Recently a friend made a courageous decision to disappear. She didn’t fall off the face of the earth – nothing that drastic. She disappeared from every aspect of social media – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedN, Google +, Twitter and even got rid of her email accounts. What’s even more amazing is that she is a gifted writer and has had a “presence” in this blogosphere of ours for quite a while. Although her disappearance was sudden, her decision wasn’t.
In her words….”Being off of social media puts things in perspective. I can focus on the here and now. The tangible right in from of me – relationships with my family, my daily priorities and in self-care. I’ve gained more hours in my day by taking myself off of social media.” I asked if she felt like she was missing out and she replied, “No. In fact, the withdrawals only lasted about 7 days.” When asked about friendships that she had made online her response was, “Friendships that I found online and where I made connection also in real life remain intact and those that were merely online, are gone.” Was that disheartening to her? She replied, “I’m practical so I expected it. Community in real life is stronger.”
I’ve contemplated disappearing too. For some of the same and yet different reasons, I question whether this is what God really wants my life to look like. You may not agree with me but there is a heck of a lot of pressure in social media. The pressure of fitting in, being liked and liking others, saying and doing the right thing. Being accepted in social media can resemble the first day of high school as a freshmen in a new town. But it’s magnified a few times over when the community isn’t based on face to face interaction. What you put into the online community can often feel like a quick brush of wind on your face…one day you feel you belong and the next, you’re feeling alone even though you’re in the middle of a crowd.
I started out blogging before blogging was called blogging. I had this cute little spot in a place called the Heartlands on a website called Geocities. I had an “address” and a neighborhood of people that also wrote on my online community. Now that I think about it, it was a bit hokie but I thought I was cool beans for having my “spot” in the community. I had peeps who lived next door and who shared the love of Christ, family, creating, and adventures. Then years later, the “real” blogosphere happened. I grabbed my blogspot address and I was ready to soar…soar with an audience of one. Little by little, I found friends who surprisingly liked my place chocolatecovereddaydreams.blogspot.com and community happened.
As I grew, my voice grew. I found boldness to tell it like it is and courage to be me. Then came opportunities to write and to speak outside of my little blog. And my voice grew a little louder. I decided to be bold and to take a giant leap and my domain name and website were created.
I immersed myself in social media. I tweeted and liked, shared, pinned and hearted pictures of friends and family. Then I got lost and overwhelmed. I found people who wrote great stuff and who made this social media stuff seem effortless, a breeze. There were retreats to gather and find community, book launches and online Bible studies. I gave in to having it all at my fingertips via my smartphone. Before long, my writing was distracted by the very thing I thought I loved – social media.
I no longer knew where I fit. I remembered when my web address included blogspot and how those blogs that I followed and read frequently became friends to me. Trying to keep up with every wonderful blog, I lost the closeness that came from the small community of friends. I guess the best way to describe what I’m saying is that I went from communing and the loving fellowship of a small church and suddenly going to a megachurch where it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
I don’t want to be lost in the crowd. I don’t want to feel like I want to fight for social medial popularity either. I would rather just be me and if my voice is heard, then that’s okay. Maybe it means going back to being a blogspot blogger once again. But then I fight with what I’ve been told, “You want to write and get your book published, then you’ve got to have a presence on social media.” It’s my heart’s desire to write – just like the air I breathe but going back to writing for the audience of One. I will trust Him to open the doors.
Have you thought about your place in social media? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Lover of God, my awesome husband, Pastor J, my kids, bonus kids, furkids and chocolate. I'm a writer, with a passion for anything creative. I am silly, clumsy, honest, faithful and often times, pathetic but so thankful that God loves me just as I am.