I chuckle as I type the title “Social Media Balance” for this post.
IS there such thing as balance in social media?
I think there CAN be, but sweet Georgia Brown. IT. IS. HARD.
I’m writing about this topic today NOT because I have the answers.
I have no advice, no perfect solution.
But I DO have questions.
Questions I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, and I’m not so sure I’m liking my answers.
A while back I tried to implement one day per week that was deemed “social media free.” ONE DAY. I’m embarrassed that this was a lofty goal, but it was. As I began to implement it, I was pleasantly surprised how great it felt to unplug. I felt freer. My life felt more cherished, not to mention private. I went to bed feeling peacefully tired instead of irritable.
And after ALL that, it STILL became more and more difficult for me to stay faithful to that ONE day off.
A recent series of events, books, and a couple of good conversations with friends (and my Jesus) were the catalyst for my growing impatience with social media and MYSELF.
So I started asking myself some tough questions. And slowly, the answers are helping me find my own kind of social media balance.
Maybe they will help you, too?
- WHY am I posting this?
Surprisingly, this simple question has stopped me dead in my tracks time and time again. I would need a hundred fingers to count the ways I’ve wanted my posts to portray that I was funny, smart, and pretty, with a life full of adventure, great abs, and of course, the cutest kid EVER. I’m not saying it’s bad to share those things and to be proud every once in a while, but my own personal balance was WAY off kilter and my immediate knee-jerk reaction was not to live it, but to POST IT! Now, if I post a picture or a clever quote, I may still want you to think all the cute things about me, but at least I’m asking myself WHY first. (Most of the time.)
- Where’s the business balance?
I realize the irony of a blogger writing this post. In fact, I would guess a lot of bloggers wrestle with this more than most. We’re right there along network marketers and entrepreneurs. If we don’t market ourselves and our passions, WHO WILL? And in this day and age, if you’re not connected to social media, you’re missing out on lots of potential opportunities.
As a blogger and writer, I’ve really had to sit down and ask myself some tough questions about my goals. In my case, I am focusing on my book. Lord knows (No, really. Only He knows.) when that book will be completed, so it seems very counterproductive to put 100% (shoot, even 50%) of my energy into Facebook and Instagram. Will it come into play further down the road? Probably for sure. (You like that?) But right now, I’d like to keep it as a hobby; something that fills my cup and connects me to those who share similar passions. Walking that tightrope is no easy task.
- What does my daughter see?
I mean two things by this. 1) What does she see when she looks at me all day? Does she see a mommy who has her nose in her phone? Who shushes her because Momma is watching a video? Who can’t focus on her adorable giggle because I’m trying to create the perfect hashtags? Talk about convicting. Just writing this publicly makes me want to vomit. 2) What would she see if she could scroll through my Facebook or Instagram feed someday? Would she see pictures of herself slathered all over social media without her permission? Would she see a life very different than reality? Would she see every minute documented yet not really lived? Holy jeez. These questions keep me up at night.
- Does social media add value to my life?
Honestly, sometimes the answer is yes! If I get the chance to check out, catch up on what’s going on with friends, and have a few laughs in the process, I’m pretty darn happy! But when 30 minutes suddenly tick by, and I’m playing the comparison game with everyone’s highlight reels, that is not improving my quality of life. For me personally, the line is soooo fine. I can be light-hearted and relaxed one minute, jealous, stressed out, and irritable the VERY NEXT. There’s probably some deeper things coming into play with that, but I have to know myself well enough to keep from teetering on the edge.
- Does social media promote authenticity?
This is a giant, laughable NO. As much as I pride myself on being real, down to earth, and stripped of all the fake hoopla, I am absolutely not going to share my REAL struggles on social media. Sure, I may have burned dinner. I might need 4 cups of coffee to keep up with my toddler, but I’m not telling you if I’m stressed about money. I’m not sharing my private marital conversations. I’m not asking for advice with family estrangements. And neither are you! And let’s just be clear. If you ARE “over sharing” on social media, you are immediately exposed to sympathy, judgement, and the haughty “commenters” whose life is better than yours. And if we’re still being frank, social media IS NOT THE PLACE for that kind of stuff. Those things SHOULD remain private, shared with loved ones, and close, personal, REAL LIFE friends.
That only leaves room for the happy stuff. The exotic pictures of your expensive vacation. The perfectly posed pictures of your kids (in a suspiciously spotless house). If you’re adhering to the unspoken social media “rules”, you are only showing others that your life is basically perfection, with a few cute “mishaps” for good measure.
This is not authentic living. It is entertainment at best, which I have to keep at the forefront of my mind- constantly.
When my social media involvement gets to the point that it is taking up my brain space and occupying endless hours of my precious time, that is NOT the authentic life I’ve been called to live. It is a sham. And it’s up to me to reign it in.
So- these are the questions and answers I’ve been shadow boxing around for a while. It hasn’t been a pretty road of self reflection, but I’m thankful for it.
Keep striving for balance, my friends. As it’s not the perfectly balanced life that we’re after, but a life PAID ATTENTION TO that balance can help us obtain.
Love to you all,