Discover more from The Way I See It by Marcia Ramirez
For better or for worse...
How our connection to social media affects us and those around us
Whether we like it or not, I believe that social media in some form or another is here to stay. Oh sure, it might change formats (remember MySpace?), but there is too much money being made off of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc… for the online connection sites to all just disappear into the twilight. Trust me, some days I wish they would. Navigating social media can be very hard. We have to learn how to use it wisely and not let it get the better of us.
I was just reading’s recent post, Knowing When to Unplug about this subject. She makes some excellent points on how to know when maybe you need to step away from social media, or really any app that might be taking up too much of your headspace. She talks about the “information overload” that happens when we spend too much time scrolling through social media. From ads telling us what products we need to buy now, influencers showing us the latest greatest trends that we need to jump on, news that may or may not be accurate, or finding out what our friends and family are up to - it’s all right there in our social media feeds and truthfully, it can get to be too much! Our brains and bodies aren’t designed to take this much information in all at once. We get overwhelmed.
“We tend to get stressed when we’re overwhelmed, and we get scared when we’re confused. Both stress and fear are often expressed as anger. This is the root cause of much of the conflict we see tearing up society and trending on Twitter. We see people reacting in fear and frustration rather than patience and logic.” - J. Greenberg
Greenberg recommends 4 questions to ask yourself about your social media experience:
Is this building me up or wearing me down?
Is this making me wiser or making me worried?
Does this information improve my life or distract me from my life?
Am I using social media, or is social media using me?
I think those are very valid questions. I especially love the second one, “Is this making me wiser or making me worried?”
Unfortunately in a recent poll, many people say that their main source of keeping up with news is from social media. That is a scary thought! No wonder so many people seem to be living in deep fear these days! Look, I know that there is a narrative that we can’t trust mainstream news sources, but I have to say that in my experience, at least with the main three networks of ABC, NBC and CBS, the news I’m getting has proven to be pretty darn accurate. Maybe they spin it slightly, but I don’t find that it’s done in a way to skew the actual news stories. In other words, I’m not seeing news reported there that I later find out to be false and I’m not barraged with doomsday predictions that never come true. I’m just not seeing it. You know where I do see it? Social media posts! Social media allows so much false information to be spread around, scaring the bejeezus out of many people. The fear mongering is out of control right now. You may not find a lot of faith in mainstream media, but if you think cousin John on Facebook has all the facts right, well… I would beg to differ with you. Don’t rely on social media for all your news. It’s really not what it was made for.
I try to have some rules for myself about posting these days. I start by asking myself a few questions: Is this true? Is it loving? Is it helpful? Is it encouraging? If it doesn’t fit into those categories, I try to re-examine before posting. And speaking to my fellow Christians here for a moment, I think we have to be extra careful about how we choose to use our social media. Ya’ll… truth matters. Spreading false information is not what Christians should be doing, and yet I sadly see it being done constantly online by people of faith. I’ve never seen a group of people that love to rile each other up with false narratives more than Christians in America.
Brené Brown talks about the bonding that happens called “Common Enemy Intimacy”, which I see happening so much in the Christian communities. They bond over who they all hate (this week it seems to be Bud Light, Target and Biden), instead of focusing on what they can do to spread love and light as Jesus calls us to do. I’m not saying I do it all perfectly. Some days I look back on my timeline and wish I hadn’t posted certain things, but I’m trying to get better. Asking myself those questions I listed earlier really does help!
Personally, I’ve kind of learned how to manage my social media to where it’s a safe place for me. A place to share my life with people who care. A place to connect with people I can’t connect with in real life. A place to learn and grow by seeing life through the lens of people different than I am. I get new recipe ideas, travel tips, tv/movie recommendations, and other life tips. Online community isn’t the same as real life community, but for me, the two in balance is a great place for me to land.
It’s not always perfect, but here are some tips I’ve used to make social media enjoyable and manageable for me most of the time:
I view my social media pages as my online living room. It is a place where I share my life and my friends can come and post/comment to engage. If I had people in my real life living room and someone came in that started being mean to me or to my guests, I would kick them out of my house. I use that same principle with my social media. Opposing views are always welcome as long as they are done in a respectful way - but if you come in and start demeaning others or bullying others repeatedly — Adios, Amigo.
I never, ever go to someone else’s page and post an opposing view. If someone posts something that I don’t agree with - I just move along. It is their page and they have every right to post their feelings or views about anything they want to. Yes, I have the right to post a comment that doesn’t agree with them, but I found out very quickly that it’s NOT the thing to do. At least not for me. You can get crossways VERY quickly with a friend by doing that - and you open yourself to getting attacked by THEIR friends who agree with them. I promise, you better have thick skin if you want to go into “enemy territory” with your opposing thoughts! LOL If someone I love posts something that I find offensive or disturbing, then I have found that the best way to handle it is by calling them up and making a coffee date to talk about it in person. That way, your views can be expressed without the other person being embarrassed or angered by you calling them out in public. Trust me, stay away from starting a conflict on social media. It’s not the way to handle a disagreement with someone you care about.
Unfollow or Mute people that post things that put me in a bad mood. Sometimes I unfriend, but that is rare for me. It can be people I know or even people I don’t. Trust me, the “unfollow” button should be your best buddy! They don’t even know you unfollowed, so no hurt feelings are there, and you can always go see their page if you want to interact. They just won’t show up in your feed first thing in the morning when you look at your socials.
Keep my follows manageable. Sometimes I follow people for content, but after awhile I realize their content isn’t serving me any longer. I periodically go through my follows and pick out several to unfollow because following too many people at once creates the “overwhelm” for me. Too many gurus. I can’t take them ALL in ALL the time. It’s kind of like when you are buying clothes. After awhile, if you don’t throw out the clothes that don’t fit anymore, you have a huge mess in your closet and can’t find the things that are useful. Eventually you have to give away some of the clothes that you don’t wear anymore. Our closets only have so much room and it’s the same with our brains. Clear out the clutter! (Emily P. Freeman has a great (and short, only 12 mins) episode on her The Next Right Thing podcast that’s titled Stop Collecting Gurus. Check it out. Very helpful!)
Take breaks. This is a big one and definitely one that I struggle with the most — because I do LOVE social media. I love checking in with friends to see what they are doing, where they are going, what they are cooking, how they are feeling - I can check in with many friends quickly that way. I can’t possibly call them all and check in that quickly. It’s a great space for me, especially when I’m traveling and feeling out of touch with my friends/family. However, taking breaks is really good for your mind and spirit and I’m going to work more breaks into my scrolling this year for sure. It’s important to do.
Make sure you have your privacy settings set to your comfortability. I go back in forth, sometimes opting for public posts and sometimes for friends only. It just depends on my emotional status as to how much I can take from strangers commenting and how much I have to give to interact. Either way is fine. It’s your choice - just be conscious that when you leave your posts public, anyone can see your posts and anyone can comment.
If you guys have more social media tips, please put them in the comments. I feel this is a form of contact and communication that will forever be growing and changing right before our eyes, so learning how others manage it is super helpful for me. If you are one to struggle with social media, I hope this post has been a bit helpful for you too. I really believe anything in this life can be used for the greater good - as long as we learn how to use it properly, for ourselves and for those we love.
In closing, social media should be FUN! It should be a place for community, learning, sharing and supporting. If that’s not how it feels for you, I hope you can make some changes to make it that way. Maybe even consider narrowing it down to only one form of social media. Managing more than one can be stressful for sure. Social media has its downsides, but hopefully, if we all keep trying to make it a more beautiful, honest space, it will get better for us all.
Love and blessings to you… Marcia
What I’m loving this week:
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*Image borrowed from https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/social-media-how-to-use-it-safely