I have fallen in love with social media.
In the past couple of months I have realized the power and importance behind this space that we assume to be shallow and surface leveled. I’ll be honest, I am quick to find the seat in the restaurant with the perfect lighting for when the food comes and scroll through Yelp reviews for the coffee shop who makes the prettiest looking coffee. I thoroughly enjoy documenting life through photos, filters and 140 characters but I have come to find that it is so much more than that.
If it wasn’t for scrolling through Instagram one late night, I would not have known about Yellow Co. or the amazing women buzzing within it.
If it wasn’t for twitter, I wouldn’t have been flown to Houston, Texas for a women’s conference. Social media is the hub for networking, it is the ability to cross two, three, four, five or hundreds of worlds and watch them collide beautifully reminding us how small this world truly is. These spaces are built, structured, made for more than just the pretty snapshots of our lives. They are the ability to bridge what is real and what is not, into a tangible, interactive space.
I thoroughly enjoy documenting life through photos, filters and 140 characters but I have come to find that it is so much more than that.
For awhile, I really struggled with what my “brand” or social media presence was. I asked myself a lot of pointed questions in regards to what it could entail and what it could represent. Was it me personally or was it a social media presence that was only slightly connected to who I am? I’m not a photographer per say, I’m not a musician, fashionista or founder of anything and so I wrestled with how that transcended into a virtual space. And amidst of that searching, I realized that it wasn’t necessarily about my brand at all.
As I continued to work on it, and think of ways to grow and engage via social media, I realized what I wanted to do was cultivate. The definition of cultivate is to“promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.” The way I view cultivating in this regard, is that with social media whether it be Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a website or Linkedin, you are cultivating a space either professional, interactive or personal. Yes, the aesthetics are important and yes you want to have an inviting and exciting space for people to want to come to but you know what keeps them there? Interaction. The ability to make individuals feel seen amidst all of the internet chaos.
Whether we intend to or not, our social media spaces are extensions of ourselves.
That could be our mind; what we think, what we know, what we want to learn or our heart; what we are passionate about, what we believe is important, what we love. These extensions of ourselves are the parts of story that we want people to see, to explore to be a part of. One of my favorite aspects of social media is the ability to interact, exchange and encourage other human beings. It makes it less superficial, less consumed with the pretty filters and reminds me that it’s all about the message, about the story. What are we saying? We as humans are wired for stories. We are compiled of them, we crave them and we want to know who else is experiencing the same pain, joy or victories that we are as well.
I am an open book when it comes to my social media.
Sometimes I really wrestle with being too vulnerable or too transparent. But all of those doubts and fears get pushed to the side when someone comes along and relates to what I am sharing. That’s secretly all we want isn’t it? For people to look through our filters and see the truth of our stories nestled behind them. People to come alongside us, slowly slip their fingers between our own and whisper “me too”. I think social media was meant for that if not anything else.
That’s secretly all we want isn’t it? For people to look through our filters and see the truth of our stories nestled behind them.
So how do we dig deeper than the filter? Dig deeper than the coffee shop shot?
We cultivate a space.
We remind people that they are still seen, still heard even though technically a “stranger”.
We respond to comments because those are not robots, they are people. Go to their page and interact with them there too. There’s nothing like being met in your own space and then being daring enough to meet someone else’s in theirs too.
Your social media is a breathing, living venue that can grow and can be fostered with care, intention and a few “ hellos” and “ me too” along the way.
Photos by Karen Hernandez