the seduction of cyber celebrity

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? –Mark 8:36

By Tami Heim

Social media in the land of shiny things, allows virtually anyone the opportunity to affirm and feed your ego with something as simple as a like, follow or retweet button. If you’re not careful, you can end up like our friend over there, hanging out in the pot on the stove. He’s absolutely clueless he’s only a few degrees away from, well, you know

Matt Brown, the Pastor of Sandals Church said, “The enemy of authenticity is celebrity.”

If you don’t have your ego in check,  the seduction of cyber celebrity can take you down fast-really fast. It requires daily surrender for anyone wanting to keep it real and maintain a God-centered perspective online. Be sure you know the warning signs when you get close to danger. Check your temperature often. When the enemy starts messing with you-things can heat up quickly.

Here’s summary of how cyber seduction happens…

1.  You start out on social media with a holy intent and a passion for authenticity.

2.  You publish what you believe are deep God-inspired thoughts.

3.  Your readers experience life-change and are eager to tell you about it.

4.  You inadvertently get and accept the nod for being the one that makes a difference in their lives.

5.  Your celebrity buzz builds at a nice steady incline and people recognize you both on and offline.

6.  You consume  all the feedback and then it consumes you. You alter your messages and conversations to keep your followers happily engaged.

7.  You obsess over metrics and comparisons are used to assign worth and value to everything you do.

8.  You give extraordinary focus to size, reach, and who dominates the influencer lists.

9.  You position yourself center to the spotlight where the glory always shines the brightest.

10. Your time and life are defined by your online activities and what’s real just doesn’t matter anymore.

Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges in their book, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of ALL TIME, explain a person’s ego will either Edge God Out or Exalt God Only. It’s one or the other. Know which condition applies to you and if you need to turn it around-God will give you the grace you need to do it.

What do you think is the most seductive thing about the time you spend online?

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Be diligent in all things to exalt God only.  #LiveSticky

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  • http://www.kimcashtate.com Kim Cash Tate

    So we’re continuing our conversation from last week? :-) Can I be honest? Cyber celebrity sickens me. I honestly think Twitter brings out the worst in people. Following or retweeting only certain people, “bragging” about lunch or other outings with people…but only if they too are cyber or real celebrities. And of course, only post a picture if it’s with important people. Things we couldn’t get away with in the “real” world, we do on Twitter. I’ve been guilty, and that sickens me too. I’ve gotten real close to closing my account. That’s why–have I told you two?–I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for keeping our eyes on our mission and our focus on Jesus. We need you!

  • http://www.krististephens.com Kristi Stephens

    Oh, so true. Our hearts truly are a factory of idols.

  • Tami Heim

    I know Kim – it takes daily diligence and sometimes you have to get digitally dark to get your focus back where it belongs. But you can’t give up. You can’t be distracted by what others do – that will derail you just as fast. Love God. Love people. Be light online. For such a times as this – you need to part of movement that keeps directing the conversation back to the heart of God. #ShineOn #PowerOn

  • Tami Heim

    Oh let’s keep asking God to fill up our factories with what He desires so we can release something glorious. #All4Him

  • http://www.kimcashtate.com Kim Cash Tate

    Posted my message in haste as I left to take my son to school and forget the main thing I wanted to note about “cyber celebrity.” What gets me the most is when people only reply to other “cyber celebrities” or “famous Christians” as I call them. I’ve even seen where the people even know one another, but the one isn’t “popular” enough to warrant a reply. Oh. my. goodness. What might be Jesus’s thoughts on that one? If you hadn’t blogged about it, I might’ve had to. :) But this is what @stickyJesus is all about. Love you!

  • http://sandibentonplasters.com Sandi Benton Plasters

    Thanks Tami. I think it is easy for us on-line or off to be seduced. It is our human nature to crave acceptance. It is our divine calling to daily (sometimes hourly) die to self so that God may be glorified.

  • http://twitter.com/CheerfulKim Kim Wilson

    Tami, thanks so much for this blog! This is a great list of warning signs, and it’ll help me and others as we continue our cyber presence while seeking how to honor God through it all. I’ve had mixed feelings about twitter since I joined, and this brings a little more solidity to my thoughts. It can be used for good, but it can also be used for ego-boosting. I even found myself early on wondering why no one replied or retweeted – it certainly was an ego-check for me. I try to post things that serve others now and not worry about stats, number of followers, etc. I wish I had had more time to talk with you at the NOW Conference. I got a lot out of what you said. Thank you for being a truth-speaker!

  • http://twitter.com/gynedoc1 Martina McGowan

    I echo Kate’s sentiment. Thank you for helping us keep our focus on the mission.
    The most seductive things are the followers and the metrics, and how we make this numbers part of the value we place on ourselves and our work.
    I blog a little, and am not famous, but the most wonderful thing that has happened is that one, yes one person wrote to tell me that the blog helped them get things turned around. That is the mission. Not if I get to tweet with famous people about the unimportant aspects of my day, but that we can each be a light to someone.

  • Tami Heim

    Amen Martina – we can’t let metrics and numbers become who we are and what we’re worth. It’s amazing how it all sucks you in if you aren’t on guard. As Christians we are the enemy’s most coveted targets. There probably isn’t anything that gives him greater delight than to take one of us out. We must resist and when we do – he WILL flee.

    Keep being faithful with the voice He has given you. A single heart trumps head count every time.

  • Tami Heim

    Thanks Kim for your kind words and sharing here today. When my mind wonders into the why-didn’t-anyone-like-it zone I try to release it FAST. Stay there and the door opens for the enemy’s ‘you don’t matter rant…’ Listening to that can be equally as dangerous. You just have to stay focused and centered on the only One that matters! Bless you, Kim!

  • Tami Heim

    Sandi – perfectly said. Sometimes for me it is the minute by minute of my days. Praise God He supplies the strength we need – right when we need it.

  • Tami Heim

    Good point! I’m rolling…

  • Anonymous

    You asked the question “What do you think is the most seductive thing about the time you spend online?” My answer would be that the most seductive thing about my time spent online is all of the “smoke and mirrors.” In other words, it is not hard to begin to allow your identity to be shaped by your online presence. The danger in that is not only do you (me) have the power to fool ourselves and others, other people often tell us just what they want us to hear in order to manipulate us. Whether it is because they want us to be a consumer of a product, or a number on their blog counter—people will pat and stroke our egos for their benefit.

    That is why it is so important to know who we are in Christ. That does not change, whether online or offline. Our view of it might be altered or skewed from time to time but that identity, our holy i.d., is formulated in the Word of God. When we stay in line with it, it keeps up in line with Him.

    In the list that you shared #4 seems to be the real point of issue. Things radically change in our motives when we begin to take the credit for things that only God should get the glory for. It seems to be a fairly quick downhill slide from there. The interesting thing about celebrities is that their status nearly always is temporary. The same is true of seduction. It rarely lasts forever. People fall out of the graces of the masses in the celebrity world each day. Those seducted eventually do see the truth.

    Cyber celebrity status, in terms of this post, is nothing more than the sin of pride–in my opinion. It might last for a season and seem to be enjoyable but it will eventually bring pain and anguish as people are extremely fickle…especially with so many other choices available online.

    I’ve felt like Kim in recent days. There are days I feel like walking away from the online scene. I’m not sure if I really make a difference and to be honest at times it can be hard not to take some of the things that occur, especially on Twitter, personally. I’m just an every day person and not a day goes by online when I don’t feel the truth of hit home. Sometimes it is painful. In those moments I have to remind myself that this is not about ME. I have a mission and need to tend to that and let the other things go.

    “He must increase…I must decrease…” is pretty clear to me. It is my prayer that I’ll never lose sight of the importance of that concept whether online or offline.

  • Tami Heim

    Thanks for putting it all out there Melinda. I’m right there with you at number 4. That’s indeed when the slide starts. I’ve seen how the subtle shift in motive starts to change everything. I know what happens when that shift shows up in my life. Nothing good ever comes from it. We need the Holy Spirit alarm system ON at all times and when it goes off – we best be making an emergency-room-run right to the altar.

    There’s another component to this conversation – criticism. Lord help us when criticism swells up inside us and we self-elect to be the pride-spotter in others’ lives. A critical spirit will pin you to the mat just as fast as a prideful one.

    A dear friend always reminds me, “When we think more of ourselves than others – pride is moving in. When we think less of ourselves than others – fear is on the prowl. Neither are of God.” (Thank you sweet Phyllis) You’re right, His increase and our decrease is the only way to faithfully live out this life for Christ.

    I love you Melinda and always grateful when you bring your voice to the conversations here and in the daily online stream. LYI.

  • Anonymous

    I think I would like your friend Phyllis. :-) There is a lot of wisdom on that statement.

    There’s also a lot of wisdom in what you’ve shared. I wrote a reply but deleted it but I want you to know that I wasn’t being critical in my comment. I’m sure I am critical on occasion–and I’m not at all proud of those moments.

    Sometimes I get discouraged. I buy the lies of the enemy which say that my small contribution online is not worth the time and effort. And I think about deleting my accounts and moving to an island without i-net access. That is about the time that I need a digital vacation and some FTF interaction. It seems to be long overdue again.

    Pride is not the only thing that will take you down in a hurry. That’s for sure.

    LYI, too my friend.

  • http://kellysinging.com KellySinging

    Thank you for your post! We need to check, check, and recheck our motives. It’s true for our giftings, too. I agree that we must be diligent to not let a shred of pride enter our hearts.

  • http://www.wimpsforchrist.com M. Smith

    Great post! As a newcomer to cyber world I am a little intimidated at the thought of the power my words can have. But then I am reminded, that if I’m doing what I”m suppose to be doing they aren’t my words at all!!

    To answer the question: What do you think is the most seductive thing about the time you spend online? I think it is the fact that people only get to see what you want them to see. You can always be seen as witty or funny or deep. You never have to show the moody, snippy, or grumpy side.

  • http://twitter.com/_ParentingTwins Lois Ridley

    I totally agree..thanks

  • http://www.taberstruths.com/ Duke Taber

    It is a crazy balance between trying to build an online ministry, and not getting so focused on building that you forget why you started it in the first place. Great Article!