Social Media, or Instagram specifically, has become one of the greatest tools of our generation because of the power of connection. We use it for marketing, we use it for familial relationships and we use it to find community with similar minded people.
And yet, we all have talked frequently about the pitfalls of comparison, impressing (check out the hashtag #impressiveisexhausting), and the danger of only highlighting the newsreel of our lives.
But…we continue to post the happy moments, we don’t always post the sad. We don’t really want to post the sad, because we might look like we’re looking for pity, right?
Yet…there are communities of authenticity and transparency that seek to include the good and the bad both in our daily sharing, and I personally have become a fan of this sort of social media posting. It chooses inspiration and transparency over impressing and trendsetting. It places authenticity at the heart of the matter, instead of false bravado or “fingerpainting” a happier existence than what we’re truly living.
But…that infamous “but”…there’s a catch.
I have alot of family and friends that follow me and aren’t a part of this community, nor do they choose to post on social media in this way. Which is totally fine! But it creates an imbalance at times because…if you have acquaintances that you might see a few times a week…they might not know what’s really going on with you. And your decision to be authentic and transparent online, where you might not be as open in a conversation creates an open door for honesty and a deeper relationship or can slam closed a relationship that is already started based on a misunderstanding.
So the question then is how do we authentically share our story on social media (including blogs all the way down to microblogs like IG) + balance that with real life?
Here’s the real deal: it’s easy to be vulnerable or authentic in words or particular posts on social media when a following of customers or clients expect that from you. Where the rubber meets the road is when your personal life collides with your professional. When the elders of your faith start seeing those posts. When your family members follow you + when those that might not really know what’s going on with you click that little blue button. The key to striking a balance here is knowing WHAT to share + WHEN to share your heart.
Why is it important that we share authentic stories? When your story includes the mercy and grace of God (which all our stories do), it is your testimony, and it is those words that will set you free. Revelations 12 speaks of the way to cast down the enemy, and specifically says “they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” The world will tell you that your story is just one in a million and that it doesn’t matter what you share. I beg to differ…there is power in your unique testimony. Power only you can share – you will inspire others through the life that you lead, and the way you choose to share your story, both in real life and on social media.
If you do choose to share on Social Media, it’s important to find the balance in sharing in a healthy way, for you and for your audience as well. Social media should never be a rant or a passive-aggressive attempt to manipulate anyone into any sort of behavior, but a place to share your heart (even if it is the pretty picture version) in a real way. I’ve placed a few tips below in sharing your heart in a healthy way:
You’re ready to share your heart when you can share without extreme emotions:
Your story is too fresh to share if it still brings you to uncontrollable crying. Your heart is too fragile to bare if you cannot contain it without an outburst. But you’re ready to share your story when you know it will inspire or help someone else…+ the joy that you feel knowing that surpasses the journey of feelings that got you there. Feelings aren’t wrong, it’s how we handle them that gets sticky + tricky.
You’re ready to share your heart when you have the right words:
We sometimes have good intentions in sharing and then get a sentence in and realize we don’t actually have the words yet to share. This is where the power of journaling or even personal vlogging or voice recording comes in. Sometimes, you alone can say what you need to hear, and whether that’s writing it out by hand, typing into DayOne or by watching yourself talk in a little smartphone recording. Your words can share your story – but only when you have those words together. Your story should be shared as a testimony of inspiration, edification and the glory of God. Until all the pieces fall together, hold your story in your heart.
You’re ready to share your heart when you are protected:
Our stories often include others and therefore include their feelings and reactions as well. Does your story leave you vulnerable to real danger? Does sharing your story open up wounds for others in a way that could be avoided? Timing is everything in sharing your story in an authentic way. We all have feelings and we all want to share them, but we need to consider others in sharing these as well. Your story is important. The timing that you share your story is equally important. Pray about your decision to share, then proceed.
Know your heart, protect it. Own your story, share only when you’re ready.
On social media + in personal presence.