the beauty of Social Media is that it frees us from linear communication restrictions and provides a means for us to develop deeper relationships precisely because it keeps us more connected to the daily stuff of life.
To my son’s initial advice, I would add the following:
- Show up – your presence is gift. Check in, interact.
- Be authentic – people are not looking for someone who has it all figured out. Being yourself is enough.
I would love to hear your thoughts. What SM platforms to you use? Do you use the platforms the same or differently? Do you use social media as a part of any of your spiritual practices? What is most meaningful to you in using this technology? Where have you found digital Holy ground?
Blessings on your digital journey!
Image Credit: khalid Albaih