A completely blank screen stares at me after I click ‘Add New Post.’ I can fill the space with anything I choose because it’s my own space. It’s not entirely different than a journal. Except, unlike a piece of paper, this post can be viewed by anyone, anywhere.
The internet is pretty cool. I connect with & relate to bloggers that I would never encounter in my own life. These people are virtually strangers, yet they fill me with inspiration. The internet makes the world smaller.
But, the internet can also make people feel smaller. There’s a study being shared a lot lately about how Facebook makes us sadder and less satisfied. It’s not at all surprising. Humans compare. It’s just what we do. And when we compare, we feel sadder and less satisfied.
Similar articles are circulating about Instagram, where we share filtered pieces of our life and use editing/angles/cropping to look ‘perfect.’ Or Pinterest, where we create absolutely unachievable ideals about designing the ‘perfect’ home or mother or body or outfit. We compare. We feel sadder and less satisfied.
That weighs on me when I stare at a new post, contemplating how to fill the empty space. We can’t always see or understand the impact a post has on each particular person who reads it. “Is someone reading my blog and comparing? Are they feeling sadder and less satisfied because of me?”
With that worry in my mind, I waver about what I ‘should’ share in this space. Should I share the bad days? That I have no idea what I’m doing? That I get overwhelmed? In terms of comparison, it should make people feel better, but won’t all that negative energy make people feel sadder too? I also don’t want to be the annoying girl that’s always complaining.
I could share the good days. The proud mama moments. The Pinterest find that I actually did and it unexpectedly turned out. But that breeds comparison and I don’t want to be the bragging girl that thinks she knows everything.
Ultimately, there isn’t a right answer. All I can do is keep sharing a little of both to make sure this space always feels authentic & genuine.
Recently, my siblings told me my life ‘was viral.’ I was confused… “No, I don’t have very many followers at all.” They explained that I share too much online. I post too many Instagram photos. I use too many hashtags.
It made me question everything. Am I really sharing too much? Are people annoyed with how much I show up in their feeds? [gasp!] Am I [insert name of your most annoying facebook friend]?
I took a few days to look at my social media world. Who are the most interesting people that I follow? Why was I drawn to their posts over others? How come they aren’t annoying?
I came to a few conclusions:
1) Despite what my siblings say, I am going to continue ‘oversharing.’ It helps me form new friendships and has brought new opportunities. It’s a large part of my daily social interaction now that I’m a stay-at-home mom. And it’s critical for connecting with new clients. [plus, it makes using my new fave app, Timehop, way more fun!]
2) There is no rule. There isn’t a magic number like one Instagram photo per day is just right. Or one Facebook status update per day is too much. There just need to be updates in order to be interesting.
3) Most of my friends need to share more. Please. So many are completely silent on Facebook & Instagram. They ‘like’ my photos, but never post any of their own. [I see you there, lurker friend!]
Friends, social media is only interesting IF WE MAKE IT INTERESTING. I’m asking you to share more. Please. My newsfeed keeps getting quieter & quieter. The missing status updates being replaced by promoted posts. I miss hearing about your life. I miss the pictures of your cute babies/cat/dog/boyfriend/dessert. Without your updates, social media is not fun. And that makes me sadder & less satisfied.