Digital Witness

I spent most of yesterday listening to St. Vincent’s new album. I can’t get enough of it’s weird, angular guitars and buzzy, electronic sound.

The chorus of Digital Witness goes like this:

Digital witnesses
What’s the point of even sleeping?
If I can’t show it, you can’t see me
What’s the point of doing anything?

I’ve been thinking some about social media, and whether or not it’s good for me. Sometimes I feel like it can be a good, and even sacred, a place where I can connect, and sometimes I feel like I’m letting Facebook and Twitter become a source of distraction rather than a source of connection, a constant performance that gets in the way of living as my self.

In some ways technology is simply a tool that amplifies our natural tendencies, a hammer that allows us to hit the nail a little harder, or a megaphone, or a pen and paper. I think these analog comparisons, though, oversimplify how social media can complicate and change our lives, how subtly it affects us. I don’t check my hammer constantly throughout the day, my megaphone doesn’t give me a little high every time it makes a comment.

An important part of life, and a religious life in particular, is being alone and finding time for silence. Technology, which I find addictive, makes this a little harder.  It’s easy to fill every moment with noise. Perhaps it’s just that I need to learn a new discipline, like going to the gym or brushing my teeth – putting down my phone.

Anyway, Facebook is only ten and I think we’ve only begun to talk about all this, and you should listen to the new St. Vincent album if you get a chance.


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