The movement that took over the nation while I was in middle school. First we had Facebook… it looked a lot different back then. It was a world full of “like my status for a truth is or a picture or a video” from a bunch of people you may or may not interact with in real life.
Suddenly Instagram popped up. We shared crazy pictures, with funny faces and random things we thought looked interesting. None of knew how to selfie and we were still approaching our photos as if we were using our webcams to capture the best angle… No one had any sort of aesthetic or rhyme or reason to their page.
Platforms like Twitter and Snapchat began to grow too.
It’s been almost 10 years, and social media feels an awful lot like that lunch table in middle school we all desperately wanted to be invited to. With the girls with feathers in their hair and wearing their overpriced Abercrombie t-shirts.
Kind of a horrifying place if you ask me… but yet not many people can say that social media isn’t a huge part of their life.
From your local “Instagram Influencer” to a growing photographer, to the talented artists and entrepreneurs, to bloggers of all kinds… we’ve all come to rely on the tremendous platforms that exist to be successful.
But what happens when what unfolds on one of those platforms drains your energy? What happens when you suddenly don’t feel welcome. What do you do you encounter the side of the internet that is full of people hiding behind a screen spewing false information or simply trying to agitate as many people as possible?
You shouldn’t need to take a mental break from social media. There is something so inherently wrong with that concept. Yet, every day I see someone new posting that they’re taking a break… These are people who’s businesses and livelihoods ride on their social media platforms… And they need a break.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
Since starting this blog, I’ve learned exactly where my support lies, and it isn’t in family and friends, it’s primarily the vast network of individuals I’ve chosen to surround myself with.
I chuckled this morning because I woke up to a few companies asking me to work with them to be an ambassador for their brand… Instagram is this odd highlight reel and I honestly don’t have much interest in the platform.
Sure, I use it, but it bores me. I spent a few weeks considering expanding my blog to include an Instagram… You know a place where I could share smaller updates. A place to connect with other migraine instagrammers. A place where I too could try and get perfect photos and develop this “image” to compliment my blog.
News Flash… Migraine isn’t pretty. Migraine doesn’t need a filter. And not a soul actually wants to look at ridiculous inspirational quotes that truly don’t apply to them. No one wants to see your pretend life that you’re striving to live when you’re trying to share what living with your migraine is like… And to create an entire page like that in my mind only furthers the false idea so many people hold about the condition. Instagram is a place for bright, exciting pictures for people with old VW vans and a different swimsuit for every day. It’s for sorority types. It’s for the travel bloggers and the adventurers.
And so, I share my blog in three places, Facebook – where my friends and family can follow along, Twitter – where a huge variety of individuals can connect, and The Mighty – where others with chronic illnesses and disabilities can see my story.
For the most part, you all know how I feel about Facebook… It’s a horrible place that inspired me to share my story elsewhere because family and friends were ruthless if I shared a short status update regarding how I was feeling. Now, those people have to put in a lot more effort and most don’t bother following along. But, those who want to follow along, do.
My Twitter is divided into a few subgroups, there’s football/sports people, artists, and the few people I know. It wasn’t until recently that I really started sharing my blog there, but what I’ve encountered is incredible. I’ve created a very unique feed that focuses on spreading positivity, encouragement, and beautiful things. I’ve got a lot of extra time on my hands and I’ve spent a lot of it trying to support artists and creatives in their journeys and in return I’ve found an entire group of people who care about my journey and cheer me on from every corner of the globe.
And the Mighty, is well, complicated. With new features and an expanding network, constantly being in that setting is depressing. It’s a safe place to express mental health concerns and how you’re feeling, but you can’t let that be your only outlet or you can get sucked down into the mess of it all just like other social networks. I’ve found that in sticking to my contributor network and those who interact with my published pieces I can enjoy the community without constantly feeling bogged down.
I guess, my point in all of this is that I’ve seen so many people bogged down and unable to find positive energy and a comfortable place on social media, and I wanted to express that you have total control over your media and who you interact with. Use that control.
Each platform is different. Each platform has it’s own set of standards and a different set of people who can make or break your experience.
Before you go and leave a certain platform, take a look as to what is making it impact your life and your mental health. There’s mute and block features for a reason. Take out those people who aren’t serving you and see if you find a different experience.
Last time I checked, most of us are adults… why are you still fighting for that coveted seat at the middle school lunch table.
Make your own table. Send out the energy you want to receive. You’ll be shocked to see how many people suddenly want to be at your table.
Edit 5/21/19: I have shifted to using Instagram as a platform and it was a pleasant surprise as to the other individuals who use it and how easily I can connect with them.
P.S. I’ve got Becca to thank for showing me how bright and positive social media can be. Check out her shop at SunflowerSouls.com and find her on Twitter @BeccaBoomm and Instagram @beccaboomm