Taking to the (Digital) Streets: Advent and Social Media

I still see the occasional “REPENT, THOU WRETCHED SINNER” stuff in my social media feeds. But I very strongly suspect that fire and brimstone fundraisers are passé, and have been for decades.

Maybe I’d get more attention if I ranted, raved and seethed with (self?) righteous anger about those sinners over there. You know the ones I mean: reprobates, rogues and rascals who aren’t like me.

Yeah. Maybe I could. And it would be a bad idea. I’m pretty sure the attention I’d get isn’t the sort I’d like. Not in the long run. And I’m quite sure that God wouldn’t appreciate my marketing efforts.

Bragging about not trying to scare folks silly wouldn’t be an improvement. So I avoid that as best I can. Bragging is a bad idea, and I shouldn’t do it. So is irony with intent to malign. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2481)

In any case, avoiding tryouts for ‘most annoying pest of the year’ is no virtue for me.

I don’t enjoy diatribes, faith-themed or otherwise.

I get angry easily enough. But I’ve learned that anger — or any other emotion — is a poor substitute for thinking.

There’s nothing wrong with emotions. They’re part of being human. But so is thinking. More accurately, thinking should be part of being human. I’ve got free will, so thinking is an option, not a hardwired response. (June 6, 2020)

Social Media

I moved to another social media network when Google+ stopped being for individuals and became a corporate service. That was around March, 2019.

My current online ‘front porch’ is MeWe. (mewe.com/i/briangill1) A prayer group I’d been with at Google+ moved there, which made picking a new service easier.

I chose it despite MeWe’s zealous emphasis on “privacy,” rather than because of it. Somewhere along the line, definitions of “privacy” and “anonymity” seem to have merged. And that’s another topic.

Anyway, I’ve been settling in at MeWe.

It’s pretty much just like Google+. Except for how its different. One of the differences is that there’s not quite so many crackpot religious posts during the Advent-Christmas and Easter seasons. Not that I’ve noticed, anyway.

Maybe it’s because I’ve become a trifle more circumspect over the years. Or haven’t been on MeWe long enough to attract faith-filled flakes. Or maybe MeWe is really good at keeping me anonymous, despite my efforts to be more than a mask in a crowd.

Whatever the explanations(s), I’m pretty sure it’s not an either-or situation. And I’m drifting off-topic. Or maybe not so much.

Doomscroll Not, Lest Thou Also Be Doomscrolled

(From CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn, used w/o permission.)

Something else I haven’t noticed on MeWe is folks saying they’re giving up social media for Lent. Or Advent. Or whatever. Maybe they have, and I didn’t notice.

Or maybe more non-crackpot Catholics are paying attention to advice like this:

Prepare the (digital) way of the Lord
John Grosso, Catholic News Service (December 4, 2020)

“…How can we be the voice crying out in the wilderness when we can’t even leave our homes? Put simply: What can we do to prepare this Advent?
“The answer: We take to the (digital) streets….
“…In March, social media became a place to rally around our first responders and essential workers, to start fun trends and learn how to bake bread or whipped coffee.
“But as society realized we were in this for the long haul, our discourse on social media began to deteriorate into partisan bickering at its best and poisonous, threatening rhetoric at its worst.
“Catholics are not only not exempt from this, but in my experience, have been some of the worst offenders of it. That coupled with the practice of ‘doomscrolling’ (scrolling before bed obsessively on social media and bracing for bad news), has led many to abandon social media entirely….”

My experience hasn’t been like John Grosso.

At least partly, I figure, because I’m not John Grosso. He’s a professional with a successful and apparently conventional career.

I haven’t had a “career.” Maybe I could have pursued some identifiable occupation’s opportunities for progress and promotion. Or maybe not.

Even if I tried, I probably couldn’t do “conventional.” Not very well, anyway.

I have, however, kept learning. And getting better at writing, which I suppose is a career. Or can be.

Welcome to My Echo Chamber

Screenshot, trailer for Elia Kazan's 'Panic in the Streets' film. (1950) via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.On the other hand, getting back to Mr. Grosso’s “… partisan bickering … and … threatening rhetoric…” — I’ve seen plenty of both in my corner of social media.

I haven’t noticed any viewpoint’s raging supporters gaining a significant lead in a ‘worst offenders’ contest.

On the other hand, I have noticed a few showcasing the other guy’s superabundance of hate. Sometimes in arguably-hateful screed. Alas! That’s nothing new.

Maybe I don’t see one side or another’s clear superiority in spitting venom because my interests are eclectic. Or unfocused. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“…The idea of an integrated education, based on the unity of knowledge grounded in truth, must be regained. It serves to counteract the tendency, so evident in contemporary society, towards a fragmentation of knowledge….”
(“Meeting with members of the academic community,” Apostolic Visit to the Czech Republic, Pope Benedict XVI (September 27, 2009))

I suspect that being interested in art, poetry, science, technology, faith and other stuff accounts for rants I see against conservatives, liberals, America’s top two political parties and folks with assorted faiths. Or lack of faith.

Small wonder my “echo chamber” is a trifle jumbled. (November 2, 2020)

But there’s an ‘up’ side. Now that the election’s winding down, I’m seeing fewer rants.

The Inevitable Links

This is where I put my links to allegedly-related posts. I’ll get to them, but first here’s what got me started writing about online privacy/anonymity, making sense and other options.

And I see that I didn’t get around to talking about St. Joseph and a dedicated year. Maybe next time. Or the time after that.

Now, finally, stuff I’ve written that’s not necessarily unrelated to this post:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Taking to the (Digital) Streets: Advent and Social Media

  1. Again, I consider being one of your inspirations an honor, Mr. Gill. But of course, that wouldn’t be possible without God Almighty.

    That aside, speaking of being on social media and pretty much the Internet, especially the more popularity-centered parts of it, a wonderfully complex web of factors has me considering being a witness for Him there as well a “spare-time job,” so to speak. Or maybe it’s “volunteer work?” Well, whatever it is, it’s still a job or work I can and want on top of should and will. I’ll still complain about how painful it is to do (How many more fellow horny freaks with soapboxing fetishes must I come across?), but I’ll have bigger complaints against giving up on it (I love silence, sure, but I’d rather have musical silence than noisy silence).

    So yeah. On with life some more. Praise and thanks be to God Almighty very much again, and may He keep on helping us all.

    • 😀 Praise and thanks, indeed!

      The job/volunteer question is, I think valid. I’m also pretty sure that it’s one I’ll get answered later – after Creation 2.0’s launch. Meanwhile, I’ll happily leave bookkeeping to God and whoever handles it.

      Which reminds me of secondary causes – recognizing God as the first/original cause of all that is, and acknowledging that the Almighty seems to delegate. Which is nice, since it gives me something to do. And that’s another topic. Topics.

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