How many people are you following on any given social media platform, right now?
Not your followers, how many are you following?
Let’s do some thinking. Take Instagram for instance:
If you are following 500 accounts, 200 of them are real people (not businesses, etc.), you have no idea who 79 of them are, 140 of them have a letter in their profile picture, and 10% of the rest are hate reads, how long will it take the train to reach New Jersey?
I promise this has no math.
How many of the accounts you follow does it feel like you really know the person?
Hypothetically, you’re scrolling through Instagram, see something hilarious and think, “OMG! @whomever would love this!”
Then you think, “no, I do not need to send this to them.”
You also think, “But, they would REALLY love this.”
Do you ever have to stop yourself and remember: “Wait. Okay. This person is not actually my friend.”*
*Yes, I absolutely believe online friends can be really friends, too. But, if you are already second-guessing yourself, I’m guessing this isn’t one of those relationships.
This is where social media can become so tricky. We put these conversation starters – a share, a like, a post, an IG story, a tweet – out into the universe and want someone to respond. How often do you feel like something is posted directly for or at you?
How did you get in my brain!?!?
I sit in a windowless box nine hours a day (aka my office)…. and spend too much time on the computer and my phone.
Social media provides the windows – into another country, into someone’s home (by invitation), into someone’s conversation.
It can be good. It can be bad.
It’s all in how you use it.
What about the people you follow that post roughly 80 Instagram Stories every day? How do you feel about them?
You know the ones. The top of their story looks like this:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
They are talking to you! They want to engage with you!
They are standing in their house, Target, walking through the parking lot, talking to their phone. How much of a connection is this? Even with DMs and comments and likes, are we really interacting?
We take in what influencers and marketing and regular people show us. What they CHOOSE to show us. We don’t know it all. We don’t know their whole story.
Oh my God! Can you believe he lets his kid climb all over the car
while they are in a parking lot?!?
Ew! She clearly doesn’t care about her kids,
look at what she lets them eat!
Ugh! They are complaining again. They must be depressed –
they can never find anything positive to say.
We make such assumptions about what we see, whether we mean to be judgmental or not.*
*Sometimes we intend to be judgmental and that’s why we hate follow accounts.
So, we think we know her; we see what he really is; we know what they are, what they like, what they should be.
But, do we?
How do you feel when something you knew about a person is shown in a different light?
Recently, two separate accounts I follow, each posted something that surprised me. Honestly, it shouldn’t have, but both postings gave me pause and I thought, “Crap – now I have to unfollow you, don’t I?”
I feel everyone is entitled to their own beliefs,* but I had to seriously think about what was said or done and question if I wanted my account associated with theirs.
*Standard rule in our house is: If it’s not hurting anyone and not hurting yourself, it’s [usually] okay.
Last fall I unfollowed a lot of accounts because I was comparing, judging, feeding off the negativity, and feeling crappy.
I probably need to do another check… how about you?