As I have been taking some time to pray about and contemplate how to write to you about the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation, among other subjects, I’ve also been working behind the scenes on things concerning my website and it’s impact on you.
I have been in the process of leaving social media.
By the way, if you’re wondering whether or not this post will wander into the political reasons for leaving mainstream social media, it won’t. I seldom discuss politics, and when I do, I’m cautious to not give more power or authority to mankind than is appropriate.
So now you’ll notice social media icons and links missing from my website that have been here since the beginning. I’ve removed my Twitter profile link, my Instagram account, and my Simple Theology Facebook page.
To be honest, my exit from big tech social media isn’t reactionary at all. In fact, online accountability and security are things I’ve been sharing and talking about for more than 10 years!
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
At the end of the day, why I left these platforms comes down to one thing. That which they were created for, social engagement, no longer existed.
In the case of Twitter, rarely would there ever be any personal connections of any kind. It became a contest between the highly influential and whoever could shout the loudest and provide the most emotionally charged content.
And then I learned from a personal friend, also on Twitter, that my account had been randomly blocked and suspended at odd times. It’s not like I was sharing incendiary or volatile, trending content, but rather mostly faith articles and Scripture.
Meanwhile, over at Facebook, my business page for this website had enjoyed a moderate following and frequent engagement. Over the last year though, engagement consistently dwindled month after month. Looking at the analytics that Facebook itself provides to business page owners, I noticed another concerning trend: my content had found it’s way into the notorious Facebook algorithm and was being shown to far less people than even 6 months prior.
In other words, for both Twitter and Facebook, my content was not only unwelcome, but was being actively blocked. This I verified further through my website analytics provider, Plausible Analytics.
When websites allow advertising, Google Analytics and other “free” services, the website owner pays nothing but the price is paid by you, the visitor. It costs you profiling, tracking, privacy, and security. Something Google calls “remarketing audiences” and Facebook calls “Facebook Pixel.”
That allows them to track you for targeted advertising across the internet. It also allows a website to build custom audiences based on how you interact with a site and then follows you around the internet, targeting you with advertising on other sites. You’ve experienced that if you’ve used Google search, Amazon, or Facebook.
So what did I do about it? I transitioned this site into…
Creating A Privacy-Friendly Model You Can Support
It’s simple. I don’t run ads, hidden or visible. I don’t accept sponsored posts, where some outside organization or writer pays me to put their content in front of my readers.
All traces of Google Analytics, all ad trackers, and Facebook Pixel have been scrubbed from my website. You can be assured that no one is tracking what you read, how long you spend on an article, or how many times you visit this website. Not even me.
You can read way more about all of this in my privacy and user information policy.
On top of that, I’ve always given away for free one of my most sought after resources, the Armor of God Bible Study.
All of this means that operating this website and offsetting expenses to do so creates more work. Receiving support from my readers is critical. I totally rely on you sharing the posts that matter most to you.
You can also visit my support page to learn other ways to partner with this work. It helps to pay for superior web hosting that is secure and reliable and offsets the costs of operating a website.
Leaving Social Media Isn’t Right for Everyone
And I totally understand and respect that. Big time. You have to decide for yourself. There are old friends, co-workers and grandkids to keep up with. Not to mention the cats.
Well, what good is a post talking about leaving social media if there are no cats in it?
Of course you will still find ways to share my work on your social media channels. That’s where at least some of the people who you care about probably are and I do want to keep it easy for you to share encouragement with them!
And honestly, when you share my work you’re supporting and encouraging me in ways that I cannot thank you enough for!
Cautiously Present on New Social Avenues
Deciding to leave highly populated, very influential mainstream social media was not an easy decision. However, after much processing I determined that what time I have to invest in this writing ministry would be best spent outside of areas that would create more work for me while providing fewer and fewer results.
With that in mind, I have cautiously created a presence on a few different social media outlets. I created a profile on MeWe back in 2018 and have now launched a Simple Theology, Messy Life group there. So far, I have found far more engagement than on previous social platforms and it’s been encouraging.
Other places I am looking to engage in community with you and other readers is Telegram and video platforms, like maybe Rumble. You’ll have to email me if you’d like a link to Telegram though.
While hoping to engage with you and others on alternative social media platforms, I admit that I’m approaching them cautiously. If I’ve learned anything from leaving social media, it’s that the rules can change quickly and are difficult to keep up with.
One Month In Without Social Media
It’s been about one full month since leaving Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. How’s it gone? Surprisingly easy, and exceedingly refreshing.
No longer do I jump on Twitter or Facebook to answer messages or share some article only to be drawn in to the mindless scrolling and ensuing anger at the evils of society. Or worse, at the division among fellow believers over stupid things that have zero effect on eternity.
I’ve had a little more time to focus on things that matter most to me, and have taken on a few projects I’ve wanted to accomplish.
The one thing I’ve really missed in the last year of chaos and transition though, is more consistent writing. If you know one thing about me, besides my appreciation for good coffee, it’s that I love Scripture and I love to teach.
And now I’ve got a full editorial board with notes, topics and Scripture that I really want to write about. And since you’ve made it this far, if you’ve not already done so, why not join me?
That’s the easy part. When you subscribe to my updates, you’re in the Simple Theology, Messy Life Circle. That’s it: no cost, no spam and I even send you a pdf of a Bible study I wrote on the Armor of God from Ephesians 6.
Welcome to Simple Theology, Messy Life 2021!