I’ve been on social media since AOL first came out with AOL Instant Messenger. I signed up for Facebook long before it was accessible to businesses, and I’ve jumped on more “latest and greatest” bandwagons than I can count. There is something in the way God created me that makes me see the inherent value in tools that connect people around the world, and an ability to fearlessly figure it out as I go.
I spent a large chunk of this past weekend answering questions about Periscope, for example.
But as much as I love social media, blogging, and the latest and greatest, I’m learning that there are many, many things I’m more than happy to try – and some things I’m simply not willing to do to gain followers.
I know, for example, that large numbers of followers look impressive to publishers and people who control exciting opportunities for influencers – but I’m not willing to show inflated numbers because of spam followers. If you follow me and you post things that are gross, rude, or overtly sales-y, I will block you.
I also know that there are a few things that make blog posts and videos go viral. But I’m not willing to use this space for controversy, gossip, negativity, cat videos, or exploit my child (no matter how cute I think she is) to gain followers. My cats are anti-social anyway, and I want my 3 year old to play freely, not worry about whether or not she has to pose for mommy’s next blog post.
Maybe I’m just really bad at self promotion. Maybe I would have had more than 200 email subscribers in 6 years if I’d done some of those things. Maybe I should do more, hustle more, strive more and then maybe those opportunities would be offered to me. Maybe I’d make some money from blogging.
But I’ve considered the cost, and it’s not worth it.
I want to build authentic, inviting community. When I look at my social media platforms, I see people – not numbers. And when I write in this space, there is something beautifully freeing to be able to write what I want, when I want, when God asks me – without wondering if it will bring in enough engagement to make money.
Don’t get me wrong – I know and admire many women who have been much more successful at blogging and social media than I will ever be. Engaging with large numbers of followers comes as easily to them as the latest & greatest social media platform does to me. Finding ways to monetize their blogs is fun for them and necessary for their families, and I love watching them in action.
But it’s not me.
And the longer I blog and the longer I spend time in social media, the more I value the importance of being ME. Authentically me. Flawed, full of mistakes, horrible at self promotion me. A jack of all trades but a master of none when it comes to all of this. But goodness, I still have fun doing it.
I get to love what God has created me to love.
That is my gut check when advice and opportunities come along. That, and a few questions – if I take that advice…:
- Will I still love doing this?
- Will my family get to do what they love to do without feeling like they live in a photo shoot?
- Will it make me look like something I’m not?
- Will I be striving in my own power or obeying an opportunity God has gifted me?
At the end of the day, I will always choose people over platform. I will choose my people – my family – over social media growth. And I will choose you – each of you – and the message God puts on my heart to share over the popular & potentially viral choice.
What are your gut checks? Do you have boundaries when it comes to growing the space God has given you online? How do you balance well meaning advice with your own personal preferences?