Updated: Jan 26, 2020
The good, the bad and the ugly; and why it’s all a matter of perspective.
I recently took a week off the socials. I was down in the dumps and thought unplugging might help. After a week hiatus, I decided to delete my social apps and really stick it to the man. Who needs social media anyway? It’s a toxic environment, we get lured into scrolling and comparing. What a waste of time. And I am only perpetuating the problem by contributing content to scroll through!
I was completely oblivious to this downward spiral until some friends helped me pull my head out of my ass. Among them, my good friend Jen, “Well, are you looking at the world through rose coloured lenses or are they covered in shit? Have you researched the positive effects of Social Media?” I hadn’t. I was so far down in the mud that it honestly didn’t occur to me there were any.
Jen also said to me, “Do you want to challenge the world by shutting up or speaking up?”
I’ve happily reinstalled Instagram and Facebook. And here's why.
Social Media has evolved, as things do, over the last decade and more. It's become an excellent marketing tool for small business owners, it supports the engagement of youth in current events and encourages a much-needed dialogue around important socio-economic issues. It has very practical applications like real-time warnings of deteriorating weather and road conditions. It also allows us to connect on a personal level with our friends and family around the world.
I have lived in four countries and have always loved to travel. I’m so grateful for the relationships and connections I've formed with people all over the world. I live on the other side of the country from my family and the friends I grew up with. I use these platforms to stay connected. The reason I chose to sign up for Facebook in 2007 was that I had just moved back to Canada after a year in New Zealand. I wanted to stay in touch.
I’ve had some intense conversations around “the socials” recently. They often escalated to topics such as addiction, connection, depression, authenticity, narcissism, suicide, infidelity & community. They got heavy, real quick. There seemed to be a lot of mixed feelings around our online engagement with each other but one theme was recurring. Social media is neither negative or positive, it's in our relationship to it.
I spent the last two years as a social media ambassador for SkiBig3. I was thrilled when they offered me the contract and I’m grateful for the experience. I got to promote and endorse something that I already loved and wouldn't shut up about anyway. It was the perfect fit. SkiBig3 gave me access to their ski resorts on the agreement that I in return make regular posts sharing why I love to spend so much time at them. I was encouraged to be authentic and to showcase the beauty that is so unique to these mountains, my home. Piece of cake.
About 6 months ago I became a yoga teacher and chose to leverage my social media presence to advertise my classes. I am over the moon thankful for the opportunities these platforms have afforded me. No, I never had huge attendance from my own Instagram followers, but I certainly received a lot of genuine support from friends and family. One thing I did realize was that just by making myself visible online, people began to reach out to me asking if I would teach or speak at their studio, workplace or event. My success so far as a yoga teacher in my community has a direct correlation to being visible online. I have social media to thank for that. (and a touch of being in the flow of things & manifestation which deserve their own ramblings so more on that another time)
I was down in the dumps last week and wanted to be there alone. I wanted to disconnect. Somewhere along the way I had been programmed to shut people out as I process difficult emotions. It might not be my fault I've developed that habit but it sure as hell is my responsibility to acknowledge it and work to rewire it now. It's not your fault you had the childhood you did, but it is your responsibility to choose how your future plays out. Get to know your beliefs, your habits and how they are formed. Its work worth doing.