I’ve Forgotten Why

I used to love all things social media. But lately I’ve forgotten why.

Blogging. Instagram. Twitter. Facebook.

Slowly over time they’ve all made me weary. So much so that I can hardly remember what I loved so much about them in the first place…

I think I loved how it allowed me to connect with people. But lately it seems like all we are doing is showing others the people we are connected with. What used to feel like connecting and collaborating, now feels like grandstanding, posturing and some good old fashioned name-dropping.

I think I loved how it allowed me to let others in. But lately it seems like it is more often used to make others feel left out. The birthday parties. The girl’s weekends. The conference meet-ups. We all seem to hover unknowningly between victim and abuser in this unending cycle of adolescent-angst-inducing “look how much fun I am having with @soandso, wish you were here, oops, so sorry you weren’t invited.”

I think I loved how it allowed me to savor experiences. But lately it seems like in sharing them I have to put a big ‘ol pause on the savoring. Taking a minute to craft the perfect tweet, instagram, and Facebook post, forces me step out of the conversation and pick up my phone {and let’s be honest once the phone is picked up, I’m 75% working and 25% savoring}.

I think I loved how it introduced me to new ideas. But lately it seems like it just introduces me to new disagreements. Everyone is so busy passing along their personal biases and agendas and ripping to shreds “the other side”, that we’ve all forgotten that is in fact possible to agree to disagree.

So…how about you? Do you still love all things social media? Or are you like me, and you’ve forgotten why it was once so enchanting? 

And…what are your tips and rules for engaging in a way that is life-giving instead of life-draining? 

 

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dog Molly, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.twitter.com/teenbug Tina Francis/ @teenbug

    I hear you, Lindsay. The voices all seem so very loud lately. I’m treading lightly too. xoxo

    • lindseynobles

      So loud….

  • http://inspiredrd.com InspiredRD

    Yes I agree! I’ve been working out a blog post in my head (I’ll get to it eventually) on what to consider before posting a photo or a tweet.

    • lindseynobles

      Can’t wait to read it.

      • http://inspiredrd.com InspiredRD

        It’s up ;)

  • Leah Dankertson

    Lindsey – You’ve put in words so many of the jumbled thoughts and feelings rummaging around my head lately on this topic. How annoying it is to see so much bragging and posturing (on instagram especially…) in my feed…and even more annoying (humbling…) still is that I am a part of a the whole big circus act.

    I have days where I want to quit the whole thing…wondering that age old question “Will people remember me if they aren’t reminded of “me” a couple times in the day? Will anyone come after me? Will anyone ask how I’m doing”. In March I did a social media fast and was surprised at how lonely I felt for the first couple weeks, especially in the evenings. I am single, so there was that craving to be “with” others, to feel connected and known at the end of the day. I saw loneliness – and would I turn to Jesus in that time or would I try to distract myself in some other way?? Ultimately though, after a while I felt overwhelmingly less anxious. Not caring about the parties I wasn’t invited and relieved to not have to post instantly about what was going on. I got to ask people to explain to me what they had posted, and show me the pictures they had posted. In real life I got to respond and see their reactions. It was great.
    But now I’m back at the social game again….it’s so easy to jump back in. But I think another fast is on the horizon…we shall see.

    • lindseynobles

      I’m definitely trying to figure out how I move forward. Right now…I’m not sure. Not ready to give it up. Not ready to commit to moving forward. One day at a time.

  • laura

    reading this, i wanted to cheer.

    i’m in the process of unfollowing/unfriending some people who i am triggered by. i’ll happily own my faux pas online, but seeing people use social media platforms to perpetuate myths, be hypocritical, argue, etc…no thanks. i find that simply unfollowing or unfriending is the easiest and most honest way to reduce my frustration while asking myself why it bugs me so much.

    i’m so grateful for real relationships that social media has brought my way, but i am over the life draining posts.

    thanks for posting this!

    • lindseynobles

      I’ve been unfollowing triggers to. It feels good to realize I don’t have to subject myself to everyone and everything.

      • Anne Marie Miller

        I am a trigger-unfollower too. Why do I want to make myself feel like crap from reading that @thisoldfriend and @thatoldfriend are off galavanting and celebrating and wait, what, but I thought we used to be friends. #whatever. :)

  • Megan Smidt

    Month four of seven (mutiny against excess media and technology) left me not knowing really HOW to jump back on the social media bandwagon. I understand your words in this post so clearly. It seems like what we all need is better balance <3

    • lindseynobles

      For sure!

  • http://www.spencesmith.com Spence Smith

    I completely agree. It’s why i’ve pulled back in some pretty big ways online so that i can go back at it in a way that i like to experience life. good post lindsay.

    • lindseynobles

      Thanks Spence.

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    Lindsey, you’re precisely correct. Social media is all this on both sides of the “why.” But I also think it’s that way because our relationships are that way too. Namedropping, posturing, and “how am I coming across” all play a role in our fallen facades, you know? Thanks for your honest admission of how we all feel. :-)

    • lindseynobles

      Yes. I think processing through this has helped me hone what I want to communicate and share on my platforms.

  • Amanda Jones

    Social media is such a readily available and public platform for our best moments and for our flesh. I love it a lot more than I hate it, but there are times when I have to take a break. I can tell this when everything I see and read offends me. One thing that ruins it is all the requests to promote this or that. It’s endless. And now when someone recommends something I feel like they did it because they owed somebody a favor. I’m kinda jaded on that. It’s hard to wade through all of it.

    • lindseynobles

      A good word. I think a break is what I need. I’m totally jaded at this point.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    I’m still loving it but that’s likely a result of the boundaries I’ve set, in terms of how much time I spend on there, who I follow, and what topics I avoid. I’m also trying to be more mindful of how present I am when with friends. It’s OK to share a picture but then I need to put the phone away and give them my full attention.

    • lindseynobles

      Great boundaries. Maybe that’s what I’m missing. Something to work on.

  • erik

    BRILLIANT.

  • http://www.puttingthepencildown.com/ Lindsay Morgan Snyder

    I heard one time (and I LOVED it) “you can use a brick to break a window or you can use a brick to build an orphanage” and that is my feeling about social media. I think it is all about our motives (and checking those with ourselves can be sobering), defiantly a great thing to think about it.. Thanks for the article..

    • lindseynobles

      so true. so true.

    • Sue Miley

      Love the brick visual!

  • Karen Yates

    Yes. To all of it. Amen. I am wondering lots these days about sacred spaces — where are the sacred places with just me and God without a watching world? I’m concerned about fueling the soul (not just my own soul, but the souls of others), being in creation and doing more listening, less consuming. It is hard to be ‘present’ online when you are present elsewhere. I don’t think it’s all bad. I just cannot seem to find the balance. meh.

    • lindseynobles

      great thoughts karen!

  • Tam Hodge

    I have been guilty of parading and, also, feeling left out. Neither of which I am proud of. I have felt it disheartening as of late, too. It’s something I struggle with a lot. And you put it all into words perfectly. You convicted me and challenged me.

    • lindseynobles

      You and me both. You and me both.

  • carrie smith

    Ugh. Yes to every last bit of it. It leaves me dissatisfied with my life sometimes, seeing all the amazing things other people are doing or how God is using them. It makes me a little jealous that I’m not being used “that way”. (In all fairness, God must be shaking His Holy head:”girl, get off pinterest and out of your comfy sweatpants and see what I can do with you.”) What used to be a fun, mindless activity is now a giant time suck and quite honestly a bit of a stronghold. I think anything we can’t walk away from for a reasonable amount of time is perhaps something that may have too tight of a grip on us. I’m totally convicted on this. Thanks for being one more way God is getting my attention on this manner.

  • Jenn

    I have been feeling much the same way lately. I deleted my FB account this week and it was like a breath of fresh air!
    I loved it all at first – having a way to be connected. But all it did was take time away from connecting with those who truly mattered- those in my own home. It takes time away from my time with the Lord. It takes time way from creating because all I was truly doing was chatting with FB ‘friends’ about what I hoped to do…instead of taking the time to DO.

  • Bianca_J

    Are you blogging again? I might just have to loose my breath ;)

    PS: I was wondering how you were going to discuss this topic and–as always–you spoke with clarity and honesty! XO

    • lindseynobles

      Haha B. One post at a time. :)

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

    This is one reason it has been so hard to get back into blogging. I hate the relentless self-promotion. I also hate feeling like i need to read 100 blogs and promote them all and then comment on all of them to drive traffic to my site. It’s exhausting! But when I try to get back into it, I tell myself that this time, I won’t care about any of that, but I do.

  • jwolstenholm

    Lindsey, thanks for expressing what many of us are too afraid {or too busy tweeting} to admit. It’s exhausting sometimes to see that closely into so many lives. It can be fun for a time but then it just gets discouraging and overwhelming. The tension between posting and being too busy to read other posts and feeling guilty that you expect others to read yours but how could you possibly read all their’s…ack!!

    Give me a good old fashioned coffee convo any day!

    Thanks for starting this conversation and causing us to pause and consider our boundaries and motives.

  • http://www.anointedwithgrace.com/ Allison

    Agree, agree, agree! As so many others have said, you expressed exactly how I’m feeling about social media. And my poor, neglected blog…. :)

  • claire

    i am so with you. I’m so over the internet.

  • michellesarabia

    Love it…love it…love it!! So glad that you wrote this. Wasn’t sure how you were gonna put it all together but you did it beautifully friend!

    I’ll take a coffee conversation with you any day.

  • http://tikesbestfriend.com/ Tim Dahl

    Yeah, I feel the same at times. I guess part of it is the interaction. That keeps me coming back. I connect with family and friends. Some is just fun. Twitter is fun for me. I think we get to choose to be playful or not. We can’t choose the feeling, but we can choose our action. FB or tweet something silly…SOON!

    Tim

  • jamieivey

    I feel the same way some times … It’s hard b/c these days social media is huge and it is a connecting point, but sometimes before i post i think … am i trying to show off? will someone feel left out?
    on another side, sometimes i want to post something, but i don’t b/c i don’t want people to think i’m bragging. know what i mean?
    it’s all complicated!

  • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

    Yep. Well said. Turning off all alerts (fb, twitter, email, all of them) was my first step and I haven’t gone back.

    I used to think I’d miss the stuff that matters. But I don’t. I’m reading this post, right?

  • http://www.runwiththebiggirls.com/ Julie Shreve

    Yes.

  • Brandon

    Thank you, Lindsey.
    I know a lot of the initial thoughts when I read something like this is to say that we need watch our motives, that it’s not good or bad on its own…but it’s built around our desires to be known. And out desire to be known is easily swung towards selfishness and toward putting on our masks…the difference is that we have to put on such broad masks for social media because the audience is so wide. So, we have to look our best for everyone on order to manipulate the widest swath of people into thinking what we want them to think.
    That is why we need to be careful with it…to always put the focus on others and how we can build them up rather than us.

    Thank you for sharing this. For always pushing us forward.

  • Monica

    I also enjoyed social media at first. . .then I started feeling this way as well. I had been feeling God say it is time for a social media fast and reflection on how I want to proceed while keeping my eyes on Him.

    Great post!

  • http://www.timschraeder.com/ Tim Schraeder

    PREACH!

  • Brittany Leigh Steiger

    Amen sister! I’ve been feeling like a left-out-tee a lot lately… I completely agree…too much parading! Anyway, I’ve given up twitter, almost entirely. I’m thankful for insta, though….otherwise I’d have to send baby pics to all our fam who are Cali peeps! I do my best to post things with pure intentions, and not to make others jealous or feel left out….

    Boundaries are so key- If there’s a moment I want to catch (while in the middle of something), I’ll pull out my phone, photograph it, and save it to post later. I’m trying hard to retrain myself to be intentional in the moment. (We have to be really conscientious at home…and often fail.) thanks for the reminder friend!

  • Christa Sterken

    So glad to read this. I didn’t care much about social media at this time last year. Didn’t even know much about it. Then through various writing classes, it is heavily promoted to engage in all of it. I DO love the connections with people. I TIRE of all the self promotion also. There are tons of great people I follow because they are giving, interesting, thoughtful or fun. Too many seem to just promote one thing after another. Sometimes I have been guilty perhaps as well? Well, it’s just not me. I share something that might be interesting. But is the bottom line really so shallow, that in order to be a successful blogger for example, I have spend all of my internet time reading, commenting, promoting others? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those things too… but the message almost feels like if I DON’T do these regularly, that it doesn’t matter what message I share. I don’t want to just pat your back and you pat mine, you know?

  • Alia_Joy

    I totally get that feeling. I have felt on the outside of things and wondered at all the pandering for platform and connections and the list of supposed to do’s that make me want to curl into the fetal position and rock myself back and forth whilst babbling incoherently about tweetable quotes and pageviews. And there is ugliness for sure. SO many flares of temper and graceless words volleyed back and forth in the name of Christ and righteousness wrapped viciously in 140 character tweets. But I wrote a post a couple weeks ago- God is Online- it was my love story with all things bloggy and social media related. In it I wrote of seeing the hand of God move through twitter and blogs and yes, even Facebook, believe it or not.
    I think boundaries are necessary with anything but I think for me, I more love than hate it and would love to see it used to make much of Christ and less of us. Myself included. Sorry for hijacking your comments with a mini-blog-post. I tend to be a tad verbose, which is why I rarely comment.

  • Tish Young

    I loved this rant. This made me stop and think back a ways. I first started “Facebooking” because my Dad was ill and I was able to connect quickly to family members from both sides of the family. It was really fun for me to connect with cousins I had gotten estranged from because of distance and everybody’s Big Old Lives. After a long day at the hospital, I could come home and post a quick update on my Dad and my aunts and uncles and cousins appreciated it. I literally started with twitter to follow our fave Nascar drivers and that was really fun for us, but now I have found lots of twitter feeds from women who are doing amazing things. Also am following NASA and that just is exciting to see. AM careful about what I post. Have to have my say every once in a while. OK, that is my sermon for the day.

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  • http://brandonacox.com Brandon A. Cox

    Yup! Yup! So with you Lindsey! I started using SM out of curiosity and met amazing people. Then it somehow became work. What’s helped me is taking time to intentionally reach back into the lives of people I really know via Facebook with encouragement and to reach out to people I don’t know yet on other platforms in a personal way. I’ve begun to think of it all as a communication medium instead of as a brand-building platform. It’s helped, but it’s still not like it usedta be!

  • http://www.kylechowning.com/ Kyle Chowning

    Recently, there’s been a lot of conversation around the “why” of what we do. It’s a big question and it has to be answered. I posted on my blog recently that the words “I don’t know” can stop everything. They are frustrating words that cause us to dig deep; whether that’s in restraint or soul searching.

    The “why” of social media has changed because the culture of social media has changed. It used to be easier to connect because far fewer people believed and therefore used it. Today, the adoption curve puts Twitter, Facebook and soon-to-be, Instagram, in the middle of the adoption curve, which means that those of us who got a taste of it back when it was still new, are ready to move on.

    These thoughts are normal and worth every weight you give them. Social media is a majority/late majority service in terms of product lifecycles.

    Personally, I ebb and flow on the use of social media. Right now, I’m diligently trying to build my “platform” to something that it’s currently not. The reality is, social media is a free driver of traffic and newsletter subscribers. While this isn’t my sole “why,” it weighs heavily in the motivation I have to keep engaging.

    For what it’s worth…Kyle

    • http://www.hansschiefelbein.com Hans Schiefelbein

      Well said, Kyle.

  • http://selfevidentsupermom.blogspot.com/ Emily P.

    Great post! I feel like I’m in the same boat. I tend to get myself into ruts at different times with social media. I’ve found changing around who and what I follow seems to help. I’m finally getting back into Twitter again after a lull for a few months because I was following just way too many people, it was overwhelming.

  • http://www.djchuang.com/ djchuang

    I use social media the way I’ve always used it, and that is to NOT chase the numbers, and keep it all about people, relationships, and conversations, then it’s not work, a chore, or a letdown.

  • Leah L. Austria

    I have been on a FB/Twitter/Insta “fast” for about a month now for almost identical reasons to what you have shared. While it’s challenging me to go back to making a stronger effort to maintain my relationships the old fashioned way (no more FB birthday reminders – ahh!), I’m enjoying more purposeful screen time, catching up on my reading and of course more fully savouring the moments with my husband and kiddies.

  • britnih88

    Recently I was really, really low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this.. – vtvd