I don’t know if it is this perfect rainy fall-ish weather or the lack of sleep I run on during this stage of life, but I have been really contemplative and really over daily self-promotion on social media. Anyone who uses social media primarily as a business platform can surely relate; sometimes you are legitimately excited about whatever you’re marketing, but sometimes you are purely feeding the algorithm so you can try to make a living of some kind.
The great part of social media is that it can help you feel connected to people when you’re feeling isolated. Unfortunately, this connection can prove to be pretty superficial, especially from a business perspective, because you are trying to sell a product. After a while, you look up and have to honestly come to grips with the fact that this product includes you: your life. Your thoughts. Your spouse. Your kids. All part of this "brand."
This has been a struggle for me, one I have to reevaluate often, because I love my product! I wouldn’t advertise it if I didn’t truly believe it held something besides just monetary value, as in, helping me real financial goals for my family. Frankly, it hasn’t been a secret that my biggest goal for Simply Stated is doing my part in encouraging others to get into Scripture, so I try to be transparent in how Scripture affects how I look at my life and hopefully how I engage with others. However, even this can become self-promotion. Social media blurs every line it seems that I set. Social media, like any tool, has an intended purpose. Sometimes you can get creative, but if you aren’t careful, it will do damage.
There are moments where God speaks clearly enough that I post it on that little cell phone screen because I’m hoping that against all odds it will cut through the flood of products that myself and others keep pouring out there to help someone else take a breath, too; that in some kind of ironic feat reverse-psychology, a post on social media will help us take a break from social media. The daily self-promotion is draining, and is a strain on me and my family. So, full disclosure, I am stepping back from that; however, I don’t want to step back from the parts of social media that have happily surprised me, like when some of you either pull me aside in real life or message me on here that something I shared encouraged you.
So, I hope you love my products, because I love them. But more importantly, I want for you and for myself to keep striving to find intimacy with Christ through His word, and community through actual transparency. I have been challenging myself to start my day with Scripture, even if it’s just 15 minutes of using the Bible app on my phone instead of starting with scrolling through Instagram. I’ve been finding that when I do that, the compulsion to mindlessly scroll is not as strong.
I plan on sharing my products, but I think I have established the integrity of my brand enough to breathe and not post every single day that you should definitely buy something from me. Maybe that’s the dumbest business move, but practically speaking, daily pictures of my product don’t alter your budget. However, there is value in the posts that hopefully point you to Christ. I’m going to start a hashtag, #simplystatedIRL (as in, “in real life”), for these types of posts. If you want to participate in this...whatever it is (I’m leaving it open to where God is taking this, because I’m not entirely sure yet). When my posts inevitably begin to disappear from your feed because my infrequent posting doesn't please the Instagram algorithm, you can just search for that hashtag and find us. By "us," I mean my posts, and hopefully yours as well.
If you are struggling with something or feel like God has shown you something that could cut through another’s darkness, use this hashtag so we can all find each other when we’re feeling isolated. Hopefully, this will lead to in-real-life connection, and you might be surprised how someone feeling just as alone and isolated as you are lives in THE SAME FREAKING TOWN. I don’t know if you are an overwhelmed college student, a SAHM flicking someone else’s boogers off of you constantly, or what the deal is, but I hope this can help us use social media as a springboard to real connection and not a hole to dig ourselves deeper into when we are feeling crappy.
The reality of the necessity of making money is obvious; but I hope that if transparency gains followers, it is to foster relationships, not sales. Buy my stuff if you like it, but not because it will intrinsically make either of us a better person.