I do social media for a living, and not just in the cheeky sense where I’m admitting—with a wink and a grin—that I use it too much. I mean that social media pays my bills. It helps put clothes on my children’s backs and food on our table. It allows me to take my wife on dates. It’s what I punch the clock to do every working day.
Also, I really dislike social media.
Sure, there are the standard reasons involved. It takes up too much time. There’s too much drama. People are crazy. It’s shallow. It distorts reality. Cyberbullying is awful. But it’s more than that. It’s more than all the external reasons. More than all the ways I can complain about how others use it or how it affects them.
The real reason I dislike social media is for what it reveals about me.
Not because it reveals a whole lot of my personal details to the world (though that’s certainly something), but because it exposes things in myself—my heart—that I’d rather not have to sort through.
My ego. My insecurity. My desire for external validation. All of that (and a few more things, too) are continually exposed in me when I use social media. In spite of practicing “safe” social media use, in spite of trying to limit the time I spend with it, and in spite of my best intentions—it still reveals my brokenness. It still calls me out on the weaknesses I haven’t let go of yet.
I don’t particularly like being called out, especially by non-sentient constructs.
It’s uncomfortable to begin to discover these attributes of mine still lurking beneath the surface. I don’t like admitting that my ego gets too easily tied up in my perception of my social media “performance.” It’s unsettling to see how my insecurity bubbles to the top when the social media tides aren’t rolling in my favor. It’s irritating to have my heart exposed when a lack of validation leaves me feeling a little cranky.
I dislike social media because I don’t like realizing that I don’t have myself all together. I dislike social media because I don’t like admitting that significant parts of me are in need of a significant overhaul. I dislike social media because I don’t like being held accountable for making the necessary changes.
The good news for me, though, is that we don’t always have to like the things that are doing us some good. I’m not overly fond of fish oil, but my doctor tells me it will do me some good on account of a long family history of heart disease. Fellow Plugged In blogger Paul Asay may say he doesn’t particularly care for running, but I flat out hate it. And good sense (and my doctor) tells me that it will do me (and my family) quite a bit of good if I stay in good health.
Of course, there isn’t a direct correlation between social media and fish oil and exercise. I don’t need to prescribe myself more time on social media in order to cleanse myself of the personal ills it exposes in me. In this analogy, social media functions a lot more like your favorite primary care physician: He/she/it can be quite amazing in the right circumstances, but you don’t really want to find yourself spending too much time together.