“Wherever you find yourself, do not go forth from that place too quickly. Try to be patient and learn to stay in one place.”
~ St. Antony of Egypt
My former pastor was the one to introduce me to this saying from the venerated desert father.1 He used it in the context of my decision to leave the Presbyterian Church to attend an Orthodox Church. It did not convince me to stay, but did stick in my head. I’ve thought about it often in all sorts of contexts.
Recently, I’ve been wondering if the wisdom of St. Antony has anything to say to us about online spaces. Of course, that wouldn’t have been in St. Antony’s conception, but so much of our lives now are lived in virtual spaces rather than “meatspace.” It’s possible that the saying could apply to communities on the web.
The online community I’ve been a part of the longest is on Micro.blog, having joined the service just after its Kickstarter in December of 2017. I’ve benefitted much from the service and the connections made there, not to mention the hosted blogging that is provided for a reasonable price. I was blogging for years before joining Micro.blog, and struggled to find an audience. I mean that in the most innocuous way, not in the sense that it is now mostly used, which is to “expand your brand” or build your site metrics. I don’t expect to have many readers — I just don’t want to feel like I’m talking into a pillow or writing on Google+ (RIP). On Micro.blog, there are people who are just congenitally inclined to read independent blogs, which is why they are there in the first place.
Not only have I been able to get some people to notice what I write, but I have benefitted from reading the thoughts of other independent bloggers as well. For an example, in keeping with the theme of this post, though I had been to an Orthodox Church before joining Micro.blog, the people on the platform have helped me to explore my new faith tradition much more comprehensively. It has been a gift and a source of joy. I have also been able to keep my finger on the pulse of new technology as a result of the community on Micro.blog.
I still follow my urges to tinker with other blogging platforms, as I have a case of what Greg Morris refers to as “restless blog syndrome.” However, even when blogging elsewhere, I always make sure to syndicate to Micro.blog, so the community there will see the posts. As I value simplicity, this is also a big reason to just use my Micro.blog hosted blog. Maybe I’ll try to stick to that for a bit. I could learn to stay in one place.
St. Antony is often referred to as the father of monasticism.↩︎