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What needs to be said about social media

May 3, 2016

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I posed a shorter version of this on Facebook last week, but I thought it was worth expanding on in a post. You can find the original post here. 

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about social media. You know, posts about how people are “too perfect” or there is a pressure to feel more put together, to curate and create beautiful content. And on the surface I totally understand. I was having a conversation with someone not long ago who told me they no longer follow such and such blogger because she makes her life seem too perfect and they just don’t like that.

The blogger in question was someone I follow, and from my perspective the content she creates is professional, magazine-quality and, yes, very beautiful and styled. Her content didn’t look like real life because that wasn’t the intent; she’s a blogger making a living producing helpful and beautiful tutorials and sharing select snippets of her life.

Social media poses certain unique challenges for us as consumers. We take in so much beauty on a platform like Instagram that if we aren’t careful, that beauty and endless stream of inspiring photos can start to seem like a new normal, a standard of perfection that just can’t be achieved while juggling babies and messes and jobs and dogs who run after the neighbor’s cat. If we aren’t careful, that beautiful and inspiring content can very quickly turn into comparison, stealing away our joy and causing us to become dissatisfied with our own lives.

But friends, here’s what needs to be said: We need to take persona responsibility for how we feel when looking at social media. If seeing a photo of a beautifully styled coffee table with a hot cup of coffee makes you feel like your life is ugly and messy, then the fault doesn’t like with the producer of that content, the fault lies in our own hearts. It’s our job as responsible consumers of social media to keep tabs on our hearts, to make sure that we are approaching it with the correct mindset, and to know if, and when, we need to take a little break to get things set right again.

And there is nothing wrong with taking that break. It’s totally okay to say, “Hey, seeing photos of this design blogger’s beautiful home is exposing some heart issues I have to work out about my own life and home. I’m going to quit following her.” or “I’m going to step away from social media for a while while I figure those feelings out.” But to place the blame on the creator of the content seems both silly and wrong.

So ladies, let’s spend more time building one another up. Let’s cheer on the creators of beautiful content and styled photos and rocking bikini bods and well-dressed kiddos posing perfectly for pictures. Don’t follow people to snark about them. If you don’t like something in your Instagram feed you have the power to click that little “unfollow” button, should you so desire. Otherwise, let’s agree that we’ll work to be more supportive of one another and examine our own hearts before placing the blame on others.

Madison

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10 Comments

  • Reply Robyn Black May 3, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    “it’s our jobs to keep tabs on our hearts” – yes you said it! thanks for sharing this truth! personal responsibility definitely needs to come back into the picture!

  • Reply allisonramsing May 3, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Such a wonderful reminder to do heart checks. Beautiful post!

  • Reply Kelsey M. May 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I love how you phrased this! I’ve definitely stopped follow bloggers — not because what they’re presenting seems too perfect but because everything is so beautiful that it creates less contentment in my own heart so I’ve started to turn to bloggers who enrich me and encourage me spiritually.

  • Reply Alesha Sinks May 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Yes! This is so true! Thank you for writing this. I’ve seen it in my own heart and in others. We all need this reminder!
    Alesha

  • Reply Angela May 3, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Well said. Sometimes we just need a mini break from social. BTW your photos are always amazing, showing both real photos as well as styled, a good combo of both.

  • Reply Jess May 3, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I agree that we should not follow anyone on social media if it only encourages snarky thoughts or bad feelings about ourselves. However, I think if you didn’t have your own blog and content to defend, your opinion may be slightly different. For those of us who are purely consumers and do not know all that goes in to creating posts, the line between reality vs. styled can become very blurry (depending on the blog) simply from not being aware of what goes on behind the scenes.

    Not all bloggers are as transparent as you are, so kudos to you! Many of us appreciate when you are.

  • Reply Kate @ DCL May 3, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Love this! <3 It is very easy to make assumptions about people – good or bad – based on the small parts of their lives they choose to share. I've definitely been working on not trying to "figure out" people so much as gradually getting to actually know them 🙂

  • Reply Sonya J May 4, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Great message. I totally agree with you. We should be empowering one another!

  • Reply Amy Bellows, PhD May 4, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Yes! Such truth in these words. We have to have more accountability for our feelings and to make changes in our own lives if something is off instead of trying to put down the things around us that don’t fit into what we want to see.

  • Reply Alice Kim May 5, 2016 at 12:44 am

    <3 This is why I love you and your positive/strong/grounded/fun energy! I remember a post long ago when you talked about social media and why we post what we post. That post make me think twice what I post as well as commenting(positive or negative).

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