{on using the internet} thoughts on living well and intentionally

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About a month ago I came across a post by Amanda {of Homesong} called Without Social Media: Venturing Down a More Present Path. While my life is no way dependent on social media in any form for a livelihood, parts of her post resonated with me … the ways social media can infiltrate your day, your approach to life, making your measure for everyday living something that exists in a virtual world, or comparing your everyday life to the surface images and ‘highlight reels’ of another.

Since reading this article, my mind has been turning over the question – not to plug or unplug {is there truly a way we can live unplugged in today’s world, apart from the stories of those who completely go off the map? who – ahem – we still learn about from their blog posts, etc.}. The question I’ve been turning over is how to use the internet well? How to plug in and allow real stories and real lives influence me by way of the internet? Rather than being invited into the game of comparison and envy, the game that says others only have positive, fulfilling lives without the struggle since that’s all that is shown online. How to use my space and the spaces of others without feeling like my life is subtly being taken over by a virtual world beyond real life. In short, the post made me start to examine the ways that my internet use influences my daily life. No, I’m not dependent on my blog or keeping plugged in to other niche blogs, etc. for anything. But how are my thoughts and day to day feelings affected by what I see, take in, and read about? And is the way I’m being affected building me up or making me feel not good enough or like struggles should be invisible?

Since reading this post and thinking about these questions I’ve come across pockets of the internet – posts and spaces that leave me feeling encouraged, able to face my real life world with new thoughts, without the need to compare or make it picture perfect for my reel; posts that challenge my thoughts and make me think about what really is going on in my state, my country, the world we live in.

  • Darling’s “The Identity Rules You May Unknowingly Conform To” – This is a great post that challenges the subtle idea that if we identify ourselves as one thing (sporty, outdoorsy, homemaker, baker, etc.) that is our sole identity and the only one we are “allowed” so to speak. Down with preconceived notions of what I should be like based on what I do or have done or like to do or current hobbies or any other reason; Up with trying new things, always learning and growing, and never limiting ourselves based on ‘titles’ of any sort!
  • Anna’s “Do you still READ blogs?” – Short and sweet and asking the main questions I’ve found myself pondering… Is a life plugged in, up to app speed, always clicking – is it as fulfilling as a life without? Not completely without, but simply being able to draw the line – fulfillment comes from real connection, real solitude, real thought, real community, and truth be told, this comes from outside of the diameter of the screen of our choice.
  • Dirtbag Darling’s “The Science of Setting High Expectations” – A refreshing post on how our plans don’t always proceed as we hoped. Rather than refusing to plan or becoming negative, I’ll give you my favorite quote from the post. “Optimists are happier because they are better able to reframe the bad and magnify the good. When plans fail, optimists don’t blame themselves – they concede to the idea that what happened is the result of random circumstances, an isolated instance that is out of their control. In other words, they have the ability to amplify the positive over the negative.”

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All of this thought has also brought to mind articles I’ve read before in real print: Smithsonian’s “Tweet It All” and “Texting Isn’t the First New Technology Thought to Impair Social Skills.” Both of which reveal that technology and our social responsesΒ to experiencing changes and advancements isn’t new. The way we respond now is similar to the way people responded in the very beginnings of the technology we enjoy today.

The combination of all these little pieces have made me reflect on the “point” behind lifestyle blogs and the use of the internet to connect; the “point” behind these little spaces of internet and plugging in on social media and searching for other’s sites or photos. I think what I’ve finally come to is that the use of blog lives should really be about finding and giving encouragement, sharing with real people, and being honest in your pursuit of everyday life – whatever your cup of tea may be. It’s far too easy to compare yourself to another based on such ‘little data’ but that’s not the point. When I think about my reason for blogging…back when I started years ago – part of it was a desire to write; part of it came from wanting to keep my family and friends in the loop; part of it has been to keep myself accountable and challenge myself to grow and try new things; and IΒ think the part of I’m finally starting to define is the necessary part of it needing to be a space of encouragement for myself and others. A place where real life needs to be magnified over virtual life and the questions/content need to make one think about everyday living instead of influencing internet use.

If you made it to the bottom here, congrats πŸ™‚ It’s been helpful to me to organize and put my musings into words. I hope you enjoy all the links – all worth reading and reflecting on. Hope you all have a happy in-real-life weekend!

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6 Replies to “{on using the internet} thoughts on living well and intentionally”

  1. You do a great job of writing honest, interesting pieces… I love your ideas and writing style and do come away from your posts feeling it was worth the read and inspiring, yet it doesn’t leave me feeling “bad” about my own life and ideas… Which I think is exactly your point with this article! Enjoy the week!

  2. I loved this post Becca! I’ve been wrestling with exactly this … how to use resources such as the internet and blogs and instagram to keep growing and being inspired, rather than just becoming so overstimulated that they hamper those very endeavors. I’m down to only reading select materials that actually encourage and uplift, which is exactly why your blog is at the top of my list πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for your comment, Katie! Another thing that has been weighing on my mind and that I’ve started to pay attention to more is how often I spend looking at or going to any websites…it seems like it can become such an addictive thing to ‘keep refreshing’ and always be the first to see something new. Monitoring and cutting back on how often I check things has been helpful in redirecting my energy/not letting the internet get the best of me. I love your blog, too! Especially your posts lately – seems like you’re so content and filled with peace at your state in life now πŸ™‚

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