Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Scroll Down Social Media Lane.

Our parents generation made sure we valued education, that we surrounded ourselves with good community, that we found a good church. They taught us about finances, healthy living, and how to have a good sense of humor. Our youth pastors, teachers and professors taught us to look at music and movies with a critical eye.

No one taught us how to manage social media. We didn't get our first email address until college and wondered then if the internet thing would even really catch on. (Wait, is it a forward slash or a backslash? This is too high maintenance.") We couldn't learn from our parent's mistakes on this one. There wasn't even an urban legend to consider.

And then it took over. I don't even know what my best friends' handwriting looks like and we write to each other every day.

So here we are. Unchartered territory. Making mistakes with this new responsibility daily. We have no direction ingrained in our upbringing on the hows, whens and whos.

Lots of friends have found the solution in taking breaks. Taking certain apps off their smart phones, etc. Some are being super honest and wise about the effects social media is having on them. I'm not going to get into the deeper stuff on this post, the envy, jealousy, discontentment, etc. I'm just going to hopefully adjust your perspective a bit if you find yourself struggling through these new darts being thrown at you hourly.

1. Memes are not truth.
Look what I made! Memes aren't truth in any shape or form, therefore they don't get authority. They are memes. Literally anyone can create them and if they're pretty or funny or feel-good (or it's a slow news day) they get passed around. The following two were in my Facebook feed in the same day:
This on a day when my 7 year old threw a fit because all he wanted was to play Wii instead of hang out with the family. Because I love him, my job was to make him unhappy. If my only wish was to make my child happy we'd all have a selfish-zilla on our hands. Ya know what would make Dez happy? If Russ stayed home from work every day. But then we'd be homeless, so ya know...Parenting and loving your child involves making a lot of decisions that make them unhappy. And I don't need an emoticon to prove it.
This one is trickier. At first read I thought, "Awww." And then I thought of the many conversations with adoptive moms (and even biological moms) when they admit it took months, sometimes years to fall in love with their kids. Seeing this on the wrong day and giving it authority could cause some serious undue guilt and shame.

All that to say: THEY'RE MEMES. They do not get authority just because they're on your feed.

2. Pinterest is a resource. Not a daily standard of living.

Raise your hand if you know every word in the dictionary and use them daily? *crickets*
This is a screen shot of one of my pinterest pages. However, currently I'm wearing an oversized crusty Cardinal's sweatshirt with old faded sweatpants that smell like pickles (that's what Dez had for a snack.) Do I sometimes wear outfits like the ones pictured? Yes. When I want to and have the time to. Is that my daily? Nope. Ha! Not even close.

Pinterest is like a Christmas wish list or a wedding registry. It's a collection of "I like that." Not, "I'm doing that, cooking that, wearing that, sewing that and reading that all day every day." For me, it's truly like a dictionary. When I'm looking for something specific, it's my go-to. That's it.

3. Facebook is the highlight REEL. Not the highlight REAL.

A few days ago was the last World Series game in St. Louis. By a quick scroll, you'd think everyone I knew was at the game. In reality? Maybe 10 people went to the game, but my newsfeed was full of cool pics. That's less than 1% of my FB friends. But in that split second, it seems EVERYONE was able to swing tickets, EVERYONE got a babysitter, EVERYONE GOT TO HAVE AN UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT WITH THEIR HUSBANDS AND I SMELL LIKE PICKLES IN MY CRUSTY SWEATSHIRT AT HOME ON THE COUCH.

I believed it for a second.

It's best for me to remember that the friend who posts the vacation pic works crazy hard and has 4 kids and, holy crap, deserves a getaway. She's not on vacation every week. To remember the friend who posts the pic of the great meal she made probably made frozen pizza the next night. She's not making amazing meals every night.

And if she is? Good for her! High fives! Super impressive! And guess what? It's okay that someone else is impressive in an area you're not. We all don't have the same giftings. And also? If she's spending that much time on meals that usually means something else is sacrificed. There's only so much time. If you're reading as many blog posts from me as you have been lately, you can bet I'm not inviting you over any time soon. If I'm writing, I'm probably not cleaning. True story.

Facebook is like a local coffee shop keeping me connected with our many circles all at once. It keeps my silly stories and photos of our life all in one place. It's my bulletin board, baby book, class reunion and Christmas letter all year round. I actually view it as a huge blessing.

4. Twitter? Eh, that probably won't catch on.


Elizabeth said...

Thanks for this post. So true! :-)

Amanda said...

In the words of Desmond Mohr...WHAT WHAT! I love everything that you said in this here post. Love you sister!

Beth Bohlmann said...

Great post worth considering...the comparison game is an epidemic with social media!