Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dear Linda : : I'm Struggling with Social Media

Welcome to two new monthly features that ended up being rolled into one big post for their grand debut!  Dear Linda and blogheart join forces this month with one reader's important question.  
And don't miss the giveaway at the end!

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Dear Linda ~

I see you're not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.  How do you manage your presence in this online world without the use of social media?  I'm really struggling with the whole social media thing lately so I'm really, really curious on this one.

~ Weary in Illinois

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Hey Weary ~

Join the club, friend!  What looked to be a good thing has left many otherwise sane people exhausted, frazzled, and overwhelmed.  And yes, even anxious or burned out.  Because out of control social media use is like a constant spinning of plates that never ends ...


Bottom line?  The huge unspoken emphasis on numbers and the approval of others can be a toxic blend.  That constant striving and comparison can very easily leave us feeling 'less than.'  Excluded.  And feeling like we'll never match up to others.  Or belong to the 'in' group.  Kind of like junior high.

I hated junior high.

Honestly, I've never have been all that interested in social media, probably because I was spending more than enough time blogging.  I've always had to fight getting addicted to the whole thing.  If I had started adding social media stuff, I would have been sunk.  Period.

Also, I'm severely technologically challenged, so mastering yet another online gizmo would have been more than I could handle.  My eyes glaze over just thinking about it.

I know that all the blog gurus keep jumping up and down about getting your name out there, increasing your subscribers, gathering friends and followers, building your platform.  But I find that whole emphasis to be an exhausting striving.  Like that guy getting crazy with the plates. 

After all, there's only so much time and energy to pour into one day.  And there is a great big life to live out there that has nothing to do with fingers dancing over the keyboard.


Instead of managing my online presence, I've intentionally focused on 3 simple basics.

1.  Publishing 2 - 4 posts a week.

2.  Offering invitation to relationship by replying to comments left on those posts.

3.  Connecting with those writers at their online homes. 

Building community in this space and then getting to know others on their home turf has become a simple 3 step goal that's doable, rewarding, and in no way frustrating.  I've met alot of amazing writers along the way ... and some have become friends and prayer partners.  And that I love.

: :  TO DO  : :
Grab an index card for each social media community you've created. 

Write the name of each on one card.

Spread them out in front of you. 

Look at them one at a time. 

How does each one make you feel?

Does this venue make you smile, energize you, fill you with gratitude?

Or do you feel drained just looking at it?

Our emotions are not a good decision-making platform, but they can inform us.  For example, it's good to pay attention if Facebook makes you feel envious.  Or if Twitter frustrates you.  Or if Pinterest leaves you feeling discouraged.  Whatever.

If one of your social media hangouts is not filling your cup, if the expectations of your presence there have been disturbed or dashed, consider taking a one month break from it.  If after one month you're feeling stronger or saner, you might want to consider simply dropping it from your radar.

And if you love one of these link-ups and it's working well for you, you might want to step it up a notch by creating a mission statement so that you know why you're investing time there and what the benefits are.

It really is ok to re-evaluate your many social media options as you move ahead.  What works for someone else may not end up being your cup of tea, and that's just fine!  Who you are now is most likely different than the person you were when you set up your current connections.  Seasons change, life happens, what we need evolves.  That's all a good thing.

Invite God into those ongoing conversations.  He's got the most amazing way of giving us discernment when we ask.

And then ...

Most important?  We need to be getting our strokes, our affirmation, our identity, our kudos from who we are in Christ.  Not by our numbers, likes, friends and followers, or the opinions of the crowd.
Francesca Battistelli sings it best,

I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name

I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name


Praying that God will give you the courage to throw off everything that's become a burden and is hindering your journey forward, online and off ... so you can fully grasp and embrace who He has for you to be in this next season.  


How do you navigate all the social media opportunities out there?

What's working well for you?

And what's not?

The first reader to comment on this post will receive a FREE
30 minute blog coaching session by phone.
Check it out!


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Dear Linda is a brand new monthly feature!  I'm responding to your questions with
some encouraging insight ... or maybe a bit of straight talk!  Relationships, ministry leadership,
life balance, homekeeping, or other random challenges?  Let's put it right on the table. 
Keep in mind that I'm a board certified pastoral counselor and a certified life coach ...
not a doctor, lawyer, biblical scholar, or licensed mental health professional.

Go ahead and email me a question or two right now!  
If your note is used, your question may be edited for space or clarity.

&

blogheart is another new monthly offering!  We'll be going behind the scenes of our writing,
past the numbers and the how-tos, and head straight to the heart of what we do and why. 
The best part?  A FREE name-it-and-claim-it blog coaching session is given
to the first reader who leaves a comment. 

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if you're a social media fan, I invite you to share this post with your tribe.
the links are below.

i'm sharing the discussion with Mary & Holley


50 comments:

  1. I cheat Linda. I don't do any social media. I know as a pastor that is or may be the unpardonable sin :) , but I just don't want or need that much attention. Nor do i want to have that time-sucking possibility so I just close that door and don't even open it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't sound like cheating to me, Bill! Sounds like you've made a choice that for you is sane and smart.

      And 5 minutes after posting? Looks like you're the winner of a free blog coaching session. Shoot me an email at Linda@CreeksideMinistries.com and we'll line it up.

      Congrats, man!

      Delete
  2. I think this is great advice. We all struggle with this and I really needed to read this today. It's about following HIS will, not the latest trends, or worrying about how many comments, shares, etc. come our way. Love this: "there's only so much time and energy to pour into one day. And there is a great big life to live out there that has nothing to do with fingers dancing over the keyboard."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Nicki. I continue to wrestle with how much time I should spend online. Especially in the frigid winter where it really is just too cold to be outside.

      I'm trying to be more purposeful in doing what I need to do and then shutting the laptop down and being on my way. And that can be hard.

      I'm glad you're here.

      Delete
  3. I do feel like my presence in social media - FB, Twitter and Pinterest can be like spinning plates, Linda. I think that's a good analogy. But I also avoid getting my strokes from any of those platforms. When I do, then I feel even greater depletion. I have to say that FB has opened up a new way to stay connected to some women from my church. I've formed two FB (private) groups where we pray for our husbands and encourage each other in our marriages. There are 14 women in each group and yes, I manage the groups so it can be rather time-consuming. But I'm learning some shortcuts along the way and feeling like it's so very worth all the encouragement it instantaneously can give any woman who pops in--myself included. I am looking for ways to take a plate or two down, but for me, there's too much positive going on in the social media world to walk away from it. I totally respect and can see that social media is not beneficial for your life and purposes. Different strokes for different folks! And as Jeff Goins says (loosely), it's when you stop focusing on the numbers or the followers or whatever that you see God deepening and even expanding your own platform. Thanks for your vulnerability and wisdom in this post, my friend! Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. AAGGHH!

    My long winded response just vanished into thin air! I told you I was technologically ignorant!

    Anyway ... thanks, Beth, for showing us how FB can be used in ministry, in connection, in Kingdom building. I love hearing about these praying, supportive communities. We need to soak in these good stories about what God is doing online.

    And right you are ... there's no one right way to navigate this. We each have to figure out how to best use what's out there in ways that are healthy, sane, and Christ-honoring. You've always modeled that for me, for us. And I am so grateful for the wisdom you live out ...

    Thanks for being here, friend. As ever, you've added to the conversation around the table. I so appreciate you.

    ;-}

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent advice here on how to deal with social media. Of course that's what I expect from you, Linda! Thanks for reminding us it's about relationship, not reputation. Some social media I love; some I just can't get into (Pinterest rarely does it for me!). :) Thanks, friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got a little Pinterest account that I share with no one. It's just a few random shots of appealing rooms and vintage stuff, seaglass and cool quotes that speak to somewhere deep.

      I do nothing with it, except add more pics here and there. I completely forgot about it when writing this piece.

      What does that tell ya?

      And yes, yes, yes to 'it's about relationship, not reputation.' That quote's a keeper, Lisa.

      You are, too!!

      ;-}

      Delete
  6. Face book is the only social media I do and probably would not do that but for our ministry that is how most of our missionaries contact us. Facebook and my blog is enough to keep me busy. Great advice Linda.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. What a huge blessing for those who live and serve at the ends of the earth. I remember those days of the blue air letters, that thin sheet of paper that took weeks to receive and was just about our only communication with those who lived across the sea.

      This is when we praise God for technology, isn't it, Betty! Thanks for this golden reminder.

      Blessings to you, to them ...

      Delete
  7. I am only on facebook, and it is my personal account. I agree, it is better to develop relationships. And always invite God in! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're so right, Sarah. God cares about our relationships, how we show love to others, how we do life together. He's very much a part of this conversation, isn't He ...

      I'm so grateful!

      Delete
  8. Well you know I'm just loving this. Reading and re-reading and diving into comments too. Oh, how I need this discussion. Oh, how grateful I am to you for sharing your wisdom, friend. I am grateful for YOU. I will be back for more! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the discussion around the table's the best part! Kind of like, 'let's eat dessert first!'

      Super insights right and left. I love this tribe!

      ;-}

      Delete
    2. Wonderful conversations going on here, friend. Feeling encouraged!! xoxo

      Delete
  9. Love the monthly "Dear Linda" idea and how you handle social media. Boy can it suck you in! I know I need to reevaluate my own habits and how I can step back and unplug. It will take some major work. Keep in mind I enjoy it most of the time but I could definitely be spending part of my time in other endeavors. Love the conversation. Hugs friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've nailed it, Mary! We can be sucked in to this whole thing if we don't stop here and there and evaluate what we're doing and why. I love hearing what works for some ... and doesn't for others.

      And then I get to figure out what's best for the life I'm living.

      So glad, as ever, that you're sifting through it all with us, friend ...

      Delete
  10. Love the "Dear Linda" section. Interesting and good advice, different than just responding to comments. I do not do any social media. I am technology challenged and I know I would become a stalker if I were on social media. Not worth even attempting it - I didn't even have 3 minutes to watch the spinning plates! That lasted only for a minute, than I had to do something else!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sisters, both terribly technologically challenged. Yep, that's us!

      Sigh.

      Must be the gene pool, huh?

      But wait a minute. Isn't Mom the one who's mastering a brand new laptop at 84? What happened to us?

      I know you're busy, Mah. And I always, always appreciate it when you take time to leave a few words. Now ... back to work!

      Love you.

      ;-}

      Delete
  11. Thank you Linda. I only do Facebook and everytime I think of doing anything else my brain freezes. I could almost let it go were it not for my kids (and the grands pics) on facebook....especially the one "child" and his wife - well, it's how i get to see more of their life. He's the youngest one! I have "unfollowed" a lot of people as I have so many as "friends" that I do not really know, but they were business connections. It seems when you accept a friend request, it defaults to "following." since I have unfollowed a lot, I don't see as much, but I have to be careful because it then becomes something to do.

    there is more I want to do with my blog, but again, being in this season of just being and breathing and finding my way again after an intense season of caregiving, I am not in a place to be focused there except to post when I am "moved" to do so. . I love what you have done in this space and when I am ready to focus on this again, you are the one I want to talk to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I love that you've purposely chosen to rest in this season after such a difficult period of life. I so admire that ... and we'd probably see a whole lot less burnout if we took your wisdom to heart.

      I'm grateful that you continue to be active in this community, for you bring so much to the table.
      Be at peace, friend ...

      Delete
  12. I agree social media can be overwhelming and a huge time drain! I do love Facebook and am beginning to learn the ropes on Twitter. I've actually been able to develop some deeper relationships on Facebook and have had opportunity to minister deeply to some long-distance friends through Messenger, which has been a huge blessing. I do love how social media keeps us connected to far-flung friends and family - but it's a balance to keep my time focused in the right places. Wish I had more time for all of it (writing, reading, keeping up with online friends)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I know ... those 24 hours a day fly by, don't they? But I love how you've had this opportunity to minister through Messenger. What a great joy, what a blessed gift.

      Thanks for sharing how social media is working in your life, Kathryn. I'm so grateful you've stopped by and joined in the conversation.

      ;-}

      Delete
  13. Well Said, Friend! /we are on the same page with this one. I am out there--but cannot figure out where there is!!!!

    Happy Mid Week My Wise Blogging Friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for linking up to Creekside in your post on gossip, Lulu ... good conversation there ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  14. Hi Linda! (Love the pic of you at your laptop, btw) When I left my first blogging platform, I had to start over with Wordpress. My son, tech guru that he is, set up a FB and Twitter account for my blog. And the love/hate relationship began.
    I love FB, I can be a little sillier there, and just put out a thought I like. Not that crazed about Twitter. I know the mixed feelings about getting your 'name out there' vs. personal relationships too. I did have to make some decisions about how to manage my time, and to make sure I maintain those blog-relationships.
    As I investigate getting published someday, I see the push by publishing houses to have a 'platform'. A large presence on social media. Sigh. Yep. Dilemma....
    I don't know if I'll ever figure it out, but it's good to read your perspective and start pondering my own more deeply.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday!
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point about that push for platform by the publishing houses. I remember talking to one young photographer who was told by a prominent shelter magazine that she needed to have 200,000 hits on her blog before they would even consider looking at her.

      Sigh.

      How I admire you and all those other writers out there who are heading toward that goal of publishing. You not only have to be creative, but tenacious, too. My hat's off to you, Ceil, and to others in this community who are living out their dream to be published. Keep your eye on the prize!

      And know that I am cheering you on!

      ;-}

      Delete
  15. Hi, Linda. I have made my decision to focus on other things as well instead of just blogging all the time or going around on the internet aimlessly. I've focused on building relationships with other bloggers as well.

    I wish you all the best on your new goals. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And getting to know you in recent months ... so thankful that you are here, Ms. Lux! This is what it's all about!

      ;-}

      Delete
  16. This is so refreshing to see! I boggle at the idea of taking the time to "connect" in so many different ways, so frequently, as people say you "have" to. I use a Pinterest page to post links to things I think are interesting, but I hardly ever look at anyone else's Pinterest. I'm not on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Reading and commenting on blogs, and writing my own, takes so much of my time already--but I enjoy it very much, whereas I don't see much I would enjoy about spending more time on social media.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boggle's a good word. Yes! And I'm quoting you here, Becca - 'Reading and commenting on blogs, and writing my own, takes so much of my time already--but I enjoy it very much'

      You spoke my heart! So glad you're here.

      ;-}

      Delete
  17. Very good tips! Much food for thought. I confess, I don't even know enough about all the social media options to know how I feel about them . Other than confused. ;)

    Donna
    visiting from Coffee For Your Heart

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure ... it all can be a bit overwhelming. I'm just grateful to be doing the blogging thing.

      And welcoming you, Donna!

      Delete
  18. Ughhhh!! Facebook is ruining me but I have to be on for work. I love the way I can reach people about our library's programs but then I get sucked in and my self esteem plummets. I have to find a way to set boundaries and stick to them. It's just so tempting to troll around and see what my friends are up to. Trying to just get on and do work stuff and then get off but it doesn't always work out for me. Need prayer!! It's a daily struggle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thumbs down to those people / places / things in our lives that cause our self-esteem to head downhill. Thumbs up to those people / places / things that lift us higher, remind us how priceless we are, and how crazy God is about us.

      I hear you, Val ... praying right now that those boundaries will become good friends for you. I'm so grateful that you've jumped into this conversation today. You matter.

      Delete
  19. I'm getting tired and frustrated with the social media also. I still tweet, and I have my Facebook page and G+ profile. But I'm downgrading the time I use in them.
    Social media might bring readers and numbers but it doesn't really build a community.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for jumping in on the conversation, friend. And welcome. Your thoughts matter and I hope that sharing your frustration has eased it a bit and allowed you to embrace what works for you in this season.

      Blessings!

      Delete
  20. I think we've got to know ourselves, and we've got to know what we hope to get out of social media. I really don't do a ton, but I do find it helps me keep up with close friends of mine such as my small group at church.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. These words you wrote, Loren ... so good -->

      'we've got to know what we hope to get our of social media.'

      Yes, yes! Wise guidance from your pen to this page. I'm appreciative ...

      Delete
  21. I LOVE this!! Social Media is the black hole of time. I honestly wish I had never gotten started. I've always like the community that blogging brings. I have made some great friends and connections. Like you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'The black hole of time.' I didn't know whether to laugh ... or be very sober when I read those 5 words. I think a whole lot of people would agree with you, Alecia.

      Profound, you are ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  22. Thanks Linda. I love your tip about growing your blog in simple steps. Social media is a crazy world. You cant be everywhere at one time. I just stick to very few and spend less time there. Blogging is better I read up and learn a lot from other bloggers.
    God Bless Linda.

    http://purposefulandmeaningful.blogspot.com/2015/01/can-god-count-on-you.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hit the nail on the head, Ifeoma, when you wrote that 'you can't be everywhere at one time.' So absolutely spot on! We get to choose what we do with those very limited 24 hours a day ...

      And yes, I'm with you in that we sure do learn from other bloggers. The conversation this week has sparked alot of thoughts that needed to be spoken out.

      Delete
  23. I'm so excited about both of your new features, my friend! I will have to think of a question to email for Dear Linda :). I absolutely love that you don't do social media. My respect level for you grows to new heights every time I visit you. In all honesty, I waste a lot of time on various social media accounts. I have twitter, pinterest, and google plus for the blog and facebook for my personal life and a Bible study group. I'm scared to do your index card activity which definitely means I need it. Thank you for this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grab those index cards and have fun, Candace! It could be just what you need to clear the decks so that you truly resonate with the time you spend online.

      Please let me know how it works out for you, ok?

      ;-}

      Delete
  24. Here I am again. The great conversations continue! So love this Dear Linda idea. You are wonderful, friend. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The conversation rocks!

      You, too! I'm glad you keep coming back ... the welcome mat is always out!

      ;-}

      Delete
  25. Hello Linda. Another fabulous post! Those lyrics are so inspirational, and right on point for bloggers especially. Sometimes you can get caught up in online metrics of success...views and whatnot. But at the end of the day, for me at least, blogging is about inspiring others, spreading positivity, and creating community....which by the way you do oh so well. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that the best song for us right about now? When we finally begin to grasp who we are in Christ's eyes, all that other stuff fades away.

      Good riddance to those 'online metrics of success' defining who we are ... I think we've all had just about enough of going that route.

      So good to see you again, friend!

      Delete

Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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