I’m gonna be real honest here. I’ve been having a hard time with social media lately.
It honestly all started when Milly was born. Before I had a baby, I swore that I’d never be one of those annoying moms who posted a million terrible photos of her kids all day long. (Sorry, moms… it’s just how I honestly felt.) But when she was born, I had an unexpected reaction to social media: I immediately became super protective about sharing her with others. I wanted to keep her all mine in real life, not to be cheapened by likes or comments. I just wanted her all to myself, and I became a protective mama bear. It solved my problem of not over-sharing, but then I found myself paralyzed when I did want to share.
Meanwhile, all of these beautiful fine art film photographers only started posting film on their insta-feeds: a beautiful balance of portraits and details all within the same color scheme. It has almost become a phenomenon – social media is no longer “social,” but purely a business marketing tool. And I so get that! I like to follow people with pretty Instagrams. However, I felt conflicted because that’s not me, and sometimes I just wanna share my heart on insta.
So there I was, in a 4 month maternity leave, not working very much and not wanting to post baby pictures very much either. When I went back to work, all of my priorities and loves and inspiration were a mishmash, and I didn’t know how to share anymore.
Here are the thoughts that constantly ran (and often still run) through my head:
Am I over sharing? Am I becoming that annoying mom? Who cares what people think! This is my life now and I love Milly and want to share her with everyone! But I want to protect her, so I’m not going to post this one. This one is just for me. This is weird. I’m being weird. I’m a mama, but I still want others to think I’m business savvy. I’m over thinking this. Will I still book weddings if I’m not posting only-film-jaw-dropping images like all the other “fine art photographers” out there? I need to post consistent images. I need to filter my feed. I don’t care about my feed! I want to be me and post what I want to post! But that’s not wise with business. What the heck am I doing.
Most of last year, I found myself completely stuck. I cannot tell you how many times I started an instagram – photo complete, comment complete, and then I just never posted it. I couldn’t ever tap the share button. To be honest, I’m still feeling a little stuck now. I’ll go days on end without instagramming anything, and then I’ll get super inspired and have a posting party. I would fast from social media to get my mind and spirit right, (and to be more productive), but then I could never get back in the groove with it.
I also wondered if I should separate my “business” from “personal” accounts. Several of my good friends have, and they love it. I have thought long and hard about it, and I am a big fan of boundaries, so I really considered it. But ultimately for me, I came to the decision that 1. it’s more work and time than I really want to invest and 2. If you follow me, you’re gonna have to follow all of me. Not just part of my life. I want to be free to be me, and while I do love pretty feeds, I like following people who share about the real ups and downs of life more.
This is kindof stupid, right? To put this much thought into social media? I digress…
After realizing this was a “thing” I started reading and searching and looking around me for answers.
I read this blogpost by Michelle Gardella about Instagram and wanted to yell PREACH! Michelle wrote about one time when someone recognized her from her Instagram… “And then I felt a huge bolt of shame wash through me, as this woman walked away, because in real life, we aren’t as awesome as we are on instagram. I felt shame for being real life us…” It’s true and really sad. I’ve felt that way too. There have been a few times when people have recognized me from my Instagram account and I look… less than. One time it happened one the side of a mountain while I was camping and smelly with no make up. True story. But I’m realizing that people love to connect with REAL, not perfect. So reading this blogpost makes me want to break all the rules and just post whatever I want – my real life – all the time.
I’m constantly inspired by my friend Lara who has beautiful, healthy boundaries with social media, and for the past 3 years has not looked at it on the weekends. She makes me want to do the same – not post on weekends, and incorporate it into part of my work week.
I’m also inspired by my friend Jess Connolly who speaks truth and life through her Instagram, all days of the week, whenever God tells her to speak. I love the truth that she has to share. She makes me want to do just that. To not be legalistic but to be free to look at it and post whenever I want. Jess inspires me because she does not fight against the current of technology in our culture, but instead rolls with it and preaches Jesus in that place. Her Instagram and blog were huge sources of ministry and inspiration to me when I was on maternity leave.
I realized after watching all these women and reading their thoughts and living out my own confusing feelings, I had to come up with SOMETHING FOR ME. I couldn’t do all of these things because they were all slightly different. I needed some sort of direction, where I can find a peace and a purpose.
So I decided, as part of our Christmas dinner as an NRP Team, we would sit and hash out and write down our own personal Social Media Mission Statements.
It was so much harder and it took so much longer than any of us thought it would! Little did I know, every person on my team was wrestling with this in some way or another. We were trying to decide this balance – how to stay active on social media, how to take breaks, how to be professional while being personal too, how to be a light for the Lord without being preachy, how to not get sucked into the comparison trap, how to be ourselves, how to be photographers and post beautiful images, how to also be wives and mamas and believers, how to be relational, how to connect, how to make a kingdom difference, and how to get and give enjoyment and inspiration from Instagram.
After wrestling and talking it out, I finally came up with my social media mission statement. And once I wrote it out, something happened.
My Social Media Mission:
To unapologetically inspire others by giving them a glimpse into my heart, faith, business and world and what I’m currently learning in each.
As soon as I wrote those words, I felt free, and excited, to post again.
Who cares how many followers I have! Who cares how many people unfollow me. I am going to be faithful with what God has given me. I’m going to unapologetically post from now on. And I’m not going to strive about the WHAT I’m posting. I’m gonna post what I feel called to post: heart lessons and inspiration and business knowledge and glimpses into my tiny world in my tiny townhome and pretty images and messy images and whatever God wants me to post. I will take 2 whole days off of social media each week, to refresh my mind and spirit. Those two days might or might not be the weekend, because often times I work on the weekends. That’s for me and God to know and we’ll take it one week at a time.
Friends, I feel like I’m still learning here. I feel like sometimes it’s a weakness in me and sometimes it’s a strength. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I really do feel like it’s toxic.
But the purpose of this blogpost is this:
To let you know that you are not alone.
To encourage you to dig deep and find what your social media mission statement is.
To set healthy boundaries for your fullest life.
To not swing to extremes (deleting all accounts v. spending hours on it each day) but instead, to follow God’s calling for you in it.
Do you ever struggle with these feelings? Have you ever written a social media mission statement? If so, I’d love to hear it in the comments!
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