Listening to the pain of a recovering Twitter addict…

Twitter Addiction

What does it profit a man if he gains 130,427 Twitter followers and loses his own soul?  The best person to answer this question is Sammy Rhodes who, in his own words, became “irrepressibly and obsessively hooked” on Twitter.  It took Rhodes just four years to build his Twitter tribe.  But the last six months have been consumed by the unraveling of his reputation which began with charges of plagiarism.


Sammy Rhodes tells his story in “Tweeting Myself to Death:  The Rise & Fall of @prodigalsam.”  Here are a few quotes.


I quickly moved on from tweeting the mundane parts of life in painfully boring ways to set my sights on becoming the next big “gospel tweeter.” If you don’t know what that is, then you are a normal human being. Don’t get me wrong, I still love and follow a lot of guys who mainly use Twitter to share quotes and articles about grace. I love grace. I just sucked at tweeting about it, mainly because I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Nothing betrays a genuine resting in grace like a desire to be widely known and heavily retweeted. …


Becoming internet famous did buy some cool things. Brunch with Flynn Rider in LA. Texting with the Bachelor. Disney’s Jessie sending a birthday message to my girls. Dwight from The Office giving me a shout out. These are moments I will work into as many conversations as possible for years to come. “This rain is really coming down. Speaking of rain, did I ever tell you about that time Rainn Wilson defended me on Twitter?”


But it also cost me some things too. Namely my integrity and identity. Sometimes people ask, “How did you do it?” and I typically shrug my shoulders, give some important tipping points and say, “I honestly don’t know it just sort of happened.” What I should say is that all you have to do to get a lot of followers on Twitter is figure out who’s cool and desperately align yourself with them. Because it’s about perception, not reality. It’s the “he’s with us” of the internet.


Jonathan Franzen warns about this danger in his recent essay “What’s Wrong with the Modern World.” He writes, “One of the worst things about the internet is that it tempts everyone to be a sophisticate – to take positions on what is hip and to consider, under pain of being considered unhip, the positions that everyone else is taking.” Integrity is about being the same person, with the same convictions, in any and every situation, with any and every crowd. But it’s hard to have convictions when you’re constantly wondering if they’re cool.





“Tweeting Myself to Death:  The Rise & Fall of @prodigalsam” can be found here.



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