If you are struggling with social media, especially lately, you’re not alone. I’m with you. As I was scrolling down some of my followers on Instagram(sometimes I do that so I’m intentional with engagement, as a lot of people simply don’t show up in my feed) I clicked on a runner friend I have followed for a long time. I almost commented on her post, then realized it was from last April. Her last post. She just dropped of the social media map. And she’s not the only one.
I’ve noticed this trend lately, as I click on users only to realize it’s been weeks or months since their last post. People comment asking probing questions feeling almost insulted that this person could just up and quit without letting the world know why. And I can’t help but envy them a bit. I’m not a YouTube sensation. I’m not Facebook famous or getting paid to blog. I’m not vlogging. I’m not hosting massive giveaways and some weeks I’m doing good to publish one blog post. I’m taking part, but I wouldn’t say I’m crushing this by any means. So why keep doing it?
Sometimes I feel as though I miss the entire purpose of social media….which is to connect. I love connecting with people, but I sometimes get so entirely overwhelmed by it all that I tend to check out and not engage at all. I get bogged down trying to find my place. I wonder if this type of connecting is really necessary. Because the truth is, if I, or you, dropped off the social media map, life would go on.
I think social media has become so much more than just a way to connect. It’s become competition and ladder climbing and keeping up with them Jones’ who made their way over to Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat. It’s political and controversial. It’s personal. All of a sudden, we measure our worth here. How did she get 40k followers and I’ve been at this just as long and only have several thousand? How does he get thousands of likes on a sort of crappy image when I pour my heart into a post, both with the words I say and the image I use, only to get a handful. Isn’t that what we think? We measure our influence on numbers. Our number of followers and number of likes has become such an integral part of our worth that I’m not even sure we realize it’s happening. And sometimes it just feels like too much.
I feel the need to check out sometimes. To go completely incognito. To be anonymous and honestly just to be Kelly, not Red Head on the Run. Because the hour I spent getting lost in so and so’s puppy pictures or her PR or her outfit is one I can never get back, and I often wonder what in the world was the point of that waisted time? Is it waisted if I’m legitimately connecting with people and making a difference in the world? Do we really have reach and influence here? Can we grow a brand or a company in 2016 without an online presence? Would my life be richer and more full without all the fluff of what everyone else is doing or thinking or feeling all up in my business all the time? I’m not sure I know the answer, but I do know that even when I feel lost in it, I have a purpose in it, and so I stick.
As I’ve thought about this topic, I wonder what other people think. What do you think? Do you get caught in the nasty sticky web of comparison? Because I do at times. Do you think life would be simpler without the Facebooking? Or are you really happy with the niche you have on social media? Maybe you have a thriving business that wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of marketing via these platforms. Maybe you met your best friend or spouse this way, and you can’t imagine another way of doing life. All of this is ok. It’s good to be in a good place, but it’s also good to be in a place of evaluation and contemplation. I’ve been in both. So, here are some things I’ve come up with as I’ve thought through the place social media has in my life.
1. My influence on social media does not measure my worth. Period.
Here’s the deal. My worth, who I am as a person and who God has crafted me to be, is not measured by my online presence. It’s not measured by how many followers I have nor how many like’s I get or page views I have. Just like it’s not measured in how fast or slow I am, how productive I am with work or how much laundry I got done today, how good of a mom and wife I am, or am not. My worth is in Christ. Period. He made me. He crafted my dreams and my passions and He has a purpose for me. I know who I am. I know my strengths and I am well acquainted with my weaknesses. If I lost all of my social media platforms and never logged into another account again, I’d still be the same person. The core of who I am wouldn’t change…..at all.
2. Our purpose and identity are not the same.
I have purpose, and so do you. In fact, I think we each have many things God has purposed just for us.We can have different sphere’s of influence. I’m a wife, a mom, a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, runner, blogger, launderer, baker, cook, driver, writer, dreamer, thinker, adventurer, traveler. These are all things I enjoy doing that can contribute to how I influence the world. They are all parts of me. They are part of my identity but not my entire identity because at any point, any one or more of these things could be taken away from me. I’d still be me, but I may not be a runner anymore. I may not always be able to write or travel. So it’s important to keep a grasp on the fact that our purpose does not make us who we are. I’m much more than a wife and a mom. I’m a child of God first and foremost with gifts and unique qualities that are true to only me.
Our purpose is in life can be ever changing, from one season to the next. God could have different things for us at different times, and that may not include having any influence on social media. It may mean that for this season, you shut out all the noise and you pour into your family or your friends or your job. Or maybe your blog is taking off and people’s lives are being touched and that’s exactly where you are supposed to be. Take each season as it comes, and allow your purpose to change from time to time. You can be you wether you are doing laundry and running carpool or pounding out business deals. On that note……….
3. Be true to you.
Be true to who you are. Don’t try to be someone else just to grow your influence in the world of social media. This is a tricky thing to do. It’s easy to see someone else who is nailing it and try to shape our focus to look like their’s. Don’t. The world doesn’t need a bunch of the same, it needs diversity. It has diversity, but we often fail to embrace that. Find your niche, your passion and your message, and stick to it. Who cares if you never make it to 40k followers. If you are doing what you feel called to do and are doing your very best to influence the world in a positive way, then stick to that. If you have people who are drawn to you and what you have to say and share, then keep on keepin on my friend. There is a spot for you and for me, for the one with the food pics on Pinterest or the “how to chalk paint blog.” Just do you.
4. Sometimes, less is more.
It’s easy to freak out over a lack of presence and over post or over think things. Just chill. The world will not end if you go a week or two without posting on social media. Trust me, I get the importance of consistency, but let’s keep things in perspective. We ALL have a life outside of these screen’s. This week, mine includes kids with strep. So I’ve been a little more absent and less engaged all around this week. I’d rather post something of substance and do it less often than just post something to post it. Less is more. Be present in your right now with the ones you are with. The ones right in front of you. This week has contained a lot of loss and hardship for many I know and love. And that’s the important stuff. The people you are legitimately doing life with deserve your attention and your presence. So be present. Let the rest go and come back to it as your season allows.
5. It has so much good
Don’t get me wrong here, there is also so much good that can come and does come from social media. Family members get to see pictures of your kids. Friends from childhood or high school can re-connect. You make new friends you never would have met otherwise. You can get business deals and have reach far beyond what anyone thought possible 20-30 years ago. We can make a difference. We can spread awareness about issues that mean something to us and to the rest of the world. We can have an army of prayer warriors when life hits hard and a meal chain for those in need in just seconds. There is so much good here. I LOVE writing and blogging, even if it comes in waves in my life. I LOVE the connections I’ve made and the sweet friends I have thanks to this little screen. I am forever grateful for every opportunity that has come my way because of somebody who just happened upon my page or my blog. I see it’s benefits and I appreciate the place it has in my life. It just isn’t my entire life. And that’s ok.
I’m not just writing this to you, but to myself as well. I let myself get sucked in all too often to what people think. I ask, “am I doing any good or do I need to walk away?” I let people’s opinions of me and who they think I am take front seat and completely overlook the ones in my life who truly know me. It’s a struggle for me. I keep this blog going because I love to write. I’m not always consistent, but that’s ok. I may not follow the top 5 rules of blogging success or post at the best times of the day. But it’s something I LOVE and feel very called to, therefore, I do it and stay obedient to it until God moves me onto something else. And I pray you do the same. Keep some perspective and know that you have purpose. Your purpose can be through something you do via social media or in something you do day in and day out that no one will ever see or know about. You can be completely unknown by anyone outside of your immediate circle. You are loved and identified by the one who made you, and no amount of like’s or follow’s will ever change that.
What about you? How does social media fit into your life and do you find yourself struggling to make it stick? If this is an area of success for you, do you have any wisdom or tips for those who are struggling to find their place in it all?
Thanks for stopping by friends!!!