Ask Jules: Should I be sharing more on social media?


Hi Jules: I am a Gen-Xer who is always an early adopter of technology, but I am struggling with social media. Although I consume content on social media, I just can’t get into creating it. My busy work, parenting schedule and my ambivalence toward wanting/needing to share myself online keep me from creating, yet I feel guilty about not being a contributing member to social media communities that many of my friends and family are part of.

Every once in a while, I will post a message about my son’s birthday or a photo, but I am inconsistent. Part of me feels like dropping my social media accounts altogether so I don’t have to worry about not doing my part in these communities.

The other part of me knows this is the primary way people connect now. My son, who is 9 years old, is asking for my help to create online content, and I keep pushing him off. I also fear losing out on keeping up with my friends’ and family’s lives online. How should I reconcile these feelings? And should I suck it up and start creating content?

Ready to X out: Gone are the days of, “Just delete your social media” being a plausible piece of advice. At least from my perspective.

I haven’t seen anyone successfully move away from being a social media user for the long run. Instead, I see people deactivate their accounts, only to give in and reactivate them weeks later.

These platforms are how we stay plugged into the cultural zeitgeist. It’s not impossible to walk away from social media, but it’s tough to abandon what now feels like an extension of you, or at least, those you love and respect.

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While navigating this relationship, it’s clear that you’re battling with an all-or-nothing mind-set.

At one extreme, you’ll decide to go cold turkey altogether because you feel pressure to post. This is bound to create a void if you find that the other side of social media — observing an array of people and outlooks — deeply benefits your life.

At the other extreme, you’ll force yourself to share more of your life online despite having no innate desire to do so. This is bound to overwhelm you.

As an avid consumer, curation might be something that feels far more natural to you than creation. Through curation, you uplift others’ work while still being expressive of your personal taste — sharing content that you find valuable and worth showing your friends and family. As someone who often enjoys curation over creation online, I say give it a shot.

Ask Jules: I think my cousin’s kids spend too much time on screens

But don’t undermine the accuracy of your intuition. If you try and still don’t feel compelled to post in any form, then don’t. Energy can be felt through the screen, and it’s transparent in the content of those who “post just to post.”

If you come to this conclusion, I suggest you take a periodic approach to your relationship with social media. By removing the apps from your phone for two weeks, then redownloading for one week, and repeating the cycle — you may find that the relationship becomes more rejuvenating than agonizing. All while avoiding extremes.

Social media’s value for an individual is subjective, and there’s power in the act of restraint.

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