22 January 2019

A feeding frenzy

I am getting the hang of this posting again and (knock on wood) liking it. Even if no one bothers to come read, it's a safe landing spot which is exactly what I need. Instagram feels too showy for my quiet heart these days and is becoming less and less about connection as it is about commercialism. Sure, I love a good dose of advertising, clever wording, neat tips and favorite new finds. The commercial-filled stories and affiliated links have become overwhelming. I've taken time off and weeded out a lot of the extras and honed in on the "influencers" I actually want influencing me. It really did run away with me the past few years. I spent so much time on Instagram and have nothing to show for it.

The other night after a big family dinner at The Porcupine, Heidi and I chatted about our love / hate relationship for Instagram and how we are attempting to break our addictions to the constant checking habit by removing the app from our phones. We were laughing at the absurdity of us scrolling down the rabbit holes; hunting and searching for more and more and more - often linking from one gram to another in hurried fashion. She responded, But what is it that we are searching for? Nothing really ever quenches it. It's so true. Nothing actually fills that strange gaping sensation.

Of course I am not saying it's all bad. I love the up close peek into how others live, the similarities and differences between us, and the quick connection to other creatively minded individuals. I've found so many fantastic people to follow who inspire me by the way they live. Sean McCabe is an interesting fellow who is a low key, motivational speaker type. (The opposite of a Gary Vee type. P.S. Gary recently predicted that Instagram will become the new MySpace and will eventually go away. I was kind of happy when I heard him going off on the topic.) Sean has created a few cool writing courses. I find his IG stories and posts pretty helpful and motivating. He listed stats awhile back, noting the differences between CONSUMERS vs. CREATORS. Sean related this to not stressing about competition in your creative field since there are so many more consumers out there, waiting and ready to consume what you are creating.

This struck me. Ever since I logged onto the shiny new Instagram app, I've (sadly) become much more of a consumer than a creator. I didn't allow the connectivity to motivate me nor have I used it as a tool in my creative process or drive - of course it has done wonders for the influencers out there. There is huge potential. It is what you make of it. I thought back to the time when I was creating on the daily and how happy I felt blogging and writing every day. Even with the non-existent wage I made blogging all of those years, I still felt productive and satisfied within that sphere. I created friends that are still lifelong, ride or die friends through our blogs. The community that you can find online is pretty awesome, if you choose them well. My whiplash of realizing all the consuming I've been doing; other people's ideas, products, ideology, methods, routines, families, comparisons and more definitely made me take a step back.

I began thinking and asking myself questions. Some, I have decent answers to, others I shrug my shoulders at. Why are we sharing so much on social media? What is the point? How is it helping? How is the consuming aspect of this getting me to where I want to go? What do I want in life and how am I going to get it? Is Instagram helping or hindering my efforts? Do I feel motivated or depleted after checking in? Am I building friendships? Am I feeling bitter towards others? Am I understanding my purpose more clearly? Do I waste time? Can I scroll without comparing? Can I become a better creator than a simple user? Is this the arena I willingly want to be involved in? Can I use it as a tool to better myself? I love certain aspects of it. It's a little bit like a pretty magazine which I've picked the feature articles for. Still, opening my eyes widely to why I consume more than create was the first step in getting un-addicted to Instagram. After a long break, thankfully, it no longer feeds me when I'm hungering for something.

I've been almost unknowingly shoveling in all that my Instagram feed was feeding me without feeding myself first. If Instagram were a trough, I have definitely played the pig. The shine has worn off and I am proceeding with caution.

1 comment:

Hil @ Simply Yours said...

Creating can sometimes be so much hard than consuming though! It takes vulnerability to put your stuff out there. I heard a quote the other day that I loved. It said, "Validation is for parking". The context in which it was used was to encourage creators to not create things and post them waiting for validation. Instead, we should get comfortable with not getting praise from people, or even worse, get comfortable with getting criticism from people. If we sit around waiting to get validation from friends, family or strangers we be waiting for 30+ years, or it may not ever even come. So, keep creating, keep writing. I enjoy your posts so much!

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