It was not by choice to join Twitter. Because I have a book being published in 2015, my contract indicates that I use at least one social media Web site in order to promote my book. Thus, I joined Twitter. I was flattered that someone wanted to follow me; someone I didn’t even know. I didn’t join Twitter to keep up, to get involved in chatter about this thing or that, or to keep tabs on people. I especially didn’t want to read tweets that consisted of judging and strong opinions. I never wanted to engage in the noise. I joined because of contractual obligations. Plain and simple. So then I needed to decide who I would follow. I wasn’t going to be the 2-billionth follower of a famous person. I’m not sure how that serves me. I think the famous get more than enough attention, and for what reason they use Twitter would not necessarily interest me. But I knew that I needed to start somewhere. Two people—and in the public eye—I admire and like are Marianne Williamson and T.D. Jakes. Marianne is the best-selling author of A Return to Love, and a lecturer. And T.D. Jakes is, well, Bishop T.D. Jakes.
So most likely my first Twitter follower followed me because Williams and Jakes are high-profile spiritual leaders. My first Twitter follower doesn’t tweet in a gossiping fashion or pontificate about whatever the ongoing political or social news is that otherwise dominates Twitter on any given day. She doesn’t share her personal life or give details about her shopping sprees. Her tweets, which tend to be at least a dozen or more each day, are about her love for Jesus. My first Twitter follower is devoted to her religion, and every tweet promotes Jesus, or shares her thoughts and love for Jesus. However, on occasion she adds photographs of herself: in Paris, at her new office on a studio lot, close-ups of her face like she’s posing for a photo shoot to advertise lipstick or hair products, a few times of her just as she’s getting out of bed (but she does a selfie under the sheets so not to wake her husband), she stepping out of a limo, her husband in the background—they have grand smiles on their faces as if they are blissfully happy. And sometimes she just says straight up: I LOVE JESUS as many times as she can in 140 characters.
In time I found myself curious of her agenda. There was something sincere about her tweets in relation to her love for “Jesus.” Still, the personal collage of photographs she often posts made me step back with, Hmmm.
And speaking of T.D. Jakes. Recently I heard one of his sermons on YouTube, and the sermon made me think of my first Twitter follower. In his sermon, Bishop Jakes refers to “something bigger than yourself.” Full disclosure: I have doubts about “something bigger than myself” and yet I still believe in “something bigger than myself.” I just struggle with the how that Bigger works in my life and in the world. But as Bishop Jakes’ sermon grew more passionate and deep, I kind of started thinking about my first Twitter follower and how much she promotes “Jesus” and her love for Jesus through her tweets. And I juxtaposed those seemingly sincere tweets with the photos she displays and started trying to connect the photos with the under 140 characters she sends out each time she tweets about Jesus. There’s ambiguity to her Twitter page. On the one hand she’s (definitely) about Jesus; her tweets are all about Jesus and her love for Jesus. And yet on the other, her personal photos display trips to Paris and getting out of a limo and showing her followers her new office at a film studio, and selfies. And I began to think a little differently about my first Twitter follower and the message she’s sending to those that follow her. Does her love for Jesus mean that she isn’t narcissistic? Most of those on Twitter upload photos of themselves. Yet if you are selling Jesus I’m not sure a photograph of the Eiffel Tower in the background while you smile gleefully at the camera or uploading a first-thing-in-the-morning selfie has anything to do with your love for Jesus? I’m not saying my first Twitter follower is not about something bigger than herself, but I question—at least on Twitter—who is she trying to sell?