I vividly remember creating a Facebook page in 2006 - my freshman year of high school. It reminded me so much of my beloved MySpace page, minus the public best friends, COMPLETE profile customization - including a way to add music to your profile (I lowkey wasn't over MySpace at this point in my life and I'm sure it's up somewhere with some Good Charlotte playing). At the time, it was a fairly new social media (and so was the term "social media" I guess) & a great way to connect with friends. I'm pretty sure we were still rolling with dial up Internet then if that shows my age any.
Then, while I was in college, Instagram hit the scenes. I downloaded it and really thought it was just a "cool" way to filter pictures and didn't really know then that it was going to become the social scene that it is now. I love photos so Instagram quickly became my favorite platform to use. Less commenting, more pretty pictures. It's still my favorite platform today.
I love being able to see friends & family creating memories, keeping up with people I've met (or haven't met) that live far away, and I definitely love the influencer culture. I have grown a business that utilizes this amazing application to reach customers all around the world. I've sourced new brands and products straight from my phone screen. Memories from HIGH SCHOOL pop up in my archives - memories I would have long ago forgotten without my profile reminders. I can see a photo of my tiny little babe just one year ago while he naps just one room away. I've prayed for people I've never met as they openly share their journeys with their followers. I've connected with so many people I would have otherwise had no relationship with. Seriously, I have made friends on the Internet. Mom, if you read this, we always meet in a public place & I know who they are before we hang out so it's not THAT weird.
Now, I will admit, it's often hard to find a happy medium between healthy usage and the unhealthy hold it can have on our lives. I find myself mindlessly scrolling and liking (although, they don't matter anymore... right???) and falling into the trap of comparison. It's so easy to do no matter what our intentions are in using these platforms. I've Googled "how to make it look like you've got it all together" when I see a new mom "rocking it." Truth Bomb: she's struggling too. Old friends have blocked me (I know, a little crazy) and I feel the sting as I'm separated from their lives in what feels like a permanent matter. I've watched as I don't get the invite to a hangout I thought I'd definitely be a part of - but I wouldn't have even known if I just didn't log on. I've read comments that are intended to hurt from people hiding behind a screen. It's true - I've cried because of Instagram & Facebook.
So, why do I continue using it? Why do we continue putting ourselves through the little pains that add up each day? I know that each time I get on my social media I will inevitably see something I don't want to see.... and then it will immediately be followed by something that makes me happy. Prime Example: I got on Instagram this morning and saw a post from someone else with a baby Knox's age announcing that they're pregnant with Baby #2. I immediately got anxious - Tyler and I are in no way ready for a second child, but should we be? Should we be ready for another kid? Is this parenting thing harder for me than for other people? What am I doing wrong?
*immediately switches to another "dangerous" platform, Facebook, as Knox screams for his fifth snack of the day*
My grandma reacted to a photo of Knox on my story. My GRANDMA. I instantly forgot about my minor-meltdown about another baby and felt so happy (and then remembered that I need to call my Grandma later today). It's an "addiction" I'm learning to balance - both personally & for my business. I'm trying to be more conscious of my time, especially when I'm home with Knox, and aware of my feelings when I use any form of social media. Its hold is only as powerful as we let it be.
You see, these social environments can be so helpful and fun as we grow older and look back. I hope for now we can all see them and use them for what makes us happy and helps us grow personally - and focus on the good in them instead of the bad. When you get tempted to "check in" on that person from the past, instead, stop and pray for them. When you read the hurtful comments, stop and pray for the person on the other end. When you feel left out and lonely, remember there is a God that is sitting right beside you (begging for your attention). I need these reminders daily so I thought I would share them with you today. Thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you can relate to anything (or everything)!
And.... If you want to be Internet friends (or real friends), follow me on Instagram - @macknierim.
It's mostly photos of #knoxknierim but it's fine.