Friends! I’ve missed you and I’ve missed being in this space with you over recent weeks- but that’s what injection sleep issues and head colds do! I’m so happy that I actually have a little time to write. The internet and social media can be full of so many many voices, but this is my safe, quiet space where the rules are my own.
I’ve been doing a lot of pondering lately about social media, the internet generally and what it’s worth sharing and not. Not from a safety or appropriate angle but rather from intentionally approaching how I do it. Once upon a time I used to instagram every photo I liked because otherwise they sat on my phone and I forgot I had ever taken them. Years of that habit means I now look back at them and don’t need to do it in the same way, but I do love having them all in one place and being able to share with friends and family who are further afield. I also used to share monthly updates on the kiddos here on the blog (from when Phoebe was 6 weeks until Simeon was about 6 months). It was a great habit to document how they were changing and to look back at- I later transferred the photos and writings into a little book for Phoebe, and just need to print the same off for Simeon now. Eventually I felt uncomfortable sharing so many details about them for ‘anyone’ to see, although loved the idea of friends and family being able to get a snapshot of them at that stage. I now make notes on my phone of their development to put into books. It’s a difficult tension. I really want to stay connected with those people who are/ have been key in our lives, especially whilst the littles are so little and changing so much.
Facebook I have a love/ hate relationship with as always- whilst I deleted the app and had stopped myself from compulsively reading through my newsfeed, I find myself on there a lot more than I’d like, and don’t often come away feeling refreshed or connected particularly with anyone. I want my time in general and online to be life-giving not soul sapping. I know others have said that it’s easy for things on facebook particularly to come across as either boastful or garnering sympathy, and admittedly I can be tempted to compare ‘highlights’ which pop up. We all know that social media isn’t an accurate reflection of anyone’s day-to-day, but it can seem that everyone has everything together when you don’t feel particularly ‘together’. Yet it definitely has its perks- keeping up with those further away, there are some great groups for all kinds of things, and being able to get in contact with people you might find it hard to otherwise. For the moment I’ve cut out Twitter almost entirely, since there are not-enough-hours, and only post regularly onto Instagram now.
Of course ‘fear of missing out’ is a large pull in social media and why it’s so popular, we don’t want to miss the party, or any key announcements, engagements or invites which pop up on Facebook particularly. There’s a great ability to connect with people from all over, especially on Twitter, Instagram and the likes. I have lots of people I would consider friends who I actually have never met, but see snippets of their lives online and connect with their words, fears, seasons of life and share with. Yet real life, right here and right now is busy, and challenging, and rich, and it is obviously the priority over keeping up with various social media feeds. I often feel like I don’t invest, or have the time to invest as deeply in my real life friendships as I’d like, although it’s hard for me to maintain a stream of conversation often with various small people interrupting! I deeply appreciate the people I follow who spend time posting considered captions, share their creative gifts, pose questions and just relate with some reality of their everyday. ‘Oh, me too’ is such a comfort at times, when you’ve been stuck indoors (what seems like all winter!) with illnesses and you see that someone else is in the reality of the same, yet the other side of the world.
Overall my desire is to spend less time online but for the time I do to be refreshing and worthwhile. I want my own additions to the internet world to be personal, relatable and encouraging, both in what I post myself but also in really connecting with others and not just scrolling, reading, and scrolling. I want to share my snippets of life, reading, creating to encourage and inspire others not to make them feel bad or discouraged. Maybe I really overthink this- but there are lots of things I’ve not shared because I don’t want them to draw attention to myself or my gifts, but back to the one who gave them to me, I suppose. And so I don’t share at all, which maybe negates the point totally.
It’s nice to take a bit of time to consider and reflect on what is worth sharing and not, and how that fits into this season and cultural context overall. It is a gift to be able to reach and connect with people from wherever, just through my phone, but being able to speak into people’s lives (or social media stream!) is a responsibility in itself. I’m sure I’m going to continue to reflect on this over the next few days. Facebook currently has some algorithms set up which mean that mostly posts to my ‘page’ don’t show up on many people’s feeds, and since they now own Instagram they’re making similar changes there too. I have had the idea of cutting back on social media pretty drastically and swapping the bulk of my moment- by-moment sharing to my email newsletter, perhaps as a weekly roundup of the photos I would have shared, thoughts or quotes.
What are your thoughts?