I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with social media. How many of you have decided to take a social media break at some point in the last five years? I’ve personally never taken a complete break, but I’ve certainly seen my participation ebb and flow over the years. Using social media to keep up with friends and family, to participate in communities around the world, and to even have a successful career can be amazing. But – and I know I’m not spouting off anything new here – it’s not all wine and roses, folks. I’m really interested to hear your opinions about social media and how you use it (or don’t use it). I’m also interested in hearing your tips about how to use it successfully and how you keep yourself from going crazy with it. So please add your comments and let’s get a conversation going through this blog. (Which is yet one more example of social media!)
I’ve been a somewhat reluctant adopter of social media. It took me a while to create a Facebook account. I only joined Instagram about two and a half years ago. I just created a Twitter account a couple months ago. I’ve always had a bit of an inner struggle between wanting to put myself out there and share my thoughts and achievements with everyone versus relishing my privacy and not wanting everyone up in my business all the time.
I certainly acknowledge the benefits that social media can provide. I started my Instagram account when I decided to try out quilting because I thought it would be a fun way to both archive my progress and add a little accountability to my process – it put a bit of pressure on me to keep creating. To my surprise, what I have ended up loving most about Instagram is the amazing community of quilters from all over the world with whom I’ve connected. I think that’s where social media really shines. I post a pic of my latest quilt and I receive such beautiful encouragement. Whenever I have a question about a technique, I receive so much helpful advice.
And of course my whole quilting journey began with social media by taking a class on Craftsy (now mybluprint.com). I actually loved that I could sit in the privacy of my home and try out a brand new craft without any of the pressure I would normally feel in a classroom situation with a live instructor and students. And Craftsy was great about taking advantage of social media to give that classroom feeling by allowing all of the students who had taken the class to post comments and questions, to which the instructor would always respond. I took the class many years after it had originally been posted on the site, and the instructor still answered my questions rather speedily. I honestly may never have tried quilting if it weren’t for the magic of social media.
But as we all know by now, social media has its pitfalls. I’m sure we all have our individual issues with social media, and feel free to commiserate. I mentioned above how I joined Instagram so that there was a little bit of pressure to keep creating. Well, be careful what you wish for, right? I think my main personal issue with social media is the pressure I feel to keep posting and then when I’m not creating anything new, I feel like such a failure. I can logically tell myself that it’s healthy to take time away from your craft so that you can recharge your creative energy, but then I scroll through my Instagram feed and see people churning out amazing work over and over again and I feel so inadequate.
On the other hand, I know some people end up spending more time scrolling through all of their various social media apps than actually doing anything. I’m generally a pretty good manager of my time, so this isn’t a real problem for me. But I can see how much of a time suck this can become. Thankfully there are lots of apps that help with limiting your time online. If you’re having time management issues, I highly suggest you look at the settings on your phone, computer, and tablets and adjust them to help you with that.
And while social media provides so many resources to try new things, it can sometimes be overwhelming. You see so much amazing work online, and then you think, “Man, I will never be able to do that so I just won’t even try.” If that’s something you’re having issues with, I really, really, really hope you’re able to overcome those thoughts and just start making. We all have something unique to offer, so please don’t let us suffer by not being able to see what are sure to be your beautiful creations!
And of course one of the worst aspects of social media is the bullying. It just sucks. If you have control over the content you’re publishing online, you can police the comments so Internet trolls don’t get to post their nasty BS on your site. Unfortunately, you still have to read the comments before you decide to approve or block them. It just sucks. If your content is being published on a larger site that allows all comments to be published, I just advise not to read the comments. Self-care, people. Don’t let the trolls get you down. Man, they really suck.
All that said, I do believe that social media is pretty frickin’ amazing. While I do suggest you practice self-awareness when it comes to spending time and energy online and with all your apps, it’s really such a wonderful way to learn and grow and connect with pretty cool people from around the world. So, hey, how about you connect with me and let me know your thoughts about all of this!