Elizabeth Gilbert readily admits that just a few years ago, she deliberately avoided using platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Like many others initially do, the Eat, Pray, Love author viewed social media as a vortex she simply didn't want to get pulled into or caught up in. So, she always resisted it.
"I was very 'anti-social media' because I thought it was just going to be a giant time suck and a big energy waster," Gilbert explains.
Fast-forward to the present day, however, and she's got quite a different perspective. In fact, when Oprah asks the author about the first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning, Gilbert gives an answer than even she wouldn't have expected two years ago.
"[I] check my Twitter," she says, laughing. "Right there in bed."
Gilbert's first foray into social media began when she reluctantly joined Facebook. That's when she experienced a profound shift. "I'm like, 'Why did I wait so long to do this?'" she says.
What Gilbert found when she began using social media is that there is an engaged community of people with whom she can interact, talk to and learn from.
"The first thing I do every morning is I go to my Facebook page," she says. "I engage in conversation with the women who showed up there that day. I answer their questions... and I ask questions. I say, 'What are we going to do today, you guys? What are we going to work on? Here's what I'm working on.' Or, I'll say, 'I'm stuck. What do you guys do when you're stuck like this?' I begin a conversation that then goes on for the next 24 hours."
It may not seem like a spiritual act on the surface, but Gilbert explains that the daily ritual of engaging in open conversation truly feeds her soul.
"There's so much grace and love and community in that," she marvels. "It's communion."
As a writer, Gilbert adds that social media gives her another outlet through which she can exercise -- and evolve -- her craft.
"I've expanded that definition [of my vocation]. It used to just be writing novels, writing books. But now, it's also about writing things to people on Facebook, using words to try to get closer to the truth and the goodness and the glory," she says. "That's what I look forward to every day."