Sunday, April 06, 2014

Streamlining your social media

I can't tell you how many times I've heard lately, "Oh, I don't read blogs anymore." Half the times I've heard it, it's come out of my own mouth. Somehow I just got out of the habit. I stopped connecting and participating in the blog community. Oh wait, I think it was because we moved. Most things stopped around that time and I'm slowly recovering the things I enjoy doing in my free time. One of those is certainly writing. And reading. Wait that's two things.

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.

Try this:
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?



  1. You're right! But I have this false guilt about "unfollowing" people!

  2. Thanks for this. I do this already but agree with previous comment, that I sometimes feel a bit of guilt! I'm letting that go now ☺️

  3. I love this Leslie!! I find myself thinking all of things and trying to keep it manageable because I do want to be authentic and connect. The guilt I feel when unfollowing people is crazy, but it's time to do it again. Love following you, you are always inspiring me! XO!

  4. I have definitely done this with my Facebook account, more than once...and that is 99% people I know or have known in "real life"! I definitely try to keep up with too many blogs and oftentimes don't comment when I would like to...because of time constraints or because I'm trying to read all of them. I don't follow too many people on IG, but my Twitter feed is kind of ridiculous. And I'm realizing in my friendships that I can't have too many friends, because then I'm not able to really be a good friend to any of them. Thanks for sharing your heart on this!

  5. My Instagram is the social media that tends to get out of hand. I'm very visual and tend to follow lots of pretty pictures...until, like you, I realize I'm missing the good stuff. My friends, my daughter in law, my grandbaby. Yikes. When I realize I keep asking myself, "now who IS this", I have to click that little "unfollow" button. So freeing :)

  6. I do agree! "But I simply cannot be authentic with 500 people"--so, so true.

  7. I actually started doing this a while back. Honestly, at first I was hurt. Hurt that people that use to read don't any longer. Eventually though that released me from the obligation I felt to read many blogs. I also had to decide why I write and why I read blogs. I write for me- to delight in my life and my God, and I write to bring Him glory. I read for community; to be encouraged in what God is doing in my sisters in Him, and to likewise encourage them to continue in Him.

  8. "It threatens to hold us at arm's length from the real humans with whom we are interacting. " I love this sentence. I've said for a long time that I believe blogs are to this generation what soaps were to our mother's generation. If we get sucked in and "live life" through the computer we miss the opportunity to truly live life where we are... in real life. Now, I've "met" some great people through the internet (you), so it is all about moderation with wisdom. I write my blog to encourage and challenge the women I'm blessed to lead. If God chooses to expand that audience I will work to roll with it. If He doesn't, I will choose to be content with it.