Blogtember Day 8: The Internet Influence

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Challenge: Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.

I can most definitely say that blogging and social media have changed my life both in positive and negative ways. Blogging has been more of a blessing while social media has impacted me a bit more negatively.
Through blogging, I like to think that I’ve found my voice. It excites me to finally have a space that’s truly mine and something I can share with the world. I love having a creative outlet that allows me to exercise my passions and document my life at the same time.
I feel good at the end of the day when I’ve been able to put together a post about something that I care about deeply and it feels even better to have people respond in such positive ways. Even if there wasn’t a single person reading my posts, I think I would still love to blog, but having such wonderful feedback from so many inspiring people from all around the world is incredibly validating.
I like that I actually have to put thought and time into each and everything I write, unlike the constant dribble of Facebook and Twitter. Honestly, how many meaningful and significant things can you say in 140 characters or less?
Blogging has taught me to be patient with myself. It has helped me to reign in my perfectionism and allowed me to write more freely without stressing over every little sentence and punctuation mark. I now care more about what I’m saying than how I’m saying it. Expressing the feelings I have or the stories I want to tell have become more important than worrying about how many mistakes I’ve made. In this space I get to be me and people don’t have to read it if they don’t want to. The ones who do, make a choice to come here and I appreciate them so much more for it.
Social media, on the other hand, has become more of a bad habit than something that enhances my life. 
It may seem like a wonderful thing to be connected to your friends and family whenever you want - especially those that you don’t see often or those that live far away. But in reality, I find myself getting so caught up in what everyone is posting and trying to absorb everything about their lives that I forget to live my own.
Most of the time, the things people post are not even that interesting. I don’t really need to know what your cat is doing or that your boyfriend brought you breakfast in bed or that you’re at the airport waiting for your flight. Yet for some reason, I continue to check these updates because without them I would feel like I had missed something or I was somehow “out of the loop”.
Social media has also caused a lot more disappointment in my life since it became part of my everyday routine. For a while I would wake up every morning, scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and start my day feeling pretty crappy after seeing all the awesome stuff people had been doing while I had been wasting my time sleeping. (I know. Ridiculous. But it was how I felt.)
I would constantly compare whatever I was doing to the pretty pictures my friends were posting, wishing that my life would suddenly be more like theirs. Why can’t I live in New York City and go to swanky restaurants and drink mimosas all afternoon? Why doesn’t my boyfriend bring me flowers just because he was thinking of me?  I wish I could afford those $600 Jimmy Choos!
Then, I read an awesome article that Jenni had posted a while back about social media called “Instagram’s Envy Effect” and it really hit home with how I had been feeling. It made me realize the source of my unhappiness and its roots in social media. It’s easy to feel bad about your life when you constantly compare how you are living to the “highlight reels” of your friends. Ten to one, when they are sitting at home alone on a Saturday night in their PJ’s eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, they’ll be comparing their night to yours, too.
The point is, I’ve learned that it’s important to remember that social media is not your life. It’s great to connect with people, but there needs to be a balance. Having all that information at your finger tips can be a great and powerful thing but it’s essential to take time to “unplug” and live your own life once in a while.

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