How do we embrace the power of social media and protect our Slow life?
Here I am, curled up in bed with a sleeping babe beside me, the downpour of a west coast winter night rapping against the widows of our old farmhouse, wondering if Slow social media is even possible.
We live a simple life, in a kinda cliché way – there are little kids and sheep and chickens and cows and too many pigs to count. A exuberant vegetable garden, an 1892 farmhouse and a great big barn.
And yet on my lap, in this bed, with this sleeping babe, a tool that connects me to the world in an instant. I run a business that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the world wide web, despite the fact that my vocation is as old as time.
At the marrow, there’s a Catch 22.
Social media derails and detracts from our Slow Lives, yet we depend on it to support our Slow Work. No social media, no Slow Work. Too much social media, no Slow Life. No Slow Life, the Slow Work unravels, charade.
And around we go. Hooked.
I see you out there, women building amazing businesses, mothering children, creating a home, contributing in your community, nourishing your spirit . . . And I hear how conflicted you feel.
I know I’m not the only one.
Do we spend our days ‘gramming our beautiful lives, or do we spend our days living them?
You run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking and racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in the relative way, but you’re older and shorter of breath and one day closer to death.Pink Floyd
That pretty much sums up my feelings toward social media. And yet.
Can we live without it? Can we make Slow Work work without it?
For me, for the most part, the answer has been yes, for now. But not forever.
So what do we do?
For starters, we need to chuck a bunch of unhelpful assumptions and start from scratch.
Number one – social media is not benign. It is amoral.
Social media exists to generate profit for corporations. Not to make the world a better place. Not to connect us. Pretty much nothing that it claims to be for.
Number two – the fact that something has some utility does not mean that it deserves our attention. Some is not enough. They exact a cost. We must demand more in return.
Number three – our ego plays a bigger role than we want to admit. Likes, followers, views have all been intentionally designed to push some pretty primal buttons.
If we aren’t clear what our goal is in using social media, it will happily use us.
Likes and followers aren’t worth bunk. If we are going to spend our precious time and attention with these tools, we had better be damn sure we are getting something measurable out of it.
You can’t pay the phone bill with likes.
So what can we do?
The most powerful thing we can do is the thing we actually DO.
If you are a painter, paint. A writer, write.
Go do the damn work. Whether your calling is mothering or activism or smashing glass ceilings, go do that.
Put your head down. Focus on the work in front of you.
Do it really freaking well.
Instead of worrying about growing your following, grow your knowledge, hone your craft, perfect your product.