There seems to be a general love/hate relationship with social media, and I’m no exception. I see posts where someone announces they’re taking a digital detox or a social media break. Then there’s the whole back and forth: people calling others out, criticizing, calling for less critique, being rude, calling for better etiquette. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I feel. I am on there, but I do get overloaded. Quite easily in fact. I’m very aware of what and how much I let into my mind. It’s a part of a meditation practice. I blogged about it wayyy back and titled it Mind your Mind.
This is the first blog on my take on social media. I have a few thoughts and it’s taken time to get it all sorted out. It’s not all bad with social media, it can be a great tool. But it does require management.
It’s does not have to be perfect
I remember the first times I posted on social media. My palms were sweaty and I was nervous as I hit enter. What if there was a mistake, what if I wrote something that could be misinterpreted? Would everyone like it? As if.
Social media had me confront my perfectionism and that ‘school kid syndrome’ where you are so afraid of getting something wrong. A post is not a graded paper and people are pretty nice, at least in my online neighborhood. So it was ok to have a typo and the image did not have to be perfect. Not everyone is going to agree with you, but that’s fine.
Anything that gives me insight into self I consider progress, even if it is from an unlikely source. And this has. It makes me confront my fear of ‘doing it wrong’, or not being perfect. No one will be perfect. How can you? There’s no user manual for social media. In fact, as far as I can tell, there is barely any vetting at all.
Social Media for Self Inquiry: Who Knew?
I have an astrology channel on Youtube. Comments are usually positive. Sometimes they point out something that could be done better (I had audio issues a while back) but I get the odd one that is just plain negative. Comments like boring, depressing or too convoluted. I’ve learned not to dwell and question myself over and over. I’ve learned to roll with it, or at least I’m trying. Like other creative pursuits, it makes me confront myself and get out of my own way. The inner critic has learned not to get triggered.
Has social media cured my perfectionism completely? No, nor should it. Online is not real life. I don’t mind being a perfectionist, as long as I know when enough is enough and it’s time to get it out there and move on. I keep a saying taped to my laptop: Perfect is the enemy of done.
No One is Vetted
This perfectionism worry is attenuated by the fact that no one is vetted on social media. It is up to you to judge credibility. I could tell you I maintain my weight by drinking four liters of aloe vera water everyday (I don’t) and eating a bag of spinach, an orange and twelve almonds. None of this is true. I drink plain water, regular H2O. I eat spinach, oranges and almonds, but a lot of other stuff too. But if I did make this claim, apart from being called out in the comments, or someone doing a reaction video, I could keep sharing my ‘knowledge’.
Sometimes it helps to apply the CRAAP test to help evaluate information. This is more for academic material, but it’s good to question the authority of the person giving the information and their goal. This is an easy explanation of the CRAAP test from Carleton University.
I’m thankful I understood early in the game that it is much easier to control what you put out there rather than trying to control who sees what. I’m big on boundaries and knowing why I’m doing something. Why am I posting? What is the ultimate goal? Do I have a business? Do I want to be an influencer and get paid to promote stuff? Am I just sharing for sharing’s sake?
Do I have a product or a topic or am I the main focus? It’s important to think about what we’re comfortable with. Some people share a lot about their lives, some don’t. Some people remain quite anonymous. I follow a lot of indie authors and I love being a part of that community. Some focus on their writing journey and their books. Other share opinions, thoughts and events in their lives. It’s a choice. Just remember it’s hard to take back what is out there. Actually, I think it’s impossible. I choose not to share much about my private life. I am not the focus of my social media or my YouTube.
Where you put social media in your life has a lot to do with priorities. Do you want to invest a lot of time? Are you willing to follow trends? Again, what is your goal?
I’ve tried to grow a following. Honestly, I’m just not motivated enough to invest the time and energy. I don’t care enough. Just the way it doesn’t care about me. It’s a big money making machine that requires a lot of time and effort. With no guarantees.
I also gave up quite quickly on trying to conform to the required hoop jumping to achieve exposure and followers. That coercion irritates the hell out of me. Make Reels, we’ll show those posts more; we have something called Threads now (yes, Instagram, looking at you). We’ll reward you for that. Post everyday and you get more views. Or pay us and you’ll get more views (that’s you Facebook and your constant solicitation to boost my posts). Though I’m pretty task oriented, on the flip side I don’t like being told what to do. I also don’t like following rules when the goalpost keep shifting on an already uneven playing field. I said in a past blog you may be using social media but it is using you harder and better than you ever well.
Overall, I’d say that using social media and our comfort with it depends on knowing yourself. What do you want to put out there? Why? What’s your goal? What are you comfortable with? How much energy are you willing to put into it? Don’t forget, your time is finite. Use it wisely. Be well.
I want to thank all of you who like and comment on my blogs. What started out as a way to improve my writing (challenging myself to write concisely on different topics as opposed to a work of fiction) and share my ideas, has become a regular check-in with all of you that I enjoy tremendously. You’ve probably noticed the orange coffee cup logo on the right. If you can make a contribution, it’s really appreciated. Everything goes to keeping the site running. That’s the domain provider, site host and the theme (the layout) you see here. If you can’t, no worries, leave a like and subscribe to get my weekly blogs directly in your inbox. No spam, no offers, just the blog, the whole blog and nothing but the blog.
For those of you who like astrology, I’ve been on YouTube for a year now. (woo hoo!). The channel is here and the astrology blogs are here.
This blog was updated on August 18th 2023.