Insta-Lover of Instagram

Today’s post is by Stef. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day! 


Being a lover of photography, I always chuckled a bit at those who took pictures on their smart phones and posted them on different social media sites. Then, I myself got an iPhone. Almost immediately I downloaded an iPhone application called Instagram. Instagram is a social media app that allows for users to post minimally edited pictures to a personalized profile. Once posted, other users can view the pictures and “like” them or comment on them if they so choose.

Though I am still a dedicated camera user, I have become an insta-lover of Instagram.

I consider all of my Instagram photos to be amateur shots and by no means think this iPhone app makes me a photographer. I do, however, love capturing the little moments throughout my day. Instagram helps me keep track of my blessings and what makes me smile. Looking back at each picture reminds me of all the things to love about life.

Enjoy this peek into the past few weeks of Stefanie’s Life through Instagram!

Insta-love - pottery plates

Insta-love Boots made for walking insta-love crepes Insta-love Drinks Insta-love elevator insta-love Franny Insta-love house by the road Insta-love My Books Insta-love salad Insta-love Shakes insta-love Stef Insta-love Stef and Snow Insta-love taxi
Insta-Love 2 Tigris on pillows Insta-Love

The Exhaustion of Reacting

Let me describe the scene:

I’ve just read something controversial on the web. It may be a blog, a news article, an editorial – whatever, the point is it bothers me.  I believe it’s wrong or ignorant or ill-informed or many other adjectives. I begin to read the comments. There are strong reactions on both sides. With each comment I’m either vigorously nodding my head with a silent “yes! exactly!” or shaking it emphatically with a “are you kidding me? are you an idiot?”.

And of course, I have to add my comment, my voice … important it is, so compelling, so necessary.

And then there’s a link – to someone else who’s reacted. And I go to that link and read another article and the same thing happens. Whether it’s a link to a good source of information or a not so good source doesn’t matter – what matters is that the link draws me in and now I am fully a part of this viral reaction.

And I know I should get back to work, I know this is a terrible use of time, I know that the “Whatsoever is good, lovely, excellent, pure” thoughts left the first time I called someone an idiot for disagreeing. But no matter – because I am locked into this cycle and I need to see it through.

And see it through I do – to the end of the day and on into the night. Each link a little more compelling, each opinion putting its hooks into my mind.

I’m swept along in this swiftly rushing river of comments and reactions and I can’t find my way to the edge. I don’t realize that I’m heading straight towards a steep waterfall – and when I get there, I will go over the edge. I’ll be beyond saving. 

And night-fall comes and I lay down in bed and I am exhausted – exhausted because all day long I’ve been silently reacting. I’ve wasted valuable time and energy on reacting. I’ve been unfaithful to myself and my God because of reacting.

When is it time to stop the madness, to draw the line and say “No more”.

No more because time is a gift, and I’m wasting it. No more because my reacting is affecting no one but myself. My voice is lost and I’ve read so much I don’t even know what I think anymore – I just react.

This reacting on the internet is our modern-day mob mentality. While we look in horror at televised scenes of the Middle East and other parts of the world where mobs take over and terrible things happen, the same thing is taking place all around us. Seemingly the results aren’t as harmful but they are. Through our reacting, reputations are ruined, friendships broken, and minds made more ignorant.

I want to live above this reacting but it will take discipline and living counter-culture; it will take humility and realizing that my voice isn’t that important. It will take courage and help.

How about you? Are you exhausted from reacting and want to live above the fray? Or is this not your struggle? Let’s talk about this!

Pondering in Our Hearts or Tweeting to the World?

Like any good company, Twitter is looking for ways to increase their business. Not being a marketer or business guru I don’t know all the ways this is accomplished, but I do know that they look at usage; they want me to use, they want you to use.

English: A Twitter tweet

They look at what tweets are most popular, why they are popular, and how they can increase tweets, retweets, and new love affairs with twitter.

The NY Times published an article a few months ago called “Christian Leaders are Powerhouses on Twitter”. The article said that it was in looking at popularity of tweets that a twitter employee found out about the “faith world”, in particular the “evangelical world”.

As they studied this group, they noted that followers retweet the twitter posts of religious leaders more than twice as much as popular “pop culture” leaders, the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber. While Perry and Bieber undoubtedly have more followers, their tweets get shared less.

This was a world they had largely ignored, mainly because they didn’t realize that it existed as a business prospect. Why the popularity of these tweets? What content did these leaders have that could compete with Katy Perry’s 26 million followers and tweets like “KATYCATS! It’s time for YOU GUYS to take home a trophy! Vote for Biggest Fans (and Best Female & Best Pop) at #MTVEMA.” of “There’s no place like Tokyo, there’s no place like Tokyo, There’s no place like Tokyo.”

As a business venture, this group matters. How do they increase both the understanding and use of twitter among religious leaders and their followers? How do they teach someone that it’s a “tweet, not a twit” and more?

Social media and religion are an interesting mix. One person argues that “The Bible is made for twitter” (most verses have 100 characters or less) so tweeting a verse from Proverbs on a Monday morning could be a perfect way to influence someone’s day. Others said this is a perfect way to engage, connect, challenge and encourage.

And then there is the inevitable tweeting of thoughts and opinion, no matter how intimate, twitter is the perfect way to spread to the world what we are thinking and feeling.

But it brings up some questions….

When do we, when do I, need to keep my thoughts to myself, to not spread them to the world but instead to ponder them quietly with God, sometimes in awe, sometimes in amazement, other times in searching or struggle? What should be seen by the world, and what is too precious, too personal, too “pearl-like” to cast before the world.

I’m not sure of the answer to this, but I know that we are not designed to be emotionally naked with everyone. In sharing my information with the world, I am entrusting it to a fickle and capricious audience.

And I have to wonder — would Mary, the mother of Jesus, have been tempted to tweet to the world “Wow Just had an amazing revelation that I’m giving birth to the Messiah #amazing #unbelievable”. She would have been 45 characters shy of her limit. Somehow I think she would have kept quiet on the social media front and continued the pondering in the heart.

What do you think? Ponder in our hearts or tweet to the world — what’s the balance? 

How To Write the Perfect Blog Post

For those of you who blog – this visual was a great way to learn more about formatting a blog post. It was developed by Derek Halpern from Social Triggers and he has given permission to share. I hope you enjoy! For those of you who don’t blog – I continue to be honored that you read Communicating Across Boundaries. I love it and I thank you. Have a great weekend!

Like this? Get more marketing tips from Social Triggers.

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