Thursday, October 9, 2014

a game changer

I heard something several years ago.

It changed me.

It changed the way I have since lived, online.

Blogging...facebooking....instagramming.... the content I post to all of these places now goes through the filter of this advice: 

Every post/update/picture you choose to write will determine who your audience is. 

Let me explain.

It was a photographer friend of mine who said those words to me, and we were talking about her photography business- because this applies to businesses as well. And because I was blogging every day, trying to connect it with a season of my life where I was actively styling clients, she applied that concept to my blog. She explained that every post I chose to publish was a choice (and I have applied this to EVERY facebook status I have written since then, as well) that determined who my readers would be.
There isn't necessarily a right or wrong decision about who I wanted my audience to be, but it was worth knowing the effect each word was having. Every post about parenting would make non-parents feel disconnected. Every post about women's fashion would make guys believe they didn't have a reason to check in. Each post about Christ would potentially cause non-Christians to go somewhere else. So since then, before I post things in each of those categories (which is, collectively, juuuuuuust about every post I've ever written), I always stop for a minute and ask myself: "do I want to push ____ away?" It's a good system of checks and balances. It makes sure that what I want to say is THAT important to me. Do I want THOSE people connecting with me? Do I want to make THOSE people unfollow me?

Even on facebook.

I know it doesn't matter to some people. There are many who couldn't care less about what others think of their posts. They are going to say whatever they think because it's their page- and they can. But it matters to ME what others will "hear" from my fingers. Because I believe this is my testimony.

I want to change the way parts of my identity are stereotyped. I don't like the rep Christians get sometimes. I want to love others more than I love me, and I want to love God more than I love the whole lot of us. I don't like the way moms are sometimes portrayed. I can wear good jeans AND hold an intelligent conversation about the current state of global affairs. I want to change the way people think about those who like to get dressed in the morning. I'm not conceited, nor do I carelessly spend my money- nor am I rich and rolling in it. Et cetera. And if I can be those things but live it differently, then maybe people will disassociate some of the negativity toward "those types of people"- and that would be a win.

I filter what I say because I love people. And I want to make days brighter by being in them. And if I could say something funny instead of complaining, wouldn't it be nice to cause a laugh instead? Don't we all have enough to complain about anyway? I believe there is a time to be honest. I do! Sometimes I share "that article" even though I know it could ruffle feathers. But I believe there is a time to discuss controversial ways of thinking. But I don't believe social media is a very effective platform to do that, most times.

I choose what I SAY because it affects what I THINK. And I don't want to dwell on a bad day or a yucky point of view or a hard season of life. And when I talk about it, I stay in it. I don't want to stay there.

And I say certain things (and not others) because I want to inspire. And I like to believe that nuggets of inspiration can come from anywhere. I decided one day to only allow fb statuses/instagrammers/bloggers into my days that would offer me intelligence, love, appreciation, and inspiration. Everything and everyone else, I deleted or "unfollowed." Because I don't have time to spend with people who think they are the only right ones, or who want to spend their time talking about things that aren't working, or putting others down, or being careless with their words. And that decision went a long way to making me a happier person. And if I'm going to be so selective with what and who receive my time, I want to be those things to others in return.

And so I choose. I choose what goes out, and I choose what comes in.

Thank you for letting me in.

And thanks for being my "in."

I like to think we can change the world. 

And this post was ironically supposed to be about something COMPLETELY different when I sat down to write. That concept was supposed to be the intro paragraph...... turns out there was more there to unpack. That's okay. There's always tomorrow.

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