We have all met them before – people who are completely draining. The kind that seem to take and take and take and never seem to benefit no matter how much we give, never seem satisfied no matter what we do, and only seem to drain us and cause us loads of frustration in both camps. This is how I have felt about my relationship with social media. The main three social media sites I’m specifically referring to are YouTube, facebook and although it doesn’t technically fall into the category of social media this blog – WordPress.
As far as YouTube goes, I was trying to post 5 videos a week, feeling guilty if I did’t even get at least one uploaded. My thought is that – here is a great community of moms whom I would love to meet and get to know, a community that I really want to be a part of. As that is the case, I have to post good videos often, comment a lot and do my best to add value to the community that I so long to be a part of. After all, due to the current circumstances, I’m stuck at home most of the time and have a hard time making connections in the real world to other people in the same season of life as me. I felt a lot of pressure to keep the comments and videos going.
Facebook is another animal with a unique twist. With the exception of a few facebook friends, these are all people I know in real life. Granted most of them were never more than acquaintances, but some of these people are real friends. Some of them have become closer friends through my facebook connections with them. I felt it was my duty to read every feed post from my over 500 friends and work to build solid relationships with them all. Who knows how I might be able to connect with someone I never thought about before. This left me constantly checking facebook and commenting – trying to get all of my social needs met online.
WordPress is the last avenu. I’ve actually had several blogs and sites although this is my only personal one. I have felt tugged in multiple directions with this blog ranging from, “this is a place to provide information and I need to keep in coming or else I’m letting my readers (not that I have many), down” to “maybe if I really focus on my blog, I can make money to supplement our income and take some pressure off Arlen.” Noble and good really, but is it realistic.
So, keeping all those three things in mind, I could easily have a full time job just keeping up with YouTube, facebook, and WordPress. I already have a full time job – I’m a mom. All of these social media sites are hobbies – so what should my relationship be with each one? Through much prayer and contemplation, here is what I have come up with:
My blog is a place for me to process things that are going on in my life. It is an online journal of sorts that is mostly for my benefit. However, it is posted online in hopes that others may learn a thing or two and benefit as well. My blog is my creative outlet. I love to write and this gives me a platform to do so, even if I’m the only one who reads the posts.
YouTube is a great way to supplement my blog. Some things just work better as videos. It’s also a great forum for finding information, learning new things, and finding other mothers who have been through similar circumstances. If I have any questions, it’s my go to place. As much as possible, I want to give back to the community by sharing things I’m learning, but I may not be able to do that very often and that’s okay. If I make some great friends along the way, that’s just a huge bonus!
Facebook – facebook is it’s own animal. If I have time to check in and see how people are doing, great! If I want to get in touch with someone about something specific, facebook works even better than e-mail. If I’m excited about something and I want to share pictures or just touch base with people I know – facebook is the place. No, I don’t need to feel guilty if I didn’t see all your status updates, and I don’t know much about what is going on in your life – if I see you in person, I would love to have a long conversation with you and you can fill me in on all the details.
Coming to these realizations and defining my relationship with social media has been a huge breakthrough for me! It has been totally freeing. Don’t get me wrong – technology can be a great thing, but I have found that taking a step back and setting proper boundaries has been key in learning to simplify. Part of simplification is looking where my time is going and being glued to a computer screen isn’t the life I want to lead.
What is your relationship with virtual communities? Is it healthy, or are you dependent on your computer or smart phone? Are there changes you want to make?