THE past few weeks have been a internally very challenging. For many reasons, not all of which are worthy of writing about here, I have felt drained and somewhat heavy. Despite most every day offering some or new skill to master or piece of knowledge to absorb, it has been a time of internal reflection and ultimately, of needed re-adjustments.
As you might be aware, Kyle and I recently launched an Instagram profile, a Facebook page & the Farmstead Journal to share with others our super humble, messy and novice beginnings of a homesteading journey.
I have lately found myself increasingly discontent and dedicating degrees of myself to social media outlets while ignoring the unavoidable internal question (once again) if social media expressions are actually sustainable for me. These new social media creations are not bad unto themselves, and I do enjoy elements of them...however; it also, unfortunately, all costs our family something we value very highly: TIME.
As I have always found to be true: social media is a strange beast of it's own kind with it's own unique good and bad. It can be useful AND it has the ability to very quickly steal our time and attention. And, not just time and attention in and of themselves but time TOGETHER as a family and attention given to the real human beings in our lives.
The floodwaters of social media's pull toward unproductive mindsets is strong & it's endless and potentially insidious requests of time investments may not ultimately pay we think it will. The promise of some type of "successful" social interaction is never quite achieved (though it is "tickled") and because of this it can perpetuate the drain on us even further.
It might sound like I am very much making a case against social media use. But I am not. As is simply (and impersonally) the nature of non-human sources of social interaction, disappointment with the promised outcomes is highly likely.
So maybe a new perspective of social media would be helpful.
Realizing that social media is just that--a type of media--is important. AND, in a less charged way, it is simply not human. Now it can be released from being something it is not, nor will ever be. We are the "benefitters" in this scenario.
It is necessary to release social media from the expectation that is will ever be a soul-nourishing place to meet a need for relationships.
It does not, nor will ever, be a replacement by itself for living connection and fulfillment of relationship with others. We all know this and yet this may be what we continue to ask of it without really acknowledging or realizing it. Thus, setting ourselves up for disappointment.
I am slightly chagrined to admit I have done this many times.
On the other hand, social media CAN facilitate the initial potential for relationships to develop. It just can't ever be those relationships itself.
And that is okay. It is not meant to. It can be valued for what it is and released from what it's not.
Kyle and I started sharing our personal journey to make connections and build community, not for popularity, prosperity or for "likes & follows" (though admittedly the current pull toward those things is strong and ingrained deeply in our culture's psyche).
Being the one who primarily handles the engagement of our social media I have had to take a step back recently and pay attention to a nagging and creeping frustration and the potential soul-draining nature of these outlets. I have had to stop and refocus what it is we want (and what is realistic and healthy) in using these platforms for developing human connection.
It can be easy to be "driven" by social media's glittering promise of some golden social potential. We get it. And truthfully there is real marketing capability for businesses in our modern social-based media...especially Instagram. Being on the road to a home-based business this makes it all the more naturally complicated.
But, is trying to live up to some expectation set by our culture toward another form of image-based popularity-driven context for sharing our lives worth what it can costs us if we are not aware and clear of our own purposes for using it?
Social media can be a very useful tool... or it can be an bottomless pit. It can be a means of making connections and promoting a worthy business endeavor or it can be a sharp knife that cuts away at our time and energy no less quickly and heartlessly than other forms of media or entertainment.
I don't want that loss for our family.
When I look at the real reasons we do this; why I specifically will choose to continue to engage in the social media thing (and how to keep it healthy for us) it is for the following reasons:
It has natural limits and it's mystic is unfortunately its greatest stumbling block. If social media can be taken out from behind this mystical veil and shown for what it simply is: a computer-based algorithmic-driven non-human tool...then it can be released (as can we) and used wisely and well for just that purpose. As a tool for greater connection potential.
Beyond it's very unmystical potential of pre-arranging a possible connected however, the responsibility or onus of true and living connection with real and non-computer people lies with each of us alone (or rather to not be alone, I suppose).
If we feel lonely or disconnected, no manner of social media with EVER fill that need or void. Even as an introvert (maybe especially as one), finding and making social connections is one of my greatest challenges. This is even more true in this season as we settle into a new state and learn to live in a place where we know almost no one very closely.
Kyle and Athena
Welcome to our Farmstead Journal. We warmly invite you to read along as we share the day-to-day successes and road-bumps we encounter as we learn organic farming, pursue our search for our own land and our passion for homesteading, plant-based/"veganic" eating and growing, simplicity and our continual journey of learning and growing as a family!