Before You Read This – Read This
Yes, I fully realize the irony in having shared this post on my social media channels. I did not write this with the thought that I have all the answers. This was written to share my heart, and that heart is for real-life interaction, for less of the electronic world, and more of the sometimes messy, always beautiful everyday life.
When I share on any social media channel, whether it’s a personal story or something about LGP, I want it to serve you. That’s why I’ve been asking so many questions lately. I want the stories, the images I bring to you to be things in which you’re actually interested, things that are actually helpful or insightful for you. If I’m going to do that, if I’m going to bring you real-life stories, that means sharing some of my real-life with you. So, this is not my farewell to social media, just a note from my heart about why I struggle with social media. I’m still gonna be here photographing, writing and working diligently to be your favorite photographer.
Why I Struggle with Social Media
If you’re wondering where I’ve been on social media for the last few weeks – really the whole month of June – I don’t quite have an answer for you. I could tell you I’ve been very busy – that wouldn’t be a lie. I could tell you it’s Summer, it’s to be expected – that’s also true. In reality, it’s been a mix of busy and a mix of Summer with a big mix of I’m just plain tired of all that social media entails, all that running a business requires of social media.
Why Social Media Wears Me Out
01 – It’s surface level.
I used to be a big fan of social media. As with everything in life, it must be used with moderation, but I used to enjoy it. I loved logging on to Instagram before I even had a smartphone – My mom or my sister, one of my college friends, or one of my cousin’s made an account for me, so I could log in on my computer and see the pictures my cousin’s shared of their kids. It was awesome. And I liked Facebook for much of the same reason. I enjoyed sharing pictures, seeing my friends’ pictures, and keeping up with friends and family far away. But as social media has evolved, and our phones have grown to be a much larger component of our everyday lives, I think it has actually cheapened the way humans interact.
It has made the majority of our population insincere, or exploited the disingenuity already present – a double tap, like or follow is supposed to convey how much someone means to someone else. A comment on a social site or a simple text message is supposed to suffice for real conversation. It’s apparently supposed to mean something.
The thing is, it doesn’t. It absolutely doesn’t. It never has, it never will, and it only perpetuates insincerity. These social media activities allow people to feel like they’re a part of something without ever having to put forth any real effort, letting them hide behind a screen.
02 – It encourages impatience.
In a society and culture already centered on consumerism and instant gratification, social media has only made those problems worse. As a creative business (I think this actually goes for any small business regardless of the industry) people want what they want, when they want it, they want it yesterday, and if you’re not going to give them exactly what they want and more when they wanted it yesterday, they will find someone else who will for mere pennies, if not free.
In the process, they will often verbally tear you apart as a business owner and as a human. All because you quoted them a fair price for the kind of services they are requesting. Remember that screen I was talking about? Clients and some supposed friends have used the wall a screen creates to do just that. Guys, I shouldn’t have to say this, but there is still a human on the other side of that screen!
Why do I place this on the back of social media? Well, I place it on two things – smartphones and social media. Smartphones because they made us instantaneously available to friends, family and the rest of the world at any moment of the day. Social media because it makes people think they need to be instantaneously available with our every mood, thought, food and event. Both push people towards the lie that whatever they want (disguised as need), they deserve.
03 – It’s so constant.
There is always something to post, always something to write. If I’m not writing, there is something to plan, something to answer. And, it doesn’t stop.
I know I can turn off notifications. I know I don’t have to be on social media. However, as a creative small business owner, it is, unfortunately, a need. Still, I do things in my daily life to limit my time on social media and on my phone. My phone doesn’t charge in my bedroom – I have a good ol’ fashion alarm clock. I don’t get on Facebook or Instagram outside of my workday. My phone’s Do Not Disturb feature comes on early in the evening and shuts off late in the morning. I want real conversations, real time with my husband, real. life.
If you actually see me in real life, you’ve likely heard me expound on this topic numerous times in the last year. I can’t stand social media, but it still seems like a necessary evil for business. I’m really not sure I can do business without it right now. It’s my dream to get there, to delete all of my social media accounts, but I’m not there yet. Right now, I am struggling with the role of social media in my business, among my friends, in our society. I don’t like what I see.
Why Social Media Makes My Job More Important
In some ways, I think the effects of social media I observe actually make my job that much more important. Here’s why. As the push continues for busy, to share every last detail of our lives, to be readily available increases, and as value is placed on likes, followers, and shares, I believe imagery of real life, relaxed, simple moments increases even more. Those small moments already mattered, but when everything is documented for social media fodder, I want to photograph and document as a reminder that messy is perfect, that the comparison game is ridiculous and dangerous, and that we need time away from our electronics far more than we need anything they can do for us.
Will you do me a favor?
- If this has resonated with you for any reason, will you do more than just double-tap or like the post that got you to this page? Will you let me know, and share what resonated with you – good or bad? I’m gonna be bold here, but would you consider calling/emailing/messaging me to tell me? If that just doesn’t work, email me, write me a message via Facebook or Instagram, but actually engage with me.
- It’s too easy to like a post without ever really thinking about it, and it’s too easy to dismiss someone else via social media, so even if you don’t get in touch and share your thoughts, will you please seriously consider how you use social media?
- Will you extend grace to that small business owner, that photographer, the other humans with whom you interact on Facebook, Instagram, or via text message? They don’t live to be at your beck and call. You don’t live to be at theirs. Neither of you is on this earth to live on social media. SO, be kind, give them a break, and take a break from your phone. Your actual, physical, real life, social circle will thank you for it.
Okay, I’m done.
I could write more on this, but you don’t need every single thought I have on this subject, so I’ll end with this: I did not write this to hurt any feelings. I did not write this with the thought that I have all the answers. This was written to share my heart. A heart that is for real-life interaction, for less of the electronic world. And more of the sometimes messy, always beautiful everyday life. That sometimes messy, always beautiful, everyday life matters, and there’s a good chance you’ll miss it with your face stuck in the phone. So please stop reading this, look up, and greet someone with kindness, sincerity, and joy.
Your Worn Out Photographer Friend,