I have some issues with the word happy. It’s just a whole ball of wax wrapped up in way too tidy a word, if you ask me. Let’s go with some synonyms that represent happy for me: I feel happy when I am creative, contemplative, connected, quiet, engaged (with person or book–take your pick). Those are all words I understand much better. Aren’t you glad I’m not grading your essay? Now that that’s out of the way, I have a bone to pick with social media.
Long ago, I read an article about how Facebook makes you less happy. (There’s that word again.) This article keeps popping back into my head. It says Facebook inspires feelings of jealous, envy, comparison, alienation, loneliness, and worse. In our experience with it, these things are true and a terrible way to feel connected or engaged with people you care about.
Tim decided that he didn’t want to get on Facebook at all because he was pointedly less happy with his life when he saw the (always) smiling faces of others’ lives, and he also felt resentful about not traveling as he once did. For me, I decided to convert to a family-only page a few years ago and that has been a good solution for me, largely. What can I say? I like to ramble on about my kid. When I had a larger circle than that, I consistently felt like my life was unfulfilled and lacking creativity. That’s total crap. Even now, Tim and I have a different set of social, spiritual and political beliefs than most of our FB “friends” (who are actually family members), and that can really get to me sometimes. I had to block status updates for a few, even. When social media becomes a source of angry Chi, make a change, I say. Don’t let Facebook be in total control what you see because it truly affects the way you feel. Take back the reigns of your social life and turn it into something that feeds your soul.
We keep the family FB page mainly because it’s a good place to share the blog, and Tim is bucking the system by having an anonymous page where he is only following cathartic sources (Paradigm Shift, Wayne Dyer, Gay Hendricks and the like). Literally he has no “friends” and won’t accept any, just gets the updates from these positive pages when he needs a pick me up. It works well for him. We may nix our pages altogether one of these days, and until then we will use them in the way they work for us, even if it’s weird. Take that, social media.
Let’s cross back over the Negative Nancy bridge and talk about Pinterest for a second. My Pinterest page, in dire contrast to FB, is something that makes me feel creative, inspired about my life as a writer/parent/wife/teacher/epicurean/learner, excited about places we can go and things we can do in the future, and committed to deepening my relationships through articles and wisdom that abound there. Pinterest for the social media win! At least for me. Creative energy has always been something I need to feel jazzed about life and maintain a positive attitude about the ups and downs we all have. It may seem like the biggest time waster on the planet, but I am grateful to have a free source of ever flowing creative mojo at my fingertips, day or night, in the comfort of my jammies and mom hair.
Aside from these two, we only do Instagram, which I also love. It posts the latest snapshot on the blog homepage (to the left–see it?) and it helps us capture moments that we want to share without dragging commentary into it. I love that it’s just a square little picture peek into the daily life of the people I am following. Worth a thousand words, right?