This post has been festering in my brain for months. It’s such a tough topic for me, and I have so much to say about it, but I want to make sure what I do say makes sense. And I don’t want to offend anyone, so I’m definitely leaving several thoughts and opinions to myself. But, one thing I know for sure is that I am a social media junky, but I’m working on it.
I love social media. Heck, I work for a company that uses social media as the backbone of it’s daily operations. I don’t get into all the new sites that the kids are on these days…I don’t know what KiK is and I’m pretty vague on my understanding of SnapChat. I stick to the basics: Facebook, Twitter (mostly for work purposes), Instagram (my vice), and Pinterest.
I think my addiction to social media started when we moved to Monticello. It was there that I was at home all day, just Judah and I. With a lack of friends and social life, I was obsessively checking my phone for some type of interaction. It was also at this time that I realized it was becoming a huge problem.
I really enjoy Instagram. To me, it’s more personal than Facebook, and I just love photos and getting a small glimpse into people’s lives. But, it was also a big struggle for me. I began to see only the “perfect” moments being posted, and I was sad to see that my life didn’t look like the lives I was seeing on my screen, and it began to eat away at me. I was (well, still am) terribly annoyed by the hashtags used to gain pointless followers and the feeling that the number of followers on your account somehow determined your self worth. I was growing insecure and more and more withdrawn from the real world because of it.
Then there’s Pinterest. I love this site. There are so many great ideas for projects, things to do with your kids, ideas for your home, recipes, and my favorite, clothes. Love it. But, just like Instagram, Pinterest was getting the best of me. I would look at the site and just want things, unnecessary things. Things I couldn’t have and didn’t need. And my insecurities grew.
Now, I know my insecurities in this time of my life were not just from social media. There were much bigger demons I had to work through, but let me tell you, these sites were not helping me face them.
But in my struggle to figure out this mess, I realized something. I can’t get away from it, as much as I want to, social media is here, and it’s here to stay. Social media is used for promoting business, it’s used to connect with friends and family, it’s used to promote this very blog you’re reading now. And, it’s only going to continue to grow. By the time Judah is old enough to use social media, I can’t even imagine what it will look like. But I know he will use it, and I know I’m going to want to stay with it enough to be able to understand what it is he’s doing.
So what does a person like me do when they find themselves insecure, addicted, and having lost some real friendships all because of a silly photo-sharing app?
Well, we moved to Oregon, which helped leaps and bounds. I know that’s not the solution for us all, but this move has been so great for our family, and this is just one of the smallest ways. I can’t even tell you how much less time I am spending on my phone since moving. It’s incredible. Yet, I still wish it was less. Particularly with Pinterest…gosh that site just gets you.
I think it’s okay to like social media, so I stopped beating myself up about it. I think it’s okay to follow people you admire and friends you have made to share in their days, their joys, or to look for inspiration. I’m just a little more careful with who I choose to interact with and why.
And, since moving, I have been busy. I have limited my time to checking my accounts at certain points in the day. And, with the beginning of new friendships and a fresh start here, I have found my desire to check in becoming less and less. Sure, I’m still on there, and definitely more than I should be, but I am starting to figure out how to balance it. And, I’m learning that my worth doesn’t come from my followers or the amount of likes and comments received.
It’s kind of ridiculous that something so silly as Instagram can make you feel insecure, but it totally can, and I know I’m not the only one out there. But, like I said, social media is here, and it’s not moving.
It’s going to be a challenge, but it starts with us, how we use it sets an example for our kids.
Where we find our worth is modeled to our children, and I for one don’t want my son basing his life’s value on a silly number.