screenshot from one of my favorite social media formats and one of my favorite posters
can i just say one thing really quick? social media hasn't been around that long. we've only been oversharing for a few years now, so the consequences and the parameters are still a little unknown. i've been struggling with how i feel about social media. sometimes it makes me want to throw my phone across the room and other times i feel so supported i just want to cry.
not that long ago women spoke to each other over their back fences. now we speak to each other over the internet. if all a woman can do is talk about how fun or easy things are, or sweet her children are, if all she can do is show you the food she's made, or the crafts she's completed, or how cute she looks in her work out clothes, then i have no time for that woman. i go to my back fence because i want to know that i am not alone. that this is weird. or hard. or ridiculous. and sometimes fun, easy, and cute. i want to know that you, too, are considering your place in life, or your role as mother. i have no use for someone who has already figured it all out and can't wait to show me how she has no problems.
so here are a few general rules about social media that i've put together (with the help of the women over my back fence, of course):
tip #1: know your audience. this is actually a writing rule. if you want to appeal to a bunch of teenage girls, you should definitely write about a vampire who is obsessed with a teenage girl who likes to whine a lot. and if your audience is your children's grandmother, then you should definitely write about how angelic your children are (because extra tip-within-a-tip: no one else loves your children or grandchildren like you do). otherwise, don't brag, not even humbly. please, just don't.
tip #2: think of the internet as a person you just met. don't share too much. we don't want to know about your bodily functions, or you husband's bodily functions. or your children's bodily functions. or even, just bodily functions. please, no. even if we're best friends, no.
tip #3: no live updates on sporting events. no condescending political posts. because do you know what i think when i see these? well, i'll give you a clue. it's not "so-and-so is so smart!" it's heartbreak. because so-and-so is speaking about me, or the people i love and so-and-so is not being kind.
tip #4: if every post is "i married the best human ever" or "my child is the best student/athlete/sibling/friend/child/etc. ever" then when your spouse/kid actually does something significant we've already tuned you out and don't believe you. because no one is that awesome all the time. ever. feeling extra blessed? awesome. but it only works if you haven't been feeling extra blessed every other day.
tip #5: don't post five (or more) photos from the same event in the same day. yes, you're on vacation. yes, you saw a really cool thing. no, we don't actually care that much. oh, you're doing this as a scrapbook? a couple options: make a private account for your scrapbook or don't be offended if we stop following you. again: if this is for the benefit of grandmas, then send them directly to the grandmas. we're all here, too. please, know your audience.
but here are some tips for everyone else:
tip #1: don't take everything literally. if i post a photo of a delightful cup of tea and a homemade morning muffin don't assume i did this because all of my crap is in order everywhere around me and i just can't think of a single thing to do except bake muffins and cups of tea. in reality, i'm procrastinating so badly i just shoved all the mess aside because everyone knows a clutter-free photo is prettier than a photo from an episode of hoarders. plus, i want you to come over next time i invite you. and if you see what things really look like around here, you won't want to.
tip #2: if i post a photo of me drinking a delightful cup of tea or a homemade morning muffin don't be sad that you are at work and not drinking tea and eating a muffin, too. it is impossible for us all to do the same things at the same time. and tomorrow you may have tea and i may have so many deadlines i cry the whole day. don't worry about it.
tip #3: no one really says what they feel on social media. it's when your best blinders are on. so if i say, "he always helps me and does what i ask" of my little 7-year-old don't sit there and look at your work-avoiding and back-talking 7-year-old with distress. my 7-year-old is the same way. because he's seven. he can't help it. but also, sometimes he does help me and do what i ask. so does yours. he's 7-years-old. he can't help it.
tip #4: there is nothing wrong with capturing the good stuff in my life and celebrating it. if i cleaned out seth's room (finally) because now he's at school and can't stop me from carting out armfuls of branches and leaves and rocks and sticks, then i should. and if my favorite spot in his bedroom is the dark blue dresser i painted, with the metal desk lamp, the han solo print, the antler, and the 'i am a child of god' print, then i should post it. as long as i'm not boasting my ears off, pretending that this is how his room looks all the time, over-praising my own hard work, then i should be able to post the happy moments. and you should, too. in fact, please do. no one likes a negative nelly. but no one likes a boastful betty, either. or an exaggerating ellen. or a gushing gertie. or a hash tagging henrietta.
is the conclusion of these tips to encourage us to be a little more reasonable with the content we stick on our social media? i don't know. i just had to get this all out so i didn't carry it inside anymore. is it all clean homes and sweet children and doting husbands? absolutely not, not anywhere...and that's okay. life isn't about all that. it's about everything being in the same jar...and dealing with it.
so maybe all of my social media content should be more of the craziness that i coexist with daily (this morning i said, "i've got to get control on this house" and ryan said, "yeah, it looks like you're commemorating the ten year hurricane katrina anniversary by recreating it." he was mostly right. i was going for the northridge earthquake look. and also i've been searching for important things to do all morning that will keep me from cleaning this place up. ugh.).
tell me your thoughts. i'm still figuring mine out.