Hello! Once again, I’ve become super busy in a short amount of time after returning to school, and my writing is always the first to suffer when my free time dwindles 😦

I came across a 30 day writing challenge a few months ago and planned to try it for the new year beginning in January to reset my mind for the new year. Obviously, that didn’t go as planned. But I want to tentatively give it another try this month…

I say tentatively because setting aside the time to write every single day for 30 days may not be realistic at this point. I’ve been working on my spontaneity and as a result, things come up. Plans change. And my writing time continues to shrink.

But I will do my best. And it may turn into a once every few days sort of thing…

Writing Challenge Day 1: Five Problems With Social Media

I follow a few different types of accounts on Instagram. I follow knitters and yarn-makers who live out in the country on a beautiful piece of land and eat all organic food. I follow way too many people pretending to be their dog or cat. And I follow nature photographers who seem to be in a new place every week.

I love these kinds of accounts because they inspire me, and they remind me of my own goals and dreams for my life. But there is a fine line between admiring someone else’s life and pining after their life. A few times, I caught myself saying to someone, “Look at this lady. She gets to sit at home all day with her daughter and knit things and bake and take walks in the snow. I want to be like her someday.”

Of course, her life looks amazing. But I can see only the things she chooses to show the world. What does she do when she gets tired of being so craftsy? Because I know she does. What does she do when her angelic child throws a fit or vomits on her adorable knitted sweater? These are the things we can only know from an intimate relationship with a person, not a relationship with a screen. It’s so easy to fit a few things in an aesthetically pleasing way into a square box, and it’s important to remember there is a lot more to anyone’s life than what shows up on their social media page.

So, my top 5 problems with social media: (excluding blogging, obviously)

  1. People/places/things are romanticized.
  2. Major time-waster.
  3. Enables unhealthy behaviors like seeking attention in the form of likes and mild forms of stalking.
  4. Throws up barriers in modern relationships because of convenience.
  5. Takes away from the present.

While I do appreciate a wonderful picture, it is really easy to get caught up in the chase for perfection. The perfect angle, the perfect timing, the perfect pose–but this is unnatural. Life doesn’t happen that way, and it wasn’t meant to. And seeing wonderful things through a viewfinder, just to be able to post about it later on, is a sure way to squash your own experience.

Seeing our own face frozen in time, posted on the internet for anyone to see, is kind of a scary thing. I am a member of the self-criticizing crowd. I am that person who begs for five retakes of a picture so I have options. I am the person who hates it when people take unsuspecting candids of me. I guess I’m scared to see the unaffected side of me because I won’t have a chance to paste on my smiling face and construct a certain image.

But being natural is something we should be proud of. This is how the world sees us. This is how attachments and bonds are formed–noticing the actions, habits, and mannerisms of those around us and comparing them to our own habits.

Next time you see a picture on Instagram that looks insanely perfect, think about the situation it was taken it. Imagine the life of the photographer without using their social media page to help you. Is it all perfect angles and square picture frames? Hell no. Every single person on this earth has their own struggles and secrets, but some hide them better than others. There is nothing wrong with people who love posting to social media or who happen to take really good photos. But for the rest of us, it’s ok to feel inferior sometimes. It’s ok to post a bad picture or to only get five likes or to have missed that perfect shot. Because what you will be left with is memories, and those are more priceless than any photo.

Thanks for reading! What are your ideas on social media?