Oh you guys, where do I begin the saga? My love-tolerate relationship with social media is a whole thing. 2016 was the year I decided I would be (mostly) off, declaring war on the whole enterprise, vowing to become a woman above the system. Who needs Instagram?! And I will make real phone calls! were my warrior cries. No more time wasted on things that did not concern me; just a peaceful year unattached to things irrelevant in my daily life.
Well, two months in, and I think I have downgraded this from a war to a battle.
The world is talking on social media. They are. For better or worse, information, thought, opinion, connection, these things are all happening and being shared virtually. And besides that, I am in a handful of working groups that talk only on social media: it is the easiest and most streamlined platform for many types of communication. So it is difficult to be as extreme as I initially wanted to be and cut it all out cold turkey.
My biggest struggle has always been, and still is, with the need for approval. When I put something on social media, the line between being proud to share it and being obsessed with the reception of it is very thin for me. Insecurity runs deep in my heart, so any type of vulnerability can easily make me a crazy person. But I am wondering now, can I discipline myself to that place of security I really want to live in, or can I only pray my way there? I have a feeling it is the latter.
Information sharing is not bad, but it can be a bit of a minefield. And social media tends to reveal to me very quickly when I am stepping on those mines: too much comparison, too much frustration at views I disagree with, an inability to celebrate the success of others, feeling left out, feeling prideful, you name it. Social media makes the pendulum swing to both of ends of the poor motives scale for me.
But again, is it social media, or is it my heart? And again, I think it’s the latter.
Because social media has also recently connected me with amazing writers, and I am loving their work and the friendship slowly being forged even though we have never met. Instagram and Facebook are allowing me in to friends’ lives that I would not stay in touch with nearly as much without. And some of the most meaningful influences (i.e. people I look up to the most) in my life have come through social media. I love the encouragement and the goodness that people can spread through a virtual platform.
So what does this all look for a social media life? I have no idea. I was very late to two engagements, the birth of a friend’s baby girl, and countless other fun moments in the lives of people I love. I don’t like that feeling. I also have not struggled much with comparison, jealousy, or frustration with Facebook debates that I never join but certainly read. And I love those feelings. Somewhere in there is a healthy balance, a sound approach to using this great tool of social media but not letting it use me. Peace is something that is so hard to come by these days. There is always something to worry about, always realities I wish I did not have to face. In a world that is loud and chaotic, my heart longs for stillness and quiet. Can I still find that in a world, specifically a social world, so deeply interconnected? It feels a little bit like landing a plane on a postage stamp, but it’s not impossible.
So, I am still battling this out, but I’m learning that the more say I gave God’s word in my life, naturally the less say social media has. How I start my days and how I fill them is completely my responsibility, not social media’s. And if good things can come from being in the social media world but not of it, than I do want to be in.
My prayer is this: that even my social life would somehow point always to God’s goodness.