Actress and world renowned Marilyn Monroe impersonator Suzie Kennedy explained that God led her to delete her social media accounts and that she felt so much freer when she didn’t have to “keep up” her online profile.
Jesus only had 12 followers and the whole world knows his name. It’s a statement that I have heard many Christians say. I used to think that it was not completely true. Jesus has millions of followers all over the world. The fact that Jesus only had 12 followers, referring to his disciples, was used as a statement in reaction to the desire of increased follower numbers on a personal Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. It made the person feel better that their follower numbers were not up with a content creator or a new reality show star.
I have witnessed friends follow someone back because they have a blue tick or a lot of followers without even seeing the content. It’s a human desire to be validated. They want to be recognised as someone worthwhile and to be someone that people want to interact with.
In the modern world, when so much of life is lived online, social media platforms have become our community. As an entertainer, social media was perfect for me. I could show my content and talent plus interact with fans, friends, and clients. I got bookings through it and built a great following.
It allowed me to promote my shows, my podcast, and my faith. I lived my life in the real world and on social media. I never saw how toxic it could be for me. I consider myself a mature and intelligent person who would never fall into the pitfalls of thinking social media could affect me. Yet it did.
I felt pressure from clients and friends who would comment on how many followers I had. It was as if my value as a person was in the number on my Instagram page and not my intrinsic value as just Suzie.
I have been studying psychology for my degree in counselling and undertaking personal therapy as part of the course. I was spending more time reflecting on myself. Reflecting on how things affect me. I was using my time between studying and my usual “day job” as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator to reflect changes in my personality. What I noticed was how pressured I felt to take part in social media. I felt pressured to maintain a presence. Then I realised that the pressure was reactionary. I did not have to be present on social media.
As Dave Chapelle recently said: “Twitter is not a real place.” He is correct but it certainly has a power to make you believe it is. Its effect on mental health is very much a problem playing out in the real world.
I felt the Lord led me to the decision to leave Facebook and Twitter. The time spent off social media means I can concentrate on learning more about God.
Ephesians 4:1 reads “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Jesus called us to love our neighbour. Do we even talk to our real neighbours or know them? Colossians 1:10 reads “Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.”
I felt the Lord led me to the decision to leave Facebook and Twitter. The time spent off social media means I can concentrate on learning more about God. I can spend time on my studies at university studying theology and counselling. I have more time for real friends and to be congruent when they interact with me and not wonder how I can spin it for a post. I have kept Instagram as I have international friends due to the nature of my work and it’s a way of staying in touch. But to be free of the chains of being defined by social media presence feels like I finally have listened to Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world” and instead, press “delete”.