Friday, January 18, 2019

self-evaluation with social media

i had to break this post into two. i began talking about my aging maker's hands and decided to pursue the rest of my thoughts separately. 

that was already a longer read than most people want, so where to start with the second of two trains of thought that were going to intersect in that post? i really would like to keep it short and sweet, but this is going to be one of those posts where i think and process my way through some ideas. namely, i've been thinking about social media and also about my aging maker's hands.

binding is such excellent busy work for hands when one wants to think. i’ve been thinking a lot over the last several months about my involvement with social media, specifically with instagram because that has been my platform of choice for the last few years. even though i did not post nearly as much sewing with IG last year (68 posts) as I have previously done (208 in 2017) due to very little sewing done last year, i found myself questioning its value and place in my life for several reasons.

let’s be honest - it’s completely addictive. you don’t have to be posting frequently to be on it frequently. and my sewing account is only one account that i have. i also have a cooking account and a personal account so as to separate out my subject matter for various groups of people I want to interact with. personally, i really appreciate accounts that stick to one subject in general. when i want to look at sewing, i go to my quilting account. when i want to interact with family and friends about their lives, i go to my personal account. when it's time to make dinner, i look at my cooking account. this actually influences who i chose to follow, as well. 

well, that was a tangent! and another thought i have about how i like to interact with social media. but back to the addictive nature of instagram and whatever else you use. even when i mean to "just check up on such and such real quick," i usually end up spending more time than intended.

the new features on my phone and also on instagram that allow me to monitor my time spent using are really eye-opening. do i really want to spend a few hours looking at stuff and talking to poeple about it, or would i rather be using my time actually making? social media can be brilliant for inspiration, but i am overloaded with inspiration! i could easily list two dozen quilts i want make or ideas i want to experiment with right now. somehow, i need to be gathering and processing inspiration in a better or more intentional way.

so here's where i'm at with instagram at the moment - i've posted once this year (about my maker's hands) and checked in with my follower feed a few times, but i'm backing off to see how i feel about this. my purpose in using social media for my sewing has been to record my experience and makes, and to interact with like-minded makers. i've met wonderful people this way and really treasure some of the sweet experiences and interactions that come about because of social media. i've met a few of those people in person and would dearly love to spend more time with them, as well as meet more of my friends in person.

at the same time, i have a real-world life that needs constant attention and doesn't allow me the luxury of engaging with my craft or my online crafty friends as much as i would like to. we are real people meeting in a virtual space, which can interfere with our real lives too much if we aren't cautious. i can't judge how others spend their time, but i have to be realistic with myself about mine and the demands of my life. and, in the end, i don't want to spend so much of my precious time in a virtual space. 

"create before consuming" is a phrase i found from becky higgins. i think it's a brilliant way to check one's self when engaging on social media. so another goal i have for myself is to engage with my craft and actually produce something before i spend time scrolling.

my personal reasons for being on social media are not necessarily the same as what other's have. many people use social media to promote their businesses, and as such, may need to spend more time there and their types of posts will be different than mine. me, i want to record my quilting process as well as my finishes and make connections with other makers. i'm not perusing a following or trying to promote anything. the attention when a post gets a lot of likes is nice, yes. but i'm really not about the numbers.

most of the time.
every once in a while the numbers start messing with me, enticing me. and that never leads anywhere good for me. it makes me second guess my posts or choose to post something when i wouldn't have otherwise. this is rare, but it does happen. 

something else that creeps in occasionally is worry about what certain followers will think, if my particular post will appeal to people or not. i don't like it. i have a very eclectic quilting style and so post lots of different types of projects. sometimes a project in a certain genre will get me attention and new followers of a certain type, and then when i shift gears i worry that it's "not what people are here for." that's silly and i should get over it. i can't please everyone all the time and me posting was never supposed to be about pleasing anyone. i'm most happy when i'm just me, posting what catches my eye or gives me joy in my own sewing, talking to a few friends or gracious admirers along the way.

it's okay to be little.
it's okay to post what makes me happy rather than what is popular.
it's okay to live my life rather than being online a lot.
it's okay to disappear from social media with no explanations from time to time.
it's okay to sew and not post it at all.

and it's good to think about how i'm spending my time, what is serving me or not.

happy sewing friends, and happy living, too.

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