Sunday, July 7, 2019

Reflecting on the Good in Social Media

Since I once again find myself on the job market, I've been forced to really think about what I want to contribute to this world. Yes, I need a job that pays the bills, but the more I can find a position that also aligns with my values, the happier I know I will be. I learned more than I can even begin to share about myself, my skills, my gifts, and what I need out of a job in the last two years and I'd hate to waste any of that very hard earned knowledge and experience!

So as I've been dipping my toes in the water, applying and interviewing for various positions, I've also been thinking about why I like marketing. I do like marketing. I took kind of a roundabout way to get into it, but I enjoy the creative process, the drive to create and execute in more efficient ways, the constant need for innovation, the opportunity to connect people and businesses with each other. I want to stay in digital marketing and I'd really like to continue working in social media/content strategy and anything that emphasizes and highlights community.

But social media has come under a lot of intense criticism and scrutiny and for good reason. Reconciling the fact that it has been used as an incredibly powerful weapon against humanity with all of the good that it has done in my own life has been a process I've gone through the last few years. When it's so easy to play people against themselves and create mass division, are the good things worth it? I think yes.

Chances are you don't even realize how much impact it has in your life, whether it's discovering a new book, being encouraged to see something slightly differently, or just connecting with an old friend. But beyond that, I know a lot of the ways social media has been a positive impact in my life and I wanted to share about it.

I've had kind of a hard year personally. When I think back to who I was a year ago and who I am now, the difference is staggering. I think a lot of these changes are I see the world and what I want and how I believe in myself. And I'm grateful for them, but friends, getting here was very painful. It can be hard to be as hopeless as I felt and alone as I felt a little over a year ago and then have some glimmer of hope, the feeling that something new was being birthed in you only to have it shatter. I have learned that life most definitely doesn't take the path you think it will to teach you something.

But alone is what I felt. I had a unique set of circumstances that people were sympathetic to but couldn't really understand. This wasn't like a bad break-up (something we've all been through and can relate to) and part of the reason it was so hard was because I've made some not so great choices for myself over my life.

Growing up as a bookworm, I always believed that part of why I loved to read was finding myself in the pages of a book in a way that I couldn't in human interaction. Finally, there were words for feelings and thoughts I had but couldn't express. And it's still true, as I read The Great Believers this past weekend I was just blown away by so many small expressions of humanity that made me feel more seen, less alone. But I believe this happens on social media, too.

Maybe at first it was just finding other people who liked the same things we liked. No one has to feel alone anymore, someone else must like the same things! But this past year for me, it was also the willingness people have to speak frankly about the things that really matter in life. I'd like to talk in particular about Jessica Dore.

I mentioned her Twitter feed shortly after the New Year, but like all things growth related, I didn't know how much her work had and would really come to mean to me. I don't know anything about Tarot cards, nor will I ever probably be a big supporter of them. So the fact that someone that cheerfully calls herself a witch and shares a daily reading of Tarot cards has become one of the most important people online to me is really saying something.

Jessica has received a lot of attention for what she does, which means that her work of bringing mental health topics into our common areas, to reach people and help them is working. She's having an impact and helping people like myself to feel less alone. There's something about someone you've never met being able to speak into your life like this. Reading her daily cards and her monthly offerings is a steady and important part of my life. I've been able to start to unpack the grief, the relational issues, and the brokenness I've felt in a safe way. And like any great artist recurring themes come up in her work, just as hearing something once is rarely enough times to fully digest it.

Tarot Card--Theme Seeming Opposites

This really impacted me. Sometimes it's easy to think that a dominant feeling like caring for someone or working really hard should be enough, but it's possible for two seeming opposites to be true at the same time. Striving to do better than even my best helped me get through many a day. But I also think this kind of thinking can help us in so many areas in life. Like, how a goodbye can both be the right thing but still painful.

Tarot Card--Don't Always Want What You Think You Want

Oh mannnn. This tweet showed up right before I executed such a "self-sabotage." I thought it was about one thing (and I still do), but I think it was about more than that. Realizing that I don't always want what I think I want in addition to being able to accept that what I want might not be what I need has been very important for this past year. Honestly, I'm old but just now learning how to control and manage my emotions better. Honestly, this is also a comforting way to think about this.

Tweet--Reciprocal Loving Relationship

Maybe the one tweet that has meant the most to me. Combined with the idea that something can be good but not good enough, I've really started to believe in how important it is to spend my energy, my compassion, my loyalty, and my love in places where it's needed. There is nothing more damaging to a heart than giving away its precious resources to someone or someplace that cannot see it for the gold it is. I don't want to waste any more time.

Jessica Dore Tweet--You are Special

Yeah, this one made me burst into tears when I read it. Can you imagine the power of tweeting something like this to a perfect stranger and having it encourage them? Not everyone has someone in their lives to say this to them and sometimes when it comes from people we know it somehow doesn't have the power it does when a stranger says it and we have to claim it for ourselves.

A couple more about knowing what we want and the power we have when we walk away from something:

Jessica Dore Tweet--Negotiation

Jessica Dore Screengrab Tarot Card

I know that I still have a long way on this journey to wholeness, but I also don't know that I would have had the ability to reflect and recast things without Jessica's daily readings. Her monthly offerings are great, too. But this post isn't so much about promoting Jessica Dore as it about reminding us all that there is still a valuable role for social media. We just have to remember to keep things in perspective.

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