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.