Who can keep up with the speed at which things change in social media while maintaining a sense of identity?
Let me back up a bit. In my life, I strive to find balance. Work hard, rest hard. Work smarter, not harder. Look at all the angles before making a decision. Be open to change, but know what you want. Picture the end before you begin. These are some of my pillars. So, I want to find the balance between being relevant, in-the-know, and "with-it" when it comes to social media, but also understand how to confidently exist above the frantic fray, not bending to every whim or app update that gets thrown at me. I want to know the landscape of social media, but also live where I want to live. Today, I am wondering how that all works.
So, let's take a brief tour of the social media networks and how I view them in my life.
Twitter. You either do or don't live on Twitter. Personally, I don't live there. But, I know people who I love and respect who do. I get it. I appreciate it. I check in once a month. Twitter is like the place on the other side of town that is great, but not really worth the drive out of the way for me to visit. Love you, Twitter. See you never.
Facebook. Is hate too strong of a word? Probably. Vehemently dislike? Can't handle all the nonsense? Don't like the way I feel when I scroll too long? You get the picture. Facebook is not where I live. But I'm on it, because as it turns out, so are a lot of you. Millions of people still use this platform transactionally, and so when it comes to dispersing information, I would be a foolish business owner to not be on Facebook. As a platform, it is helpful and necessary. You can find me on Facebook, but you won't really find me on Facebook. Facebook is like the dodgy street I have to drive down to get to the lovely place where I live. I didn't build these roads, but I do need to get home, so I will do what it takes to get there and keep moving.
Instagram. She used to be my favorite. And I do still spend a lot of time there. What's not to love about posting beautifully styled and filtered photos of "real life" with creatively edited captions full of witty banter? (Insert shameful head shake here.) Instagram can be a lot of fun and, when done well, it can build a voice and enhance a brand. But it has also contributed to a culture of comparison and curating. I try to add large doses of vulnerability in my feed to balance out the slippery slope of perceived perfection on Instagram. Even still, I know the poison of comparison seeps in. Instagram is like the coffee shop you love to visit as often as possible. You always see people you know, you like the way it's decorated, you leave feeling inspired, and you make plans to go back. But it's not real life. It's not your home.
Instagram Stories. Hold up. Let me make sure I have this right. This is where I capture "real" moments (15 seconds or less) and compile them into a story with captions (layered and colorful if possible), and then not get too attached or spend a lot of time on any of this content because POOF! everything disappears in 24 hours. Really? Ok. Fine. I'll play. Instagram Stories remind me of cleaning up the living room when you have a toddler. The results are nice for about two point five seconds. And then the toys are spread out on the floor again, and you have to start all over. Thanks a lot for playing! Now start all over! You do what you have to do to keep the living room somewhat tidy, right?
IGTV. Here is where I get frustrated at how quickly this entire situation has escalated. I want to put my head down on my desk and take a time-out. Really? Long form video? We are now going to record up to an hour of content for this social platform and try to be like YouTube? Looks like the answer is yes. Sure, it feels good to know the content isn't going to be deleted in 24 hours, so that's something. But now I am left wondering how much time and effort to pour into this new gig. Is it vital to participate? What's the benefit for me or my business? Am I missing out by ignoring it? IGTV feels like the new cool club in town that everyone flocks to on a Friday night, so I get dressed up and go, but the whole time I'm there I keep thinking, "I wish I were on my couch in jeans and a t-shirt watching Netflix with my family."
It's hard to know the landscape and stay true to where you want to live.
So where do I want to live? You've found it. Right here. I want to own my own content, decide what stays and what goes, and provide a place where, no matter when the last time you clicked on something I did, you can find every post in order every time.
I want to create a space here on the internet where yes, the photographs are beautiful and taken by talented people, but also yes, the words accurately communicate who I am to anyone who wants to read them.
This blog isn't a place where I play games or bend or twist to attract an audience or keep a following. It's a place where I can live and be comfortable with the surroundings because no one else is determining the rules or rolling out a new hoop to jump through in order to make things work well.
Look, I'm sure you will see me try my hand at anything new that comes down the pike. I like trying new things, and I really like connecting with new people and getting my product in front of as many eyes as possible. But at the end of the day, the social media circus is not my home. The circus is a place where I go to see what happens when you swing on a trapeze or attempt to eat fire or ride an elephant while waving to a cheering crowd. The circus can be fun, but at the end of the day, nothing can compare to the familiarity and comfort of coming home to a place where you get to be exactly who you want to be.