Struggling Forward
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Struggling Forward

Why Am I Doing This? And What Does it Mean for You?

Questioning Writing, Social Media, and The Online World

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This week I was hacked. My site received the gift of additional lines of code so it would redirect to some online garbage pages. It was infuriating to say the least. My personal online home base had been attacked. My anger was only encouraged by the small sense of fear I felt with such an attack too.

It was frustrating.

But I am back up and running with a fresh security program and code. It only took a couple of focused hours, which I was stuck doing during my lunch time at work. But it is fixed and I feel a sense of relief.

While talking through it a little bit with my wife, we came to the point that it can be fixed just like anything else. And then, my wife posed a question, mostly to herself, but it sparked some profound thinking for me. What was her question?

“Why am I on Instagram?”

We talked about it for a while. It is easy to get caught up in showing a perfect life. But life isn’t always perfect. In fact, some days it is down right terrible. And yet we post happy pictures about life in the midst of torment and difficulty.

Why are we posting what we post? Is it contributing to the world positively or feeding this machine of narcissism and fake realities? We really started thinking about our Instagram accounts and I went a step further.

What does this mean for me?

I have been writing for just over a year consistently now. And during that time, I have gone through peaks and valleys of writing milestones and delusional visions of greatness. I don’t have 1,000 Medium followers, or 10,000 email subscribers, or a published book. But I sure want those milestones.

But my wife’s questions got me thinking, what does all this online platform mean for me?

Am I doing this to help other people?

Or am I doing this to feed my ego?

Over the last few days I have been analyzing my social media accounts. What have I been sharing? Is it helpful? Is it about me? What I found is a transformation is beginning to occur. I am starting to move from all about me and my life to how my life might help others.

That might sound the same, however, the difference is in who I am focusing on. Am I focusing on me or others?

Why Am I Writing?

Most of us write because we have a message. We have something to say that just cannot stay inside us. In my life, I have always been fascinated with words on the page and how best to communicate in writing.

And there has always been a desire to write. To create something and share it with the world. Most writers I have learned have felt this desire. And it is not a bad desire. In fact, I think it might even be a God given desire.

I write for me. And for others.

I believe that everyone can live intentionally by finding purpose, creating direction, and taking action. I believe this can be done within the confines of our faith, self, relationships, and the outpour of our life.

I write because I need to and because I have a message to share. And I am learning it is a message people want to hear and are in the process of learning a lot about themselves.

I write because I want to help people live intentionally.

Why am I on Social Media?

This one was confusing to me. I currently live in a torn, war-like state about social media. Part of me knows Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are places to share my writing. To get my message out there. And that is good.

And then there is another part of me that is on social media for attention and competition. I want lots of followers, likes, hearts, and shares. I desire those things because it ‘validates’ what I have to say. And I like the attention.

What I have learned from my war against pride and ego about social media is there is good and bad behavior.

✅ GOOD

  1. Sharing my writing to help others.
  2. Sharing my accomplishments to encourage others.
  3. Sharing the writing and works of others.
  4. Sharing my real life with discernment.
  5. Helping connect people to others and other ideas.

❌ BAD

  1. To make myself feel good about myself.
  2. To compete with friends or family about cool things I have.
  3. Sharing food unnecessarily.
  4. Spamming friends, family, and colleagues for followers and likes.
  5. Because I want to look good.

These are all reasons I have posted on social media. Looking back at all the posts, it is unbelievable the mix of good and bad. I do believe I have started to learn to do more good than bad, but it is a work in progress.

And I think we all are learning about this more and more.

Why do I engage the online world?

There are a lot of haters out there. People who hop online to teardown others for whatever the reason really gets me down. Why do we do this to ourselves? And then of course there are the moments when someone’s perfect blog posts goes viral and it is so close to one of mine.

Sometimes the online world stings. It throws salt in the wounds of our souls and strings us out over a virtual field of emotions.

Why do I do this to myself?

“Craggy snow-covered mountains stretching to the horizon during sunset” by Alessandro Sacchi on Unsplash

Because there is a lot of beauty online.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy Medium so much. There are so many stories of people who are showing love to each other and encouraging each other. There are communities we wouldn’t otherwise have access to in our geographical location.

The online world has opportunities we wouldn’t have had and many didn’t have decades ago. It is truly amazing!

What does this mean for you?

My question becomes your question? Why are you writing? What is keeping you on social media? Where is your online community? Does any of this make a difference to you?

I think if you are creative and you have dreams you want to reach, one of the best avenues to try and reach those dreams is online.

You can learn almost anything on YouTube.

Facebook has interest groups on almost every subject (I found one about Pomeranian’s 🐶).

Twitter is connecting people to their favorite authors.

And Instagram is connecting people to similar lifestyles and dreams.

There are so many positives to all of this. And we don’t want to miss out on them. But we do need to ask the hard questions. Is this 100% about me? Or am I doing this to help others? It can be both, but it gets really lonely when it is only about ourselves.

What is your experience with writing online, social media, and the online world? Are you writing for yourself or for others? Do you feel the online world pulling you down or lifting you up? Share in the responses below.

This article was published in Struggling Forward. Struggling Forward is a community, which helps each other to go through the struggle on the way towards our dreams.

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