When was the last time you saw something on social media that truly stopped you in your tracks? Aside from my clear-ice-making journey when someone pointed me to the beauty that is Disco Cubes, it was this week when my friend Darren shared a thoughtful piece by Nick Murphy about what we choose to post on social media.
In Nick’s words:
“I like to always keep at least one or two things that I’m proud of offline.
They can be small.
I even found that after a while the thing can grow and becomes a treat for yourself that has never had to be watered down and transmuted into 1’s and 0’s.
The internet is brilliant and infinite but it does not do depth the way our real worlds do.
To distribute is to dilute.
It also raises the question If everything we care about is presented online how do we know whats really for us?
I would encourage anyone from time to time to do some things that make you feel and let it live where it began; within our immediate reality. No further.
Not ALL thing are worth translating.
And some things are actually worth more when left to their own place.”
Nick’s words left me speechless. While I have zero social media game plan for what I post, I do have a habit of sharing big life moments and important thoughts before I’ve even had a moment to celebrate internally. Even more, some of this news hits a random person I don’t even know before I tell my closest friends. That random person hasn’t earned the trust or access that it’s taken years to establish with close friends, so why am I choosing to tell both parties at the same time? I was left considering why I share, what I share, and as my friend responded in the caption: “Some things deserve their own space and exclusivity. Not everything needs to be on social media.” Amen, Darren.
I quickly recalled a pre-Covid dinner catch up I had with a friend where she asked how I was doing. I told her that I was really struggling with finding my purpose in my work at the moment, and was trying to figure out dating and my stance on kids. Do I have them alone? Via surrogacy (endometriosis could make it hard)? Or have I reached a point where it’s not the option I thought it was? It was a particularly heavy time, personally. Her response, “That’s definitely not what you portray on social media; I would’ve never known.” I was taken back by the comment because I don’t share everything there, but in her eyes, I’d been open about mental health, dating, work, etc. that she assumed if something was really important to me, I’d share it all.
That’s not a good assumption. I hope we know by now that social media is a sliver of what’s actually happening in our lives, and even more, we’re so complex that we can’t assume one happy post means someone is okay, nor is one post about feeling down truly representative of the larger picture or their truth. We should never expect someone to share it all — it’s not our life.
Thinking about Nick’s post even more, I tried to recount major wins or celebrations where I didn’t share it on social media. I’ll be the first to admit I LOVE validation and celebration, and the excitement that comes from a great picture with a funny caption. It’s not often I choose to celebrate myself — and I mean really celebrate myself with affirming words or choices — and keep that celebration all to myself. Heck, I have even shared breakthroughs in therapy on social media and with the world, and while I LOVE that talking about therapy helps normalize therapy, maybe I can keep some of that for me and those really close to knowing my heart and struggles intimately.
Seeing Darren’s post and Nick’s words came at the right time. I was just about to embark on a month-long social media detox for September as I wrapped up a work project, and completely log-off, until I realized that’s actually not what I need. What I need is a reset on how I choose to use and engage on the platform. I see so much good that comes from social media — new friends, projects, education, inspiration, and movements — and that’s the space I’ll continue to engage in and be a part of.
Here’s what I’m asking myself before posting until it becomes my default:
- Does this need to be shared, or can I keep it just for me?
- Am I contributing thoughtfully or adding more noise?
- Does someone need to hear this before a stranger does?
- Am I looking for kudos? Have I given myself kudos first? Listen, we NEED to feel seen, so zero shame in the thirst game, but something I’ll consider moving forward
- Has everyone in the post approved of you posting? (Maybe we had a private moment that they want to keep private.)
- If I’m looking for connection to others, what other ways have I tried to connect?
My goal and hope is to keep more of my personal life truly personal and that special moments and humans have, in Darren’s words, their own exclusivity. There is beauty and power in keeping some things just for yourself, friends.