Social media is a funny animal. On one hand, it allows us to connect with people across the world, keep up with far-away family, and network like never before. I would not be where I am professionally without it. For many reasons, I am grateful for social media.
However, there is some baggage that can come with being so connected.
10 years ago when you weren’t invited to a party, you might not even know about it. Today you can feel left out in two seconds by opening up your Instagram feed.
10 years ago, you had to work hard to nonchalantly drop an important name in part of a face-to-face conversation. Today you can name drop in front of thousands of followers on Twitter.
None of us are immune to this, and we all fall on both sides of the coin. I’m sure I’ve bragged on Twitter before, and just last week I let myself feel the pang of not being invited to something because of Instagram.
And so I’ve been thinking about how we can be more intentional in our social media use.
Let’s just go ahead and say it: Someone is always going to feel offended or left out. There is no way around that. BUT, we CAN ask ourselves a few questions before posting a photo, sending a tweet, or updating our Facebook status to make sure we’re not just being a jerk.
- “Is anyone I care about going to feel bad if I post this?”
- “It is worth taking a picture right now or should I simply enjoy the moment?”
- “Am I just showing off right now?”
I came up with 5 different reasons we post to social media (I’m sure there are more than 5, but these are pretty common). 3 are good reasons (Green light: Go ahead with that Tweet!), and 2 are not so good reasons (Red light: Don’t post that on Instagram!).
The three green circles are about making memories, promoting someone else, and living in community. The two red circles are about feeding the ego and easing a guilty conscience. Like I said, I’m guilty of blowing through those red lights more than once, but I’m trying to be more intentional these days.
And before we finish up here, let’s take a minute to talk about our responsibility as “followers” on social media. If you are following someone’s feed who is consistently causing you to feel left out, guilty, or insecure, UNFOLLOW THEM. I’ve had to do that before! I was following someone on Instagram that constantly had me trying to measure myself up against her. And you know what? She wasn’t doing anything wrong. IT WAS ALL ME. Which is why it was my responsibility to unfollow her. And the minute I gave that up, I felt better. Ahhhhh, a sigh of relief.
What do you think? Are you tired of social media? Do you ever feel left out because of it? Do you think before you tweet? Do you ever live in the moment and put your phone away? Am I missing anything here? I would love to hear your thoughts.