"No," I answered quickly. I made a side remark about fantasy football, and then paused to consider the question. Did pride keep me from Facebook?
What an ironic question. If we are honest, ego is the driving force of the social media empire. Pride drives us all to Facebook. And pride keeps me off. Some day this empire will crumble; pride always falls. Sadly, my life has no shortage of egotism. Below are eleven examples:
- This blog: My posts are often responses to something I observe, think, or overhear. In the response I may overstate my reaction or exaggerate the observation to spin a more compelling narrative. My topics ramble. My target audience roams.Nevertheless, I publish weekly because I think I have something good to say, or at least a good way to say something.
- Public Speaking Pro: I read Aristotle's book Rhetoric, and I understand the public speaker's trifecta: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. I am a stranger to none. I can punch a line, provoke a thought, and garner trust with a smile. While I'm a few hours short of Outlier (10,000), another decade of homilies is sure to earn me stage time at Catalyst.
- People-skills: I can't handle power tools or computer programs, but I can hold a conversation. Here's my favorite ice-breaker: "If you could be any county fair food, what would you be?"
- Psychoanalysis: After several cycles through the TV series The Wonder Years, I've become an expert on interpersonal problems. They all stem from bad relationships between children and their fathers. Problem: Struggling in your marriage. Question: What was your relationship with your father like? Problem: Can't keep a job. Question: What was your relationship to your father like? Problem: Halitosis. Question: What was your relationship with your father like?
- Dad of the Year: Speaking of fathers, I happen to be a pretty good one. I read to my kids and take them parks. I involve them in ministry and encourage their uniqueness. I pray for their future husband and have purchased a compound bow I can sling around my should when they bring potential boyfriends over.
- Model Husband: When I say "model husband," I'm not talking about my body (although that's the next point); rather, I pride myself in the amount of quality time I spend with my wife. Furthermore, I speak to the other four love languages she is so fluent in -- words of encouragement, acts of service, gifts, and touch. Indeed, Liz makes it easy by being so lovable.
- Fuel Points: Nike+ has inspired a resurgence in my running career. I pine for the automated voice and feedback loops telling me how fast and how far I ran. The graphical comparisons with others in the Nike+ Community double my pride: my average mile trounces other men my age. My calf muscles are beginning to look chiseled again.
- Self-discipline: In college I wrestled with being duty-driven. Love compelled me to do little; duty held me steady. School performance: duty-driven. Spiritual performance: duty-driven. Relationships: duty-driven. After some counseling and a few years of post-collegiate rehab, I realized duty could morph into self-discipline--a fading quality in the Instant Age. I'm a regimented reader, regular writer, routine runner, and avid advocate for alliteration. I've been touting my self-discipline horn ever since.
- Shiny, bald head: I chose baldness as a matter of vanity. One summer day after a sweltering scooter ride, I removed my helmet and noted something horrible. My hair had been matted in just the wrong way to expose a patch near the front where baldness had taken my roots. Literally, it took them and removed them and left a gaping whole dead center. I tried sculpting my hair to cover the hole, but it remained. Every time I looked in the mirror, I stared directly at it. I would never be able to hide it. A few days later, I did the only sensible thing a twenty-nine year old man would do: I owned my baldness. I shaved my head.
- Bible awareness: One time I lay on my bed and asked Liz to pick a random chapter from the New Testament. I proceeded to tell her details from the chapter. My success rate exceeded ninety-five percent. My recall for Bibles and books (and actors' names) is a source of pride. I lament the day my eyes go bad or memory diminishes.
- Now back to social media: I tweet, therefore I am. I Instagram, therefore I was. I YouTube, therefore, I will become...famous. Social MEdia is the great MEgaphone for ME. The lure of fame and the hope of connection underscore its success. Nonetheless, most people are lonely and disconnected. I am no stranger to this fact. I'm playing the game like everyone else. I've simply chosen to drop the "social" aspect from the media: I use it to broadcast, not network. Twitter, YouTube, and Blogger are platforms that push my message and promote my thoughts. Pure pride says: "My digital voice is worth your time." If I want to be social, I'll meet you at a coffee shop, write you a note, send you a text, join you for a small group discussion, or sit with you at a bonfire. Pride does not keep me from Facebook, but drives me to every other platform.