Tonight I determined to start reading blogs again. And in order to make it more accessible, more efficient, and FAR less overwhelming, I streamlined. I made sure I was following only blogs I know and love. I have no idea how my reading list got so out of hand, but I'm sure half of the people I was following aren't even blogging regularly anymore. Many I didn't even recognize. I don't think I've even looked at the list in two years.
Realistically, I am going to try to keep my reading list in the double digits. Below 50 is even better. Triple digits is WAY too high to keep track of and stay engaged on the blogs I really enjoy.
I already do this with my Instagram account (though my max number is higher). Every so often, I realize I've notched up and up and up in the number of those I'm "following." Then it gets unmanageable and I start to notice I'm missing half the posts by my friends and family back in California because I have way too many feeds getting in the way. Not that those other people aren't posting great stuff too. Of course they are! Great shops. Great quotes. Great everything. But I still can't have "great" cluttering out the people I actually love, the people whose children and hearts and lives I care about.
And none of this streamlining business is personal. I wish I could read and follow every great writer and IGer and Facebooker in the land. I truly know that I could learn from every single one of them. But in order to keep my life in balance, I need to limit my social media time. And if I want to write and read and Instagram, then I need to streamline that process. And streamlining involves (gulp) unfollowing until I have a manageable system, until I feel like I can still interact on a personal, real level.
Here's the core of the problem, in my opinion. When we spread ourselves too thin on social media, our interactions get increasingly thin too. We hurry through deeply meaningful posts by real people, often hurting people. Those real people are looking for community and real connection too, just like I am. And I have to ask myself, "At what point (in terms of numbers of blogs/accounts/FB friends I follow) does my connection to these real live humans get reduced to surface contact? Quick comments like, "Wow! Awesome," to huge, life changing announcements. Or a hastily typed, "Praying for you! XO" while at a stoplight, when you read that a friend is really struggling with chronic health problems. I'm not saying I need to type a paragraph-length comment to be authentic. But I simply cannot be authentic with 500 people. That's being spread too thin.
I'm speaking to myself, here, too. I've totally done that. I've not cared enough about serious business going on in people's lives because my thumb just keeps scrolling through the sea of images and words. But often I get this vibe, this premonition that social media is dangerous and doing something to us. It threatens to hold us at arm's length from the real humans with whom we are interacting.
I try to guard my life from superficiality in all its forms. So I cut and streamline and unfollow, if I need. And it is not because I'm insensitive. It's exactly the opposite. I can't be friends with every cool person. And at some point, too many "friends" makes me a bad one to all of them.
Go to your "follow" list, one social media platform at a time.
In your head pick a reasonable number of "friends."
Cut down your list until you get there.
Then go through the entire list one more time and cut again. As much as you can.
Repeat every month or two.
If I get cut from something of yours, I TOTALLY get it. I won't be bummed. I will understand that you need to be responsible with your time, your social media, and your limited relational capacity.
Yep, that's where the truth comes in. We are limited. We are called to relationship, but we are limited. I think all of us in the blog world and on social media could improve at being more to fewer.
Don't you agree?