Thursday, September 26, 2013

has social media made you a validation junkie?



This week has been interesting.

I’m down in Southern California on a business trip with Mr. Moss and I have been taking a break from writing posts. I’ve lugged my laptop with me so I’m doing plenty of reading and writing. But I’ve been trying to disconnect from the whirlwind momentum of blogging. Do you know what I mean? I’m talking about those silent pressures to keep your blog current and to be active in the blog world. The truth is, I love reading. I love the inspiration I find out there on lifestyle and design  blogs and sometimes I feel guilty when I’m happily reading along and I don’t take the time to leave a comment.

It’s true, I actually feel like apologizing. I’m sorry I’m enjoying your wonderful post without letting you know. And sorry if I’m being selfish, if I’m being a taker in the blog world. I understand if you don’t stop by my blog in return because there’s so many others who are reading your posts and leaving delicious, little comments behind. And god knows there’s only so much time you have to return those gestures.

This is the kind of craziness that goes through my little blogger pea brain.

So this week I haven’t published one post. And part of me is in observation mode. I’m watching myself as I let the stillness settle around me.

  • What happens when I don’t constantly check my own blog, my stats, my email?
  • What happens when I don’t have a Fall post to link up to the latest popular linky party? 
  • How do I feel when I read thought-provoking posts that are followed by an endless parade of comments?

Hmm…very interesting.

There’s definitely an insecurity that comes with stepping away from the act of blogging.

A worry that I’ll be forgotten maybe? That my legion of followers (that’s a joke) will suddenly abandon me and never return? That my stats will plummet below sea level?

Funny but when I see these fears on my white computer screen they actually look irrational. Like silly little words. And yet these are the mind-bending thoughts that can rob me of my joy and turn blogging into a virtual high school. With all those comparisons. A god-awful cafeteria table with the popular girls and the jocks and the artsy crowd and the stoners and the desperation for acceptance.

But there’s something else about blogging breaks that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Until this morning when I read this insightful post and the light-bulb suddenly went on. In this post the author writes about her 40 day break from social media and what she learned in the process. First of all, you probably know this but the whole world of  social media is a slippery slope; and she did a great job describing the frenetic busyness of it all. And how easy it is to get hooked. To have that constant urge to ‘check’ something-anything—on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, her blog. She became hyper aware of the unhealthy restlessness with it all, a discontent even. It’s the feeling there’s always something better happening, someplace else. A lively party that you’re missing.


And this feels bad.

And there was something else she mentioned about blog posts that hit home: it’s the ease in which posting can quickly become a way of asking the world for validation.

“Do you “like” me? Am I special enough? Am I funny enough, deep enough, smart enough, successful enough, love-able enough? How much do you like my opinion about this, that, and every other thing?”                   

She found the hardest part of disconnecting from social media was remembering that her ‘little life’ was enough just the way it was. And that she didn’t have to always be working so hard to keep producing interesting tweets and worthwhile blog posts and how there was something healthy about the quiet space that was created when she took a break from it all.



I love when I stumble on a post that makes me think.

How about you?

When was the last time you took a break from social media?






Cathi said...

You are in my neck of the woods this week - the weather has been wonderfully cool, thank goodness! I am totally guilty of reading posts and not commenting. Sometimes I want to think about it and come back to it and then life happens. I didn't post for over a month partially because I was feeling very quiet and also because I was just living life and enjoying myself, but I've come back recently and it feels good. I hope you're enjoying your time away from home - I was just up in the Bay Area last weekend! xxoo

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

You nailed it, Leslie!

I've said before that at times blogging seems like a silly waste of time. I've meant to quit a dozen times, but instead I step away from the blog world and enjoy life without worrying about where the inspiration for my next post will come from. When I come back, I remember why I started blogging in the first place. It's a creative outlet for me. I had not a single follower the first year and yet I enjoyed the process immensely. Although it's a special treat to be "featured", in the end it's me I need to please.

Wonderful post!

Nancy said...

I check blogs for inspiration and rarely write on my own. I was just thinking today though how I feel sorry for most bloggers as they seem exactly the way you describe. I was following quite a few but only follow a handful now. I quit Facebook a year ago and don't miss it one bit. It never gave me good feelings and in fact seemed to foster the bad ones. I kind of feel like Blogland is a glorified Facebook. I have to say that yours gives me spiritual inspiration as do the others I still follow so will probably continue to follow those.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Great post, Leslie! I took a month's break this summer and didn't mind doing it one bit. For me, like Vickie, blogging is a creative outlet. I want to have fun with it. I join very few parties and post what I want to talk about. I'm not looking to be a big blogger, so I don't feel the pressure to compete...that is someone else's walk, not mine. And if I do start to feel pressure...that's when I step back and take a break!

Leslie said...

I've considered deleting my blog several times. You really need to set your own pace and try to limit social media time. Sometimes I feel I'm slipping .. and taking all this too seriously. There will always be someone that does more.. or that has more. Blogging should come from the heart and not impose stress on daily living. Blog breaks are good and important. I don't know how dome people are able to post multiple, or daily posts. It must take an enormous amount of time.

Have a nice weekend!

Unknown said...

Hello Gwen,
I just popped over to your blog to add you to my new 'blog crushes' Pinterest board. Okay-so this post had me at 'blog break'. I'm on my day off and mostly strapped to the computer. Though I did take a break for a little spa time with the essential diptyque candle. ;)
...I know what you mean. I commute and work 4 days a week at a very stressful job. I am feeling the need set big limits for myself. I only post 2 times per week (unless it's summer) and I made the difficult decision not to regularly respond to the comments on my blog. I go to the blog of the one who commented and respond there. I found I was spending so much time responding to comments and I didn't know if anyone came back by to read them. It's a balance. We can only do what we can do.....great post.
I would miss you dearly if you vanished-so don't.
xx, Heather

Calypso In The Country said...

I love reading your posts! I have been so busy these past couple of weeks with a school event that I have barely had time to read any posts and I have only written a few. Sometimes that stresses me out, sometimes I am ok with it. I really enjoy getting inspired from other bloggers but there are times when I just read without leaving a comment...probably because sometimes I read while on my iphone in line at the grocery store! But I know what you mean about feeling like you should check things all the time. It was nice being too busy so to even do that lately. I think we all need to step back and reevaluate every now and then!

Christy James said...

If we didn't have you, who would force us back to reality?! I love your insightful wisdom! I too am guilty of drinking the milk for free. ( I thought that was clever metaphor for reading posts without commenting, until I read it back lol) I love blogging. As a SAHM, this is something for me that makes me feel connected to other adults. I don't make money from my blog, so I have no real pressures or commitments. I only have to answer to me. Hope you are enjoying your break :). XOXO

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

I'm taking a break this week and it's wonderful! I'm at the Women's Fiction Festival in Matera and finally concentrating on writing instead of book promotion. A lot of my social media time is to promote work and I do find it exhausting. But I've met so many inspiring and busy people (like you!) and I feel more of a sisterhood than a high school environment. Much better!

Donna@anangloinquébec said...

Thanks so much Leslie for linking back to the post written by Glennon. Both of you have hit a chord in me.
I took much of the summer off and I was amazed at my feelings during that time, both "good" and "bad". I was surprised and disappointed when I caught myself wondering at one point why nobody was writing to me to ask where I was. In the past I had read several posts by other bloggers where they thanked all their followers for their kind emails asking where they were and if they were okay. I know that may sound ridiculous, I don't have a large blog following and I really never intended to write my blog to "gather" followers.
Your reference back to high school and all the emotions associated with fitting in can come out of nowhere for me, like a wave of nausea. You feel sick but why? I have strong associations with that reference and in some ways those feelings of needing to be accepted have made me stronger.
The "good" for me came in reminding myself to keep it real. Remember my reasons for blogging. I am not in this to make money and if 10 people read my blog post or 400 people, well, nothing really changes here in my actual life.
I think more and more the issues we will face are going to be around the choice between living an actual life or a virtual life. Right now I am working hard to keep myself in this place.
P.S. I recently went out for dinner with my niece and one of her friends. I asked that they please leave their cellphones behind. They were a bit shocked at first but by the end of the night we all agreed that we had such a wonderful time together talking that they really did not miss their phones at all. Of course when we got home they ran to check their FB pages.

Thanks Gwen as always for making me think and question my own reality.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh yes, it is so easy to be caught up in the whirl of social media. I think sometimes people miss out on real life because they are so busy trying to keep up. Or perhaps it becomes a substitute for real life. Stepping back to find your balance from time to time is a good thing!

Gypsy Heart said...

So very true, Leslie! I think social media can become a true addiction to many. I hate being with family & friends and, instead of "being" in the moment, they're checking their phones, etc.

Life is so precious and we really need to walk away from electronics for a bit and notice what is happening in front of us, right now!

I'm so glad you share these important thoughts.


Pam Kessler said...

I love the analogy of the high school lunch table. Very true.

A couple months ago I decided to not comment on blogs as often as I had. For some reason I thought if I read a post, I should comment on it. It really freed up time to not comment on everything I read. But what was an eye opener for me was that when I stopped commenting on some blogs, those same people stopped reading mine. It was sort of an epiphany to me that maybe they were not huge fans of mine after all and that they were only reading my blog because of some weird blogging etiquette.

Now I'm off to read the post you linked to. I may or may not comment on it :)

Art and Sand said...

Thanks for directing me to her great post.

1. I have been missing you and wondering when I would see a post by you at the top of my blog list

2. On 2 different occasions in September we had guests for 5 days at a time. During that time I rarely wrote a blog post and did not take much time to look at blogs. I wasn't creating anything new to write about and that was okay.

3. We were kayaking the other day and teased a woman on a stand up paddle board that cell phones weren't allowed on the water. We were surprised that she would bring it with her - take time and smell the ocean.

4. I am glad you took time to disconnect, but I enjoy reading your thought provoking posts so don't go away completely. Your fan base won't leave. We may hunt you down - I am sure there is some sort of app to find you - and force you to sit at your computer to entertain us.

Unknown said...

Ps-and by calling you Gwen I meant Leslie! ;)
xx, Heather

Jeanne Henriques said...

Ah always hit the nail on the head. It is all that wisdom that you have within you which keeps us all coming back for more and more.

With each passing year I fall in and out of love with blogging but have not let go because of people like you. The written word, the thoughts, feelings..connections have been wonderful. Every time I step onto Tahilla Farm in New Hampshire I think how lucky I am to be blogging..if not for the blog, it would not have been possible.

My mind is a bouncing ball...blogging let's me bounce, quite freely and happily. I do not post often and I do not comment often because if I am going to say something, I really want to say it. I like my quiet times too.

I am not a 'one-liner' comment kind of woman. I like to think about what I want to say and I have doesn't all have to happen every day or every week. My blog is a touch point..and I touch when I like.

I was in 'that' place years ago..that place when you are frantic with anticipation and worry about posting. I had five blogs to go with it and my life was getting stuck. Let go and you shall really works.

Now..if we were to talk about the weight that goes on when you sit around in a chair following social media...then you would get an earful from me.

I so enjoy reading your blogs Leslie..and from the bottom of my heart say.... 'Stay!'. Write a little less..or a little matter, we will take what we can get.

Jeanne xx

Carol Hurlock said...

Thanks for this wonderful post. You touched upon some of my blogging insecurities. I must admit I have taken a step back recently and just think of my blog as a place to record my own artistic expression and growth over the years. For me, it is too stressful to think otherwise!!! lol Great post.
Bear Hugs,

Monica said...

I've come by and read this post so many times(before commenting) because I love it so much, and like I've said before your words should be spread on a million platforms! I love your writing so so much Leslie. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to completely erase my blog - and this post left me with so much to think about. Although I'm grateful that blogging has given me opportunities to work from home - I miss having a space that feels completely mine. And although social media has made me feel connected to friends, family and blogging friends - so much of it is a stupid waste of time! xxx

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Great post Leslie. I can remember even 30 years ago when I was in my 20's, being so frustrated with people that couldn't commit to a plan - because it always seemed like they were waiting for something better to come along. Couldn't make plans for breakfast on a Saturday morning because, well, they might meet Mr or Miss America the night before and would lose out by having a previous commitment. Social Media makes it all worse. As a moderately unsuccessful blogger I occasionally have to remind myself that I never particularly cared what anyone thought about me before blogging, why should I care now??? Anyway, I love reading your blog and I am glad every time I get an email with your post in it.

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