Social Media is like a Trip to the Grocery Store
I often feel like getting on social media is like taking a trip to the grocery store with out a shopping list. I hop on there with an intention of doing something, and am completely distracted right off the bat. It’s like when I’m at the store and am going up and down the aisles, trying to remember what I need, impulse buying items that may be needed purchases, but a lot of the time, it’s just the junk- like a bag of chips or gallon of ice cream. Then when I get home, I realize I went out to buy the chicken for dinner that night, and completely forgot to grab it. I forgot my purpose. Do you do this? What makes it into our homes from our social media trip? Do I really want a dose of comparison and chunks of lost time to go with my bag of potato chips?
A few weeks ago I watched General Conference. It’s a 2 day spiritual conference put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints for everyone in the world who wants to listen, in pretty much any language you can think of, to help us all get closer to Jesus Christ.
In this recent conference there was a session just for women and girls ages 8 and up. During that session we got to hear from our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson. President Nelson gave us 4 invitations in his talk, to help us grow closer to Christ. The first of those invitations was to hold a 10 day social media fast. During this time, we were to take a harder look at the other media we engage in as well: movies, blogs, TV, etc; and only take in what really uplifts us.
At first, I thought - how am I ever going to do this when I have an online business?? I’m not being very affected by social media! But, I’ve always tried to be as obedient to the prophets as I can, since I believe they are the mouthpieces of God, and I love the Lord. As I pondered about it, and counseled with loved ones, I felt impressed that I still needed to run my business online during this fast, but very minimally, and completely shut off myself off from my personal accounts for the 10 days. I had by boys help me with some of the business posting, and answering of comments. It actually was really great for me to be able to teach them more about what I do, and that I’m not just sitting on my phone or computer entertaining myself.
I learned several other things as I went through the fast. First, I was a lot more addicted than I realized. It was crazy how many times during the day I sat down, and would have the urge to start scrolling. When I had these urges, I tried to instead satisfy it with reading my scriptures. Instead of listening to my normal podcasts, I also filled most of that time listening to the scriptures. And friends, the eye opener for me was that I got through hundreds of pages of scripture during my fast. I was shocked at how much I could fit in during little snatches of time through my day.
Another huge blessing that came from the fast, was the opportunity the extra time gave me to deepen my relationships with my children. It was like I had been awakened out of a fog. Especially with my 1 year old. This was the biggest surprise for me. We snuggled and played more than we ever normally do. It was amazing.
The fast is over now, so what’s next? How do I keep that same perspective and how to I regulate myself? I found the answer for myself during a podcast I recorded with Kirsti Clark and Melisa Keenan, about their experiences with their own social media fasts. Melisa posed a question to us to ask ourselves, “When I get on social medi, what do I want to experience?” That was huge for me. She continued to talk about how a scary part about social media, is that we give over our control of what we take in. We open up the app and are bombarded with all kinds of information good and bad and never quite know what we are in for. She suggested we make sure we go in with a purpose. What a different way of going in, compared with me mindlessly scrolling. I loved that so much and I really want to incorporate that.
Another thought that stuck with me was from Kirsti. She talked about where our intentions are when we are checking in on the comments on our posts. Are we looking for connection? Or are we really looking for validation? Are we gauging our self worth through these comments or lack there of? It made me really realize, I do not want to be looking for self validation in that kind of environment. I want to please the Lord most of all, and how He feels about me should be how I measure my worth, not what other people are saying.
So I think next time I hop onto social media, I need to be more intentional, like when I head into the grocery store with an actual plan. I think I need to start making a social media list for myself. The reason I’m going on, and what I want to get out of the experience. Go listen to that podcast. It was so powerful talking with those incredible ladies.