Guest Post by Starr
My love-hate relationship with social media is the same as every other mid-thirties mom I know: We love seeing pictures and hearing updates about the daily lives of friends and family. We hate that it becomes a time drain and leaves us feeling like we just wasted 45 minutes. We mindlessly scroll through things that we don’t really care about or things that make us angry (Hello politics), or just perfectly simple updates that are fun to see but don’t really shape our lives in any important way. 90% of what we read is just noise or niceties.
So we delete the social media apps from our phones for a while, until we miss seeing pictures of our cute nieces and nephews, or something happens in our own lives that we want to share, and pretty soon we’re sucked right back into the time wasting.
Not to mention the discussion about social media presenting everyone’s best side, and driving us to comparison and discontent. I don’t mean to be a part of perpetuating this by only showing the bright and shiny side of our life. I think I’m fairly transparent that my life is not perfectly tied up in a sweet bow. But when I look at the comments of “Your family is so fun!” and “Your kids are so sweet!” or “Your home is so pretty!” from social media friends who are just casual acquaintances that have never been in my home or been around my kids longer than 2 seconds, it seems that I still project that shiny image despite my best efforts. Unfortunately I have to admit I’m unwittingly part of the problem. It’s always good for me to evaluate my motivation before posting anything to social media.
How do we take back social media and move beyond noise and niceties?
Relationships really matter to me. I am a friend girl. I like to know about peoples’ lives, connect with them and learn from them. But is social media really helping me do that? Maybe? In some small way?
Recently I’ve tried to change how I use social media so it can add more value to my real life relationships:
- If I see a post from a local friend and think “I haven’t connected with her in a while…”, I try and make a date to connect with her right then. Set up a time to have coffee, a gym date (ha), or invite their family over for dinner.
- If I see a post from a faraway friend, whom I can’t connect with in person, I try to send that friend a text or an email. I can ask them more in depth questions about whatever it was I might have commented on or “liked”, and we can start a back and forth dialogue better done between two people than our entire friends list. Those text or email convos often stray from the initial topic, spread out over a few days, and grow our relationship. Those moments bring me a lot of joy.
- If I would never in a million years arrange to see that ‘friend” in person, or text/email them a personal message, I often “hide” them from my feed. It’s not that I don’t care about that person and might not want to check back in with them occasionally, its just that I only have so much time in the day. Scrolling through the posts of people with whom I’d never connect in real life is one of the things that gives me that “UGH. I have just wasted so much time” feeling.
- There are a few people in my feed that aren’t real life friends, but they are people that I respect and learn from. But even with these posts, you have to make a decision on which ones are really bringing value to your life. If their posts aren’t teaching you or pushing you to make positive changes in your life, they are just adding to the noise & niceties. Just remember, it’s ok to make cuts to your lists every now and then.
Here’s to enjoying social media, while not letting it become a burden. Possible? I hope so. I sure do love those pictures and updates of my friends and family who are spread all over the globe. Makes this Oklahoma girl in a Tennessee world feel a little bit closer to home.
Do you have any tips for taking back social media?
Please join the conversation by commenting below:
Starr is a mom to three maddeningly charming kids and wife to one endlessly patient man. This mama loves to write, sing, read & collect friendships. She is excited anytime women come together to support and encourage one another.