Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Walking The Fine Line of Social Media

     As I reflect on the last three years, as a runner, I am blown away by the blessings and where running has taken me.  In addition to wholeheartedly pursuing my dreams and goals,  becoming more involved in social networking has played a huge role in where my running has taken me! The support, encouragement, advice, opportunities and friendships have surpassed anything I  ever could've imagined! But with that being said, recently I have felt that being involved in social networking is like walking a fine line, and if you cross that line it is a downward spiraling, slippery slope to a toxic pit of comparison, a place of entitlement, and an an arena where being rude, disrespectful and insensitive to other people is acceptable, because after all it's my blog, my feelings.


     In today's society, social networking has a significant influence on how we develop our sense of self, our view of the world, and our deepest values and concerns. What do social networking ideologies convey regarding running and blogging?  Are we defined by the pace on our Garmin, the number of twitter followers we have, or by the number of daily views on our blogs? It is so easy to get trapped in the pit of comparison, constantly trying to live up to what we think others deem important. In terms of my own personal blogging, I have had huge insecurities around posting my times. Thinking I wasn't fast, I felt maybe if I didn't post my times, people would find more significance in my posts, and therefore in me as a runner! How crazy is that!? But its TRUE...because I spent so much time COMPARING myself to others...or to the time on their Garmin. If I am really honest with myself, it was more a result of feeling inferior or not good enough.  Insecurities are natural, and we all deal with them at some level.  It's when insecurities come as a result of comparison, and we are no longer able to accept, love, and embrace who we are {the perfectly created individuals that we are} that we really need to step back and re-evaluate the influence social media is having on us.

     Everyone has their own story and journey, and we are defined as runners, not by the time on clock when we cross the finish line, but by the dedication, heart, obstacles overcome, commitment, etc needed to get there. 

So often we are inspired by others' stories, but remember that we also have the potential to inspire others with our own stories. 


     Between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and blogging, we have access to the deepest gossip well to draw from. I know I personally am not above the temptation to gossip, especially with some of the pictures and information people unabashedly post.  Jen Hatmaker said it best, " all that knowing is a lot to keep a lid on."   And unfortunately, social media has taken "talking about people" to a whole new level.  Just because we read or see something does not mean that we need to talk about it and share it with others. I challenge each and everyone of us to think before we speak about another person, a picture we saw or something we read, in an effort to make social media a safer, less poisonous,  place.


     Finally, just because its my blog, my Twitter account, my Facebook,  does not mean that we are entitled to receive certain things or exempt from being kind, loving, respectful individuals.  "Everything is permissible, but not everything is helpful." With social media, it has never been easier for relationships to be destroyed, trust violated, feelings wrecked, and reputations ruined; it's amazing how quickly we can injure ourselves and one another.  While I am not saying we should avoid being real, honest, and vulnerable, we need to be careful not to do that at the expense of hurting someone else. Next time you want to want to post something that is "heated" or possibly controversial, just wait. Save it as a draft and walk away from your computer. Discuss it with a close friend first. Once you spew your your thoughts and opinions out into the world wide web, there's no getting them back.

     As I said, I love social networking, and have been blessed with so many amazing friendships and opportunities through it! But occasionally it is good to take a step back and remember that if social media can capture our thoughts, it can also capture our hearts and minds, and rob us of confidence in ourselves. For many of us, social media provides the content from which we develop our sense of self, our view of the world, and our deepest values and concerns.  While I am not encouraging any social media hiatus/boycott, I am challenging each and everyone of us {myself included} to thoughtfully engage without checking our brains and self confidence at the door, embracing the positive elements and resisting the toxic stuff.

And know this...YOU ARE AWESOME!!! Please take the time to watch this video:

     In addition to being cautious, positive seeking consumers of social media, I challenge each and everyone of us, when given the opportunity to meet bloggers/people from the social networking world in real life, to take the time to get to know them for who they really are! Don't focus on insignificant things {number of followers, marathon time} at the risk of missing out on significant things {a phenomenal heart, an incredible person}. 


  1. Well put Holly! I completely agree. You said it perfectly. What an amazing example you are to the blogging and social media community. We are all lucky to know such a beautiful person.

  2. BOOM! I have a lot of the same sentiments about social media. I've met some bloggers with a high number of followers that are just asshats and on the flip side, I've met AMAZING people too! You certainly can't judge a book by its cover or a blogger by the numbers!

  3. This is a fantastic post and great reminder!

  4. Holly, that was so well put and thought out. Thank you for posting and reminding all of us. So very true.
    Love you!

  5. Such a great post... words to live by!

  6. Comparing yourself to others can hurt you in so many ways!! We begin to become unthankful and ungrateful for what we do have!! I love this post!! So true!!