I'm hoping to sort a bunch of jumbled thoughts that have been floating around in my head around through writing this and I also really can't wait to hear what you have to say on the subject.
Let's talk about social media.
Social media and blogs have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can recall signing up for Facebook as a sophomore in high school...11 or 12 years ago? Later in high school I tried out blogging and began to read tons of blogs. As a freshman in college, I signed up for Twitter and started watching lots of YouTube videos. Somewhere along the line, I signed up for Instagram. I tried Snapchat out years ago in college and didn't like it, but re-installed it and have really been enjoying it this year.
Those are pretty much the essential social media platforms I can't imagine life without. A few years ago, I slowed down on most of them. As soon as I graduated from college, I began to use Facebook 99.9% of the time for the groups and rarely update anything on my profile. I'm on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat daily but don't necessarily post on there daily. I watch YouTube videos daily. My blog reading has significantly declined since having Zoe because I'm not the biggest fan of reading blogs on my phone and am rarely around a computer during the day.
Even though my posting on social media is limited, I'm on it all. the. time. After reading about how dramatically giving up blogging or social media has changed people's lives for the better, I started to think more about my time spent doing those things and honestly I'm really struggling to figure out what feels best for me.
I don't want Zoe to see me attached to my phone or computer for hours throughout the day. But I also appreciate the connection and friendships that have come from the digital world.
I'm certain everyone has struggled with finding the balance between living life in real time and sharing it with others while enjoying what they're sharing, too.
This past Lent, I gave up being on my phone except for answering calls or texts while I was with Zoe. It was hard. The temptation to just step out of what was going on in my life and into someone else's life was there and I gave in many, many times. I've realized that I usually open up social media around Zoe whenever I "need a break" from whatever is going on in front of me...usually when she's acting fussy. Whenever we're having a great day or weekend as a family, my phone isn't even around half the time--we're just living life and enjoying each other's company. It's hard to even remember to take a picture of a memorable moment because I just want to be living in it. So what I'm trying to say is that for me, social media clearly can be a form of escapism and I just don't want to be living like that anymore. I don't want to "escape" from even the sucky parts of my life.
I'm trying to figure out what kind of system would be reasonable for me at this point in life. I don't want to say I won't be on social media just when Zoe's awake because I don't want to spend all of my time bouncing from platform to platform whenever she's asleep or I have some free time. I've already weeded through what platforms I really enjoy and try to regularly purge who I follow. I listened to a podcast recently where the hosts kept talking about how snarky Twitter is and how it really isn't a good place to hang out. I used to looooove Twitter but have slowly realized I prefer info-tweets with links over status updates (even though I definitely post them myself). But then I think about all the information I consume on Twitter and how yes, it's interesting, but is it really a priority? Do I really need to read about the new Starbucks drink or can I just learn about it when I'm at a Starbucks? I also use the favorite/like/whatever it is nowadays button to "save" tweets I want to come back to when I have more time to read or reference them. But...I rarely get around to that. So Twitter has pretty much become something I scroll through aimlessly.
I love Instagram because I'm definitely a visual person. I find pictures with microblog-type captions to be great little snapshots into the lives of others. I'll reference activities for toddlers and meal ideas. I even mostly like the new update everyone thought would be the worst thing ever. When I make an effort to post pictures regularly on Instagram myself, I love looking back at my week in photos.
Snapchat is another way to peek into someone else's life that I think is so cool and interesting. I really appreciate the way some people put their stories together and find myself on there a lot. The one downside is that since you can't see how long a story is...sometimes I'm watching Snapchat stories for way longer than I should be, especially when it's jumping from person to person. It all feels very hectic and unintentional. Most days I just watch what other moms post because they're usually doing the same type of things I'm doing and it makes me feel connected. Kind of lame, but true!
And then there's Facebook. I just can't with it anymore. It was super fun in high school and college and I love having pictures from those days on there to look back at on occasion but now it's just not my thing. I do love the groups aspect of it, though, and have a hard time saying bye to Facebook as a whole because of that. I get most of my crunchier advice on there and love looking through the local buy/sell/trade groups, too.
I think I'm going to try a little experiment where I seriously limit my time on: Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and even blogs. Since I'm more concerned about the time I spend on these things when I'm with Zoe and not in my "free time", I might take YouTube and blogs out of that limitation since I tend to do those things when she's asleep...but as I mentioned earlier in this post, I don't want to just binge on those things the WHOLE time she's asleep, so I'll have to think about that a little more. I also think I'm going to go back to checking my email morning, afternoon, and evening. I have such a bad habit of checking it probably every 30 minutes. There's really no point!
I really would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. It's something I foresee struggling with for years to come. In the near future after Lily is born, I'm sure I'll be tempted to be on my phone or watching YouTube or TV 100x more because nursing nonstop. I'd rather be reading or just taking the moments in so we'll see if I can set up some reasonable limitations then.
I totally don't think setting limitations is even necessary for everyone. If you just know what a comfortable balance is like for you and your family, that is seriously great. I'm just learning that limitations can actually be helpful for people like myself who have addictive personalities.
I'll be sure to report back with my findings of this experiment. I know this might sound like it goes against everything I talked about, but I like the idea of using Snapchat to talk in more depth about what I'm posting or giving updates, so please find me on there if you're interested! And I'm always looking for new people to follow...even if I don't watch your stories every single day ;)
You can find me (sometimes) on...
All handles are @thesweetwonder :)