Can We Find Our “Vast Inner Void” On Twitter?

The rest is part of the making of the music – LB Cowman

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter.

My ambivalence toward the platform is different from most tweeter’s. Many social media users who dislike Twitter do so because of the mean-spirited comments, the constant drama, the bullying, the hate that can be found there.

I avoid the Sturm und Drang by following one simple rule: I follow runners.

Twitter’s running community is almost unfailingly cheerful and supportive. Runners describe their latest efforts on Twitter and receive a flurry of positive feedback.

“I ran six miles this morning.”

“Great run!”

“Awesome!”

“Way to go!”

And so forth.

That is the appeal and the problem.

My word for the year is “empty“. I aim to cultivate emptiness. The “vast inner void” spoken of by St. John of the Cross is what I seek.

I believe that only by emptying myself of my “self” can I make room for God’s light and love to enter.

Bragging on social media about running exploits seems to run counter to that goal.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

When I first began blogging, a friendly group of book bloggers took me under their collective wing and taught me the ropes.

I initially pictured blogging as a solitary activity. They showed me how to follow other bloggers and how to comment on their posts. They taught me about the community aspect of blogging, which I treasure.

The book bloggers also instructed me to become active on social media, so I opened a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

I promptly started neglecting my Facebook page but found some runners to follow on Twitter and began interacting with them. 

Twitter is fun, fast, and satisfying. Speedy runners are congratulated. So are slow runners, old runners, and intermittent runners. We are all celebrated, no matter how minor our accomplishments.

This can be a good thing.

You don’t have to be as fast and lithe as a Kenyan to be praised.

New moms are lauded for making time to get out and run two miles while pushing a stroller. Runners with creaky knees or tight hamstrings are commended for their tenacity. People facing adversity in the form of mental illness, rheumatoid arthritis, or even a cancer diagnosis receive acclaim for their courage and persistence.

But sometimes, when describing my latest run on Twitter, it feels a little bit like fishing for compliments. Do I really need validation from Twitter to feel full?

I like Twitter. I enjoy interacting with the running community there. I would miss it if I left, but maybe it is time to go.

Just because I like something doesn’t mean it is good for me.

I like ice cream too, but gave it up (mostly) when I started a diet that eliminated added sugar to lower my cholesterol.

Maybe it’s time for a no-Twitter diet.

Living an intentional life sometimes involves making uncomfortable choices. I’m comfortable with that.

Searching for the rest between the notes may not be compatible with tweeting.

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

91 comments

  1. I’ve left both Twitter and Facebook behind, Laurie. My husband is still on Facebook mainly for the photography group he enjoys, just like your running group of friends. We do need to question why we are on social media from time to time. I know you’ll make the right decision.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Laurie.
    I have (maybe ‘had by now) a Twitter account that I’ve used maybe 5 times in the 5 some odd years but never saw the point. My complaint is different though which made me dubious of it from the start. It was this limited character count thing which has changed some but still does not lend itself to essay length thoughts. It just r seemed designed to encourage small thinking and curt conversations – which I dislike being limited to. I can enjoy sharp sarcastic banter but being limited to it just does not appeal.
    I was pleased to hear that the running community broke the mold and may be the only group using Twitter to encourage one another.
    I’m going to stick with blogging for now where I can converse with quips, discuss in detail, tell and polish stories and resharing as the mood moves.
    Great essay. Blessings

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think from my experience Twitter does drive some readers toward your blog. You must be consistent about posting, however, which I usually am not. The idea is to have a short “hook” on Twitter that leads readers to read the whole post.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is exactly my problem as well, Laurie.

    I signed up a year ago. Like you, I love the Twitter running community. BUT….the time!

    Now, I only post once every two weeks or even less. Although it feels much better, I may end up following your example.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I ditched twitter because it was a huge trigger for my OCD. When I started getting published by the Good Men Project, the editor suggested I get on twitter. And then I found myself obsessing about twitter stats – way more than facebook and worrdpress stats. I likened twitter to ‘shouting into the wind,’ and usually no one heard me. I feel much better about myself since leaving twitter. Sometimes I wonder if dropping wordpress would do the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Interesting post. I don’t tweet very often. I do have a group of runners on a forum in My Fitness Pal that I interact with every day. We don’t just talk about running, but support each other in our daily struggles too. They feel like family/good friends to me and I would really miss their friendship if I quit that forum. Maybe twitter is different. It doesn’t sound like anything but running accomplishments is talked about and understand how it can feel like you are fishing for complements. You have to do what you feel you need to do. If God is calling you to empty yourself so He can fill you, and this is something you feel you need to do in order to accomplish that, then go for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I go in cycles on Twitter. sometimes I tweet a lot (once a day plus comment on others’ tweets) and sometimes I don’t go on Twitter for weeks or even months at a time. Your forum sounds like it is much more satisfying than Twitter.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s actually nice to hear that you found a positive community on Twitter, Laurie. And having bloggers take you under their wing sounds so encouraging. Thanks for sharing your one word journey, “My word for the year is “empty“. I aim to cultivate emptiness.”

    This is so true! And deep, “Living an intentional life sometimes involves making uncomfortable choices. I’m comfortable with that.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Laurie, I appreciate this post and contemplate many of the thoughts you raise here. As a new blogger I received some of the same advice, and thus I have a Twitter presence. However, I’m rather ambivalent about it, as I’m not sure it really adds value to others’ lives, much less my own. I really don’t understand the platform! It feels noisy to me, everyone clamoring to be “heard”. I rather prefer a vast inner void; a place of quiet rest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am glad I am not the only one who thinks about his stuff, Donna! I am not sure that Twitter is necessarily bad. It just seems like somewhat of a time-waster sometimes.

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  8. Laurie, hi! I appreciate how you’ve compared the positives and negatives. With all the social media options, I’m glad I just stuck with blogging. I love the sense of community it creates and the conversations and relationships that spring from feeling safe and understood and heard.

    This is one time when being technologically ignorant and a little skittish about new things has worked for me …

    ;-}

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed this peek into your processing about Twitter, Laurie. I’ve never been super active on it, but would often get sucked into reading threads about this or that. Nothing nurturing like your running community, for sure. About a year ago, I decided enough was enough and began getting logging on once a week to post my blog and respond to any likes or shares. Nothing else. I suppose I would gain more followers if I were more active on it, but peace of mind is better for me, I think. I suppose the good thing about changes like leaving Twitter is that if you find really miss it, you can always go back. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I haven’t got any social media accounts (although is Pinterest classified as social media?) & I’m content with that. 😀 I like your following statement Laurie,
    “Just because I like something doesn’t mean it is good for me.” I agree! 😀
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I used to be on Twitter too, but found it unsatisfying in a couple of ways. I’ve trimmed back Facebook so it’s just friends and family, and basically I go on every couple of days to wish people happy birthday and congratulate or commiserate as appropriate on people’s feeds 🙂 I am on Instagram, but just follow yarn and knitting people as well as friends. No politics for me either, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am now mostly a “stalker” on FB. I got disgusted with FB around the time of the election and stopped posting. A lot of bloggers really like IG. I guess I should give it a try. I just don’t want to spend MORE time on social media.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I also have a love hate relationship w twitter. I can’t stand all of the mean spirited comments and half truths on everything. I do use it to promote posts. I am much more and Instagram lover. That’s where I connect with the most runners and the running community. i am following you on twitter though. Are you on IG?

    Liked by 2 people

    • My posts automatically post to Twitter. I find that I get a lot more response if I also post stuff other than my blog posts and I don’t mind doing it. I’m just not sure I want to spend the time. I am not on IG. I am a terrible picture taker. A lot of bloggers really like IG, I know.

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  13. I rarely post or read Twitter.

    I am more active on Instagram because it’s fast and easy and I love photos.

    I do not use FB for running other than my own running groups. I post to keep in touch with family and friends that do not live nearby.

    Blogging is my personal running journal and I have met both in-person and virtually so many great people because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t use Twitter so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge. But from what you’re describing it does sound kind of… pointless. i guess another word could be “harmless” though. Sounds like the biggest problem is the time it takes up. Thanks for the interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My new blog posts are automatically tweeted but I almost never even look at Twitter. And stopped using IG, which I like more, at the start of the Pandemic.

    I know most people love both, but somehow it mostly seems like a time suck for me these days. I don’t really feel as though I ever made great connections through either, but maybe I never put in the effort.

    Only you know if it’s worth it for you, Laurie. Nothing wrong with loving it — or leaving it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have never used IG, even though a bunch of bloggers said they really like it. I am not good about remembering to take photos. You are exactly right, Judy – Twitter seems like a time suck. It’s not bad. I just don’t know if I need to do it. I forget it for weeks at a time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps someday I’ll get back to IG if I can find a way to just simultaneously post. I know you can, not sure if you can for free. But then not so sure I’ll be reading, just like Twitter! I seriously almost never look at Twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. There is praise that encourages and praise that “puffs up.” Sometimes it’s in the nature of the praise-er. I have a couple of friends who are very gushy. I have to be careful what I share with them because they just overflow with commendation. They mean well, but they don’t realize they sometimes cause a struggle for me. That has helped me be careful in how I compliment others. Instead of, “Wow, that solo you sang was gorgeous! You have such a beautiful voice!” I try to say something like, “Your solo in church this morning really blessed me. Thank you for letting God use you in that way.” Not to sound overly pious, but to let the person know their ministry was appreciated, and though it was God who did the blessing, He often uses humans.

    But sometimes the problem with praise is in our own hearts and how we receive it. I don’t think praise and encouragement are always wrong. The epistles are full of commendations for people, and God tells some of His children “Well done.” God will give you wisdom in whether this is something you need to put aside or not. In the meantime, you can be an encourager to other runner there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like your approach, Barbara. You give the credit where credit is due – to God. Even though the singers are the ones who sang the song, their talent came from God. I think I tend to be too effusive. I get so much encouragement from the faith blogging community. I don’t think that encouragement promotes self-aggrandizement. I will have to ask God for wisdom in this area. I will listen for His words.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I had a lot of satisfaction from twitter in the beginning. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people and always found it to be a great space. but it’s changed. And from a runners perspective I don’t fit in the English-language running community. Because I live in a Dutch-speaking country and prefer to communicate online in English, I miss out on local connections (I’ve tried, believe me). And most of the English speaking community is on another time zone. I don’t talk about my running much anymore on twitter. I generally find it a place to shout into the void, to get things off my chest. No one responds to me anyway so… ha! I turn to twitter when I can’t complain on Facebook (because there are always people who find my speaking out against something to be “negative” when it’s really not). Nothing wrong with cutting Twitter from your diet. It served a purpose once, just like ice cream on a hot day, but maybe not so much now?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s good to have a place to shout into the void and get things off your chest. I like Twitter and the runners I have “met” on there. A lot of my Twitter runner friends are actually Brits. They should be close to your time zone?

      Like

  18. Yeah, I really don’t participate in any social media (other than Pinterest where I still search for crafting/ card making/ recipe ideas) anymore. I have a Facebook account I keep open so I can interact with a few of the blogging parties I take part in and so I can learn about our hiking homeschooling group meet ups but I don’t really read anything else I just go to those few pages on specific days and that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Social media can be draining and confusing. It’s actually more time consuming than the work you put out there. But still there are always advantages and disadvantages. But seeking validation in such places is really sad. Everyone’s blowing their own trumpet. Can’t have a symphony with that. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you do it right, social media does take up a lot of time. I don’t usually do it right, though! 🙂 I like your symphony analogy. We do need harmony in our lives. Social media is often not the place to hear it.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I am on Twitter and Facebook, but on both mostly for the news and parks info and events and the weather (of course … multiple meteorologists to get their point of view due to weather worrying). I have turned my friends’ notifications off on Facebook, just checking the Facebook “walls” of the 3-4 women I interact with the most. Facebook and Twitter comments are horrible sometimes – worse on FB. People hiding behind an icon to spew vitriol. I am on Instagram, but go there rarely. I’m undecided on whether I’ll pay $3.00/month to stay on Twitter if they end up using a pay wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sometimes post on Twitter, but I mostly “lurk” on FB. I enjoy reading the running group posts and seeing the notices of upcoming races. I agree – there seem to be more nasty posts on FB than Twitter, although I only follow runners on Twitter. If they post something political, I just ignore it. It’s pretty rare that they post anything other than running stuff. I don’t think I would pay to stay on Twitter. Maybe that would make my decision for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m pretty behind here due to big computer issues at work and I have a SPAM issue at WordPress … in two days, I have amassed 1.1 thousand SPAM messages, all from the same place! Yikes! I thought WP could block this drug company, but no – they gave me suggestions but not had time to do them yet due to the computer issues at work. I guess I could live without Twitter if you had to pay $36.00 a year as they suggested. Although my local meteorologist who gives comprehensive Tweets during severe weather events and leading up to them, might be the deal breaker. I have a friend whose FB posts against Trump during his presidency and especially during the campaign drove me crazy … I was not for Trump in the least, couldn’t vote as I’m not a citizen, but to rant and rave at every single news article she shared was just over the top IMHO.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no! Thanks for reminding me to check my spam folder. I almost never do. When I do, though, I usually find something that shouldn’t be there – it is a legitimate comment. I agree about the political rants. I just don’t need to read them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • WordPress has given me some tips to get rid of the excess spam (now 1.1K spams), but I told them I would have to deal with it after our work computer crisis was over and I had some more time. I weeded through the spam the first day when it was just 114, but this would just be a formidable task to go through 1.1K spams.

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      • That is crazy! Someone did “like” a comment of mine about 100 times. I get an email for each one and I have to go through and delete each one manually. Ugh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have to delete them this weekend, probably there are 70 pages by now – there were 54 pages that I will have to “bulk delete” – I’ve not had time or patience for it all week having dealt with the computer issues at work. I have had issues where other blogger’s posts are liked and show up in my notifications. WordPress is very buggy sometimes. We had an all-day soaking rain and it has caused lakeshore flooding. Humbug Marsh, which I follow on Facebook, is mostly underwater. I lurk on Facebook too, following just the parks, nature sites, the news … going thru the news, weather and pictures of other parks with flooding issues, I’ll have to reconfigure tomorrow’s walk … I wanted one day to myself before the “Yardworkapalooza”.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! I can bulk delete a page at a time, but will have to do that 70 times! Ugh. I haven’t done it yet. I spent 8 hours in the yard and a comparable amount of time tomorrow. And then done. I did a post for Monday and would have foregone it, but it is about a special event for Memorial Day and doesn’t happen every year, but I had about 20 “little sleeps” while doing the post. I feel like a Mack truck ran over me right now. 🙂 Ahh Spring and yardwork.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no!!! 70 times!!! I am doing one more post – on Wednesday (I hope – I still have to write it), then I am taking the rest of the month off from blogging. I am visiting my sister, then home for a little while, then out to Oregon to visit my son out there. I just don’t want to worry about writing and posting while I am visiting family. I can imagine you felt like a truck hit you. You did a LOT of yard work! Hope you can put your feet up for a while now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I don’t have to mess with any yard work for a while … I gave everything a big haircut. I have to turn the water on as that all-day rain did not take us out of drought conditions. I don’t blame you for taking the time off – you feel like you don’t want to get behind in comments and feel badly about not keeping up, but you are with family … you’ll get bogged down with the blog otherwise. I am so very behind in Reader – I am debating just starting at most-recent posts. Is this the same sister who lives in Florida – does she winter in Florida, or is this another sister? If we don’t connect again, have a safe and fun trip Laurie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will have to give most of my bushes a haircut when we get home from the Cape. Not the ones that are blooming, though. Yes. This is the sister who lives in Florida. She winters in Florida and summers on the Cape. I have been going to this house on the Cape for over 50 years. It has been in my brother-in-law’s family for generations. I will still be commenting on your posts, Linda. I am just not writing any more until July.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m grateful for the cool weather last weekend as we are entering into a prolonged heat wave beginning Friday for at least a week with frequent rain and storms. My walking may be taking a hit for a while Laurie. Your sister’s schedule is enviable, as was yours pre-pandemic and now as you ease into travel again. Fifty years – that is something. I probably should not have written posts this week Laurie. I started back on Reader tonight. I had not done Reader and commented since May 24th. I am writing everyone a note as I feel like I just abandoned them. That’s nice you’re keeping up in Reader. Here’s what I put. I know I told you about the work issues which have been dealt with somewhat, not all and I’m glad it’s a short week.
        ******
        [I apologize for my tardiness in commenting. I am many days behind in Reader thanks to a major computer malfunction at work. On May 20th, our Outlook crashed and we lost our ability to e-mail for about five days, plus lost all our data; we went from Outlook and Word 2010 to Office 365. I’ve spent a great deal of my own time troubleshooting with the I.T. guy and spent most of the long holiday weekend doing yardwork. So now I will try my best to get through a massive amount of blog posts.]

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you can get out to walk, even with the sketchy weather. I would not get too stressed about reading all of the backlog of posts in a hurry. It’s supposed to be fun. Maybe you could just start with a clean slate as of today?

        Liked by 1 person

      • My regular park has a 5K on Saturday and they’re planting a few dozen new trees and wanted volunteers. I didn’t do that 5K this year and my other parks all have events, so I’m going to have to put my thinking cap on as a few of my other spots are flooded. I thought of doing the clean slate Laurie as I was ten days behind – now I’m still a week behind. By explaining why, maybe I can just meander through until I catch up?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes…meandering through sounds like a good idea. As long as you don’t put pressure on yourself to finish. I hope you can find a good place to walk this weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right – I was putting pressure on myself as the longer I went, it became an albatross around my neck. Work is still not great with the e-mail problem. My boss used to like typing a lot of his letter and memos in draft and would send it to me (very rough draft) by launching the e-mail right from the document. He does not understand how to do an attachment and this has made more work for me. He’s going to New Orleans on business next week and I hope no emergencies come up as he will be dictating over the phone then. I’m leaning toward Humbug Marsh and Lake Erie Metropark but early in the morning. I’m hoping to see fawn and wildflowers and beat the crowds. They have a large pool and splashpad, but it is far away from the nature areas where I go – the park is five miles square.

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      • You make your boss’s work life easy for him! I hope no emergencies come up for your sake. I hope you had a good morning, wherever you wound up landing! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I got away for hours and hours yesterday – actually too many hours in the hot sun at Lake Erie Metropark and Humbug Marsh … came home parched and exhausted from 5 1/2 miles of walking in the heat. Wore long pants and a long-sleeved shirt due to the tick infestation we have this year and to avoid a sunburn as I was near the water. Got some pics of a huge bullfrog and a Great Egret fishing … excited about those, the rest of the pics may be okay too. I’ll look at them next week as I walked today, had to water and do Monday and Wednesday’s post. Nothing resembling work, though we still have issues aplenty.
        Hoping to get three hours devoted to Reader tonight. Have fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no! I tend to overdo it at the start of the season too. It is just so wonderful to be outdoors again. The pics sound great. I will look for them in upcoming posts. Do you carry water with you when you walk? You can get a hand-held bottle holder like trail runners use!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Laurie – I may not do that post for a month as I am backed up on other posts. They have not distributed the shirts and medals for the third virtual race yet (odd … I think they could have done it when the 5K began on May 1st – we had six weeks to either walk, run, bike or row.). I’ve not looked at any of those photos yet with my cute duckling shots. This work computer issue has messed me so badly. Tonight it was the weather that got me here later. We had a storm near the end of the work day today and I had to finish something, so I stayed later. My boss is going out of town to New Orleans but he has left me other work to do in his absence. I have a shoulder holster that holds a large plastic water bottle and have used that from time to time. It stays in place, but hangs down near the camera bag so I usually leave it at home.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I did a virtual race with some of my friends several weeks ago. We still have not received our medals or shirts. Now I am thinking it may be a scam! So sorry to hear that your work computer issues are still causing you stress. I used a hydration belt today when I did a trail run. It has 2 8oz. bottles on it and a little fanny pack to put things in. I was so glad for the water as we were out for almost 2 hours.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Last year they were more together on this virtual race … they scheduled it in January and had a contest to name the slogan for the tee-shirt. This year you can walk, run, bike or row. But still, the virtual race has been going on since May 1st. Their goal is for the participants to reach as many miles as households served in 2020, so in miles: that’s 12,118 miles. There are 98 people registered for it. Yes, still computer issues and I think you are right – just go to current Reader because each day I’m more behind. So you’re right about that. If it is as hot there as here, you’d need it for sure. Running is going to make you much thirstier than walking and just plodding along. Two bottles would take up some room – you were glad to finish the race and ditch them (unless they are permanent bottles of some type)?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmmm…that means each person needs to do over 120 miles! I know you will make a good contribution. These bottles are not throw-away ones. I wash them after I use them, as they fit into my belt. I drank both bottles of water during the run, plus another bottle when I was done. It was a tough trail run (but not a race).

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  21. What you’re describing is one of the reasons I quit Facebook… I realized that I was posting things like where I was eating at just for the sake of posting and I was like why am I doing this?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. After my recent run-in on Twitter wherein my kindness was blocked, I’ve backed down from being there. I’m finding it difficult to want to be on any social media, preferring to connect via blogging. I suppose you have to figure out *why* you want to do anything if you want it to be meaningful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Sounds like taking a fast from Twitter would be a good move for you, Laurie. If nothing else, you’ll at least see how it feels to be without it, and then you can decide where to go from there!

    I laughed at this part because I’ve been on a strawberry extravaganza this week: “Just because I like something doesn’t mean it is good for me.” While strawberries may be a real food and actually a fruit, I’ve been binging with our fresh strawberries this past weekend in a strawberry cake, strawberry pretzel salad, and strawberry jam. 😉 The strawberries draw me in, but the sugar keeps me there. lol.

    Keep us posted on how it goes with no Twitter!

    Liked by 1 person

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