I have mixed feelings about social media. On the one hand, I think it’s a useful tool and good for connecting people. But your girl grew up on a farm. We had dial-up until I went to college, which is also when my parents got DirectTV. We weren’t allowed to watch TV before 6PM, which didn’t really matter because we had maybe 4 channels. We didn’t even get PBS until 2000 or so. It was like some assistant who worked for the TV channel people left it off, then all of a sudden was all, “oops,” and then flipped the PBS switch on our antenna. Let’s just say that I am highly dubious about the nebulous world of technology.
I like things I can hold in my hands and people I can see face to face. So when my digital strategy dudes explained that they would be using my instagram to interact with all sorts of randos, I got really squirrely (fact: I’m still feeling very weird about it). Honestly, the whole thing makes me want to live in a cave and send my content via carrier pigeon for someone else to deal with. But it’s still my name, and I’m having a hard time letting someone else do all of this stuff behind my name. It feels very vulnerable. And when I feel vulnerable, I tend to bury my head in the sand and wait for it all to pass. *Regina George voice* Why are you so obsessed with me?
But I’m also a sucker for efficiency. And y’all algorithms make annoying social media SO efficient. Whatever these dudes are doing is absolutely working. They’ve managed to get me 859 followers on my new Instagram account in just over a week. Which is really cool. It’s also making things easy for me and I don’t trust things that are easy. There has to be a cost, right?
For me, everything has a thousand ethical layers. I value nuance and context and authenticity. I feel like Chidi in The Good Place, neurotically obsessing over the million contingencies and the implications of every micro-action. I don’t know these Instagram people. I can’t hold a count of followers in my hands. Therefore it feels out of my control, and that makes me truly crazy.
I can’t control how all of these people I don’t know are going to react to me and my content. I can’t control what they read into my words. And for someone who is too controlling to trust anyone with most aspects of her business, I don’t like that. OK, I also can’t afford to take on anyone else right now. But it feels like the bigger things get, the bigger chance for mistakes and misinterpretation and plain old meanness. And that makes the perfectionist who controls 90% of my waking thoughts want to breathe into a paper bag.
“Write a book,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. (JK no one said this to me… by “they”, I really mean “me”…. also Jesus)
I think there’s something to be said for Jesus’ habit of taking a step back. We read about him going off by himself to pray pretty regularly. I’m really bad at doing this. I know that it will make me more centered and will help me make better decisions. But I always resist. Or I take a stress nap, this is when I’m so stressed about something that my body just shuts down and I have to take a nap. It was a favorite response of mine when I was preparing for an audition.
We live in a strange time where things can feel new and confusing. But I suppose that’s how time works. Everything is new and unfamiliar until it’s history and we have the luxury of hindsight. So for now, I’m just going to do the best I can from the most centered place I can and try to learn as I go. Or I’ll just go live in a hut on a deserted island. We’ll see.