It’s only been six days since I temporarily deactivated my Facebook and Instagram account. I have had social media breaks before, and I wanted to have less noise and distraction over December. Now it’s nearly a week until Christmas and 2023 is looming. What to do with social media? What to do with my content? I do have plans and ideas that I keep coming back to and assessing over the year. But since I have had this very small break from socials, I have been thinking about how I use it.
Sink, swim or float?
Realistically, the content that I write and actively promote on social media is a small drop in the ocean when it comes to the internet. I feel that I either continue to contribute by swimming in this overwhelming upstream struggle in the hope someone sees my words, or I drown amongst everyone else with their channels and websites, longing to be seen by others.
Sink or swim? I’ve been swimming for a while now, and I’m pretty exhausted. On the other hand, I don’t particularly want to sink either.
Maybe I’ll float for a while. Eventually I’ll have to move one way or the other, but as I float along, I’ll drift with my eyes looking heavenward. Floating is not a permanent solution, but it could buy me some time. Or buoy me time (pardon the pun…).
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) says that if you find yourself in difficulty in the water, float to live. They state:
- Fight your instinct to thrash around.
- Lean back, extend your arms and legs.
- If you need to, gently move them around to help you float.
- Float until you can control your breathing.
- Only then, call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives.
As I write this, I’m not leaning back and extending my arms and legs. But the tide is turning in my heart on all of the above. I need to fight the instinct to thrash around and do all the things it feels as a writer I need to do. I wrote a post called ‘One Thing is Necessary‘. Maybe I need to remember that again. But I certainly need to float to live right now.
I have never had a deep desire to keep up or feel I have to schedule posts and make sure everyone knows about what I’m up to. I have taught myself a few things about social media along the way, but algorithms, website owners (looking at you Elon Musk), and followers change all the time. I can’t keep up. I don’t want to keep up.
The blog is to communicate the hope and truth found in Jesus Christ. I have written it for over a decade and I don’t plan on stopping. I wonder if I stop posting to social media if it will have a negative effect in not getting my words in front of people. But even when I patiently post and share, the ironic lack of social engagement makes me question the ‘social’ in social media. People don’t have to like or share something I write. However, just like authors appreciate an Amazon review of their book to get it noticed by more people, having engagement for what I write helps and is an encouragement. A shout out to many who have reached out with a comment, a like, a follow or have shared my words. It means a lot and I pray that it has been helpful, encouraging, challenging and ultimately, glorifying to God.
Is the amount of time it takes to promote worth it? Perhaps. People are hired to run the social media channels of companies, businesses, charities and even writers. But I am not in a position to do that. I’m just an ordinary woman who loves to write, loves Jesus even more, and wants to make the most of my time, for the glory of God.
What’s next for 2023?
That’s the question I have been reflecting on over the last few weeks. Who knows what life is going to look like from one day to the next, but I do have vision.
Firstly, the blog is here to stay. Despite the very frustrating comments I have seen on social media that look down on bloggers and blogging, I have found my blog an oasis in the desert of distraction online. It is also like a companion that has charted the highs and lows of some of my life, helping me to process my thoughts. I have found wonderful neighbours that I can happily chat to over the metaphorical internet fence because of it. There have also been unwelcome visitors which caused me distress, and became the reason I no longer accepted comments in my ‘oasis’. This is my little space. I adore it here.
In terms of social media, it’s under review. How can I best use it faithfully, well and effectively, without compromising my time, effort and mental health? I am still navigating that one. Maybe I will look to others to see how they best use it without burning out. But I have never set out to be a social media strategist. I know I have to market myself a little, but I love to share the work of others very much. Perhaps it will become even less about my writing and be a platform to champion others. We’ll see how it goes. But ultimately, less of me, more of Christ. I hope my content glorifies Him.
As I float along for a bit and see where the tide takes me, I am going to pause the Hope With Ruth podcast episodes after this season ends next week. I think it’s important to make the most of audio, especially for those who struggle to read a blog post or prefer to listen. That’s why I envision it to be just a pause for now as I pray and plan about what to do next. It takes a lot of work between myself and my husband to record and edit 15 minute episodes every week. We’re both needing a rest. And that’s OK. I have thoroughly enjoyed recording the podcast so far and I hope to continue it in either the spring or summer of 2023.
I am hoping to do more writing for both online and print publications and pitch some article ideas out there. Casting my net wider so to speak (there are a lot of open water puns today…). It’s a real joy to write for others, and I find the whole process of planning, researching, writing and editing very rewarding. If you’re reading this and would like me to write for you, or maybe you know someone who is looking for a writer, have a look at my writing page to find out a little more.
Finally, I have another project that I have going on in the background at the moment. I am still shaping the details, but I will aim to launch Hope Mentoring in the spring of 2023. It will be an opportunity to encourage and inspire women to look to the Lord, as we share life, the Bible, and prayer together. It can be lonely and isolating in life at times, but my hope and prayer is that regular meetings to build up and support will uplift and bless those in need. Please pray as this takes shape.
How about you?
Are there areas in your life where it feels like a sink or swim situation? Maybe I can encourage you to float or pause for a little while. Does everything really need to be sorted right now? From experience, taking one day at a time, and having time to reflect and pray, is sound advice. There’s no need to try and keep up, because the goal posts will eventually change in whatever it is you’re doing. Nothing stays the same forever. I pray that whatever you are contemplating over Christmas and into the New Year will be made clear, and hope and peace will be brought forth into your heart. You are loved.
‘…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ Matthew 6:33