Last night my mom came over to see my new place and catch up on life happenings. She mentioned that she doesn’t understand how people share their lives and personal information on social media.
Um…you know I write a blog, right Mom?
Anyway, it got me thinking about how we share our lives on social media and why we do it. For some people, social media is sort of foreign. They don’t have a Facebook or Instagram account and they don’t understand why someone would share their lives in a public forum. For some people, sharing on social media is purely for family. They post pictures of their kids or write a blog to keep their relatives up to date on what is going on in their lives. For some people, social media is a way to connect with others. They use the various platforms to engage with other people who share their same interest.
My reasons for using social media are mixed. I like being able to share life happenings with my family and friends. I also like to connect and engage with people who are interested in the things I’m into. I was sort of late to get on the Facebook wagon- not joining until 2008 or so. Even then, I didn’t really understand the point. It sort of seemed like a place for people to do a lot of complaining or to snoop on their exes (still is, by the way).
Then I started reading blogs, mostly fitness and food blogs when I was searching for recipes or training plans. Then I was hooked. Then Instagram came about and it was all over. I’m a junkie for pictures!
What is it about social media that draws people in? Why do we put ourselves out on the internet for public consumption?
I think we all have a story to tell. Each and every man, woman and child on this planet has something to say about life. Our journeys are different and unique just as much as they are similar and mundane.
I share quite a bit about my life on the internet. I’ve talked openly about my struggles with food, God and relationships. I don’t shy away from writing about something just because it seems personal. If I’m going to share my life on the internet, why wouldn’t I share my REAL life? Of course there is a time and a place for fluff information and I like to share that too, but people don’t connect on the internet because you have pretty graphics or because you only talk about how perfect your life is.
People connect on social media because they see their story reflected in yours. We all want to feel like we are not alone in this world and we can find comfort in our circumstances when we see that there are other people experiencing the same heartbreaks and failures. We can also celebrate the joy and abundance this life has to offer when we experience the same happiness and successes.
I could write everyday about how to train for a race or how to cook healthy meals or how to decorate your house or style with your existing closet. And that would be great. And you would read it and maybe like it and maybe learn something. But eventually I think you’d get tired of it. You’d start to wonder if all I am was just some girl who runs and eats vegetables and owns too many clothes. The human element would be missing.
I think when I share about my life, my real life, I’m offering up a chance for you to share your story too. I’m giving you an opportunity to read my post and nod your head, thinking ‘yeah I’ve been there. Glad I’m not the only one.’
We are all in this life together. And you can fight it if you want to. You can keep yourself locked away and work through your failures all alone and maybe come out stronger. You can experience great joy and share with your family and friends in real life (which you should). But when you share it publicly? When you engage people through the internet, united in our successes and failures? That is a whole different kind of community. You may meet people you never would have had the opportunity to otherwise. You may connect with someone who becomes your best friend, confidante or even spouse. You may find that your story is a voice not only to you, but to so many across the world that need to hear hope or feel comfort. You may find that sharing your story brings others closer to Jesus, closer to forgiveness, closer to loving themselves more.
I’m not always going to share all the details of my life here. I don’t, actually. The situation between T and I is our own and sometimes that is all who need to be included. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to share about what I’m learning about love and relationships and forgiveness and being true to myself.
Because that is MY story.