Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For a Lenten Fast: Give Up Social Media?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

For a Lenten Fast: Give Up Social Media?

Article excerpt

From pinot grigio to Pinterest, the season of Lent is about sacrificing something you love.

For centuries, the 40 days leading to Easter have prompted -- in some denominations, demanded -- Christians observe a personal penance. Fasting, giving up sweets or alcohol, even watching television, were signs of a more modern take on Lent.

So it's no surprise that some are giving up social media. Posting the Instagram of a friend's dog wearing a popcorn bag over its head is just going to have to wait until March 31.

"I really tried to think about what could be really hard for me," said Crafton's Mary Stacy, a librarian for a Pittsburgh law firm. "When you give up something you eat, you can just find something else [to snack on]."

Mrs. Stacy, 57, typically checks Facebook daily for photos of her grandchildren. After she began abstaining from social media on Ash Wednesday, she had to learn about family goings-on the old- fashioned way.

"My cousin's daughter just had a baby, so my daughter had to [telephone] me about it," she said.

A local pastor, the Rev. William Curtis of Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Larimer, recently made the national news when he asked his flock to give up using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

"It's going to be hard for me because I practically live on Twitter," he told KDKA-TV.

But he wasn't demanding anyone give up social media for the entire season of Lent, just a few days.

Mollie Relihan, 26, can't escape social media, but she's given up personal use for Lent.

"It took some creative improvising," said Miss Relihan of West View, who manages social media networks for the United Steelworkers.

She created a new Facebook profile "that's pretty much just my picture" and linked it to pages she knew she would have to reference for work.

But giving up Facebook isn't really a challenge, she said. Instagram is her personal catnip. "My account has over 420 pictures added, which maybe isn't much, but even if I wasn't posting every day, I was always checking it."

Miss Relihan said she decided at the last minute to see if she could quit social media. Tying it into Lent was further motivation.

Both she and Mrs. …

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