I don’t usually share posts like this, but it’s been on my mind for awhile, so I’m taking a leap of faith.
I have been all over the social media map in the last five years. Seasons I was bored with it, seasons I deleted the apps from my phone, and seasons I greatly enjoyed it, posting a photo or tweets daily. My personal activity on social media platforms ebbs and flows. I also write and keep up this blog, sharing posts occasionally via Instagram or Twitter. If you’ve been reading this blog long, you may have seen other posts I’ve written about social media, but if not here and here and here. If not, a snapshot would be: I used to wrestle. I wrestled with making sure my motives are not mega-flesh, I wrestled with worry over the amount of stimulus or lack of silence, I wrestled with people criticizing/judging me for what I share (I know. Shaking head.)
Let me share with you my truest, honest, plain and simple personal vision for social media:
- I like the idea of sharing quotes I read in books, or funny anecdotes, helpful articles I read, or verses I find super uplifting for my soul. Hello, Twitter.
- I am passionate about photography; capturing simple, silly, beautiful, candid moments. I like the creativity called for in the light or attitude or sweetness of a moment, and later editing it (or not editing it!). Hi, Instagram.
- I enjoy storytelling. And I am inspired by seeing what other people are learning, visiting, loving, etc.
These are the reasons I am active on social media platforms. And not that I need to defend myself, I may post a lot, but I’m hardly constantly scrolling. Recently, I’ve realized a sort of social media shaming going on, and some I understand (for example, Relevant’s “Not Everything Is Meant To Be Shared“). Even a couple conversations around me have held statements like, “I’m amazed at all the photos on social media of so-and-so, how vain,” or “I’ve got better things to do with my time than post about my life.”
Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly understand why someone would wish to quit any social media activity. It can be seemingly a waste of valuable time, or cause anxiety, or comparison. It can become like an animal that eats up all of your free time. If someone finds it harmful to their life or discouraging, it makes sense for them to take a hiatus. Vanity or pride may rear its head, so I get it. But I think it’s what you make it/allow it to be.
Because the same elements of social media that allow for negative results also allow for fun, positive possibilities.
Social media is a platform for a larger audience than we are able to reach in our personal worlds. It lets us see so much more of the world than we would see without it, opening up new and different perspectives. I’ve made many friends that live all over the United States via social media. It allows you to glean and learn from experts in your field (for instance, I’ve connected with a couple great designers in a way I never could have without social media). It’s social, another way of connecting. Granted, I think it would be unhealthy if it was your sole source of relationship, but, (in my case) it adds a cool dimension of friendships I wouldn’t otherwise have. (There are more thoughts on the freedom I feel with Instagram here.)
I’ll be a little bold and say that no one should feel superior about not using social media, and no one should make someone feel bad for enjoying it. It’s completely understandable why you don’t want to be a part of social media! But it’s also completely understand why you would. I’m saddened when it’s assumed that someone could only be using social media for a shallow purpose.
And especially for those who love Jesus. If you’re anything like me, prayer is involved, and there’s a joy in uplifting others, sharing what I’m learning, and being a light (yes, even on something as seemingly trivial as a tweet).
I challenge myself first, but also those who read this, to not assume someone’s motives, and then belittle them for their sharing, but to let people be themselves. They will live with their choices.
Emily @ Chirpings from a Little Sparrow says
I could not agree more with this post! I struggle with what I write on social media as well, because I too worry that I’m going to be judged or criticized for what I share. Even when I write blog posts, I often hesitate before hitting the publish button. I’m not worried about other bloggers so much, because I know that most of us also believe in being authentic and open about ourselves. It more has to do with people I know personally. Sometimes I just know that a lot of people either don’t like, or just don’t care what I have to say. But I’ve been working very hard on changing that mentality. I know longer want to feel apologetic for what I choose to post. Because it IS my choice. Thank you so much, Chels, for writing this!
Mary Bacher says
Yes. Yes. Yes! I think this is so powerful. I especially loved how you shared about Jesus. Conversion can happen through social media and it’s empowering to share our stories of faith!
Well said! I’ve felt the same way for some time now, but haven’t had the courage to say so. Thank you for your courage!
I love this so much! I feel the same way. I struggled a lot with feeling like I was just annoying people at first when I had my darling little girl by posting photos about twice a day. I thought – this has GOT to be making me lose friends! I was so hard on myself that I stopped for a while, but picked it back up because this is something that MATTERS to me. It’s also how I connect with other Christian women. I live in Alaska; we’re VERY disconnected. I have had people criticize how much I use social media, but honestly? I need it to connect with family who otherwise wouldn’t hear from me.
Chelsea B.E. says
I know what you mean, Emily. I’m glad it was encouraging for you!
Chelsea B.E. says
I agree, Mary! I think there’s room to be a light for the Lord even on social media.
Chelsea B.E. says
Thank you for that kind comment, Rebecca!
Chelsea B.E. says
“I was so hard on myself that I stopped for a while, but picked it back up because this is something that MATTERS to me.” Amen, Allie. I’m sorry you’ve had people criticize you, I don’t like that. My husband once told me that the people that would criticize me don’t know me well enough, so I shouldn’t worry about it.
Yes! I love to share inspiring content that I find with the world through my social media.