Tuesday, October 30, 2018

social media quandaries, the good, the bad, and a disclaimer

Let's talk about blogs and social media for a minute.  

I've been out of the "social media" loop for a little while...doing my own little 10-day "fast" since that was encouraged by President Nelson as part of conference (which I wrote about back HERE).  And I think the jury is still out (at least to me) as to whether blogs are considered social media or not, maybe if they get people to feel a sense of comparison and inadequacy?  But really, who cares what the definition is...my point is that it wasn't just Instagram I didn't use for those ten days (although I've kind of been off of that for a while now...), but I also scheduled blog posts ahead of time so that I wasn't writing any of them either.  I did check in on comments, which was interesting (lots of interesting comments on this blog sometimes, and I do really appreciate the discussions and the varying perspectives on life that I learn so much from), but it was SO nice not to be putting so much time into creating posts.  I tell you, sometimes posts take way too long, and I don't care if they're considered "social media" or not, they sometimes detract me from looking into my husband and children's eyes and I'm trying to find a balance.

My girls joined me and when that 10-day period was through we discussed what we thought.  Did we like it?  Was it tough?  Did we keel over and die without all that extra stuff to look at?  Ha!  The answer is that yes, it was great, that part was unanimous, and no, none of us passed away from lack of social media.

But I thought it was interesting that all three of us (me, Grace and Claire) still found ourselves looking at our phones in other ways.  I answered more emails (maybe that's a good thing? ha!), Claire and Grace said they scrolled through pictures more, we all agreed we still wasted time on those little pocket computers of ours.  We all agreed that sometimes we use our phones as a way to excuse ourselves from what could be uncomfortable situations, and from talking face-to-face with others.  Of course, we wasted time before phones were a "thing," and I think there's nothing wrong with a little downtime to unwind.  But personally I still think my phone takes me away from what I want to get out of life.  This is totally me, others may have found the perfect balance, but I'm here, still looking.

So, my latest "conclusion" is what we already know, just good old common sense: there's good and bad in social media and technology.  It has the power to distract us from the here and now, and the most important things in life, but it also has the power to connect us in ways we never imagined in years past.  I cannot express how much I love our group family text, and our family "marco polo" where we get to see little snippets into each other's lives, stretching from here in the desert...maybe Grace or Claire at lunch at the high school or Lucy's elementary school Halloween party...to Hawaii and Utah (I love that Abby's on those now too)..to Dave on a plane traveling home from China. Then in Dave's extended family we use GroupMe, and in my extended family we use What'sApp.  (I know, way too many things to keep track of, but it just worked out that way.) What a cool opportunity to be able to stay in touch.  And FaceTime?  Boy howdy, that's a pretty awesome invention.  

So how do we keep the good parts and get rid of the bad?  I guess everyone will have their own answer on that one.

In my quest to find my own personal answers and to focus on what's most important I often wonder about this blog and whether it is something I should still spend so much time on.   I love that it is my personal journal, but I do worry sometimes that if it's distracting me just writing the dang thing, perhaps it's got to be distracting others as well.  I know through the years people have commented that it looks like I have it all together here, and that makes them feel bad, and that's not good...that's back to the social media comparing when we see something online that looks all fine and dandy and we don't see the blood and sweat and tears that went into making it look so awesome.  I really do try to "keep it real" here, and sometimes (a lot of time) I think I share too much real-ness.  And as my children get older, the amount of the "ugly" I can share starts to dwindle in order to protect the not-so innocent.  

So, sure, I've gone through all kinds of wondering as to whether I should make it private, whether I should just put things directly into a Blurb book to keep our family history situated (family history is first and foremost why I started and keep this blog in the first place), blah blah blah.

But when it comes right down to it, I keep on keeping on over here in this corner of the Internet, because I think one thing I really love most about social media in general, (and this blog is no exception), is how much power it has to open us up to other perspectives.  

Other ways of living.  

I think it helps us learn from everyone's stories...because yes, everyone has their own, coming from such varying backgrounds.  Oh how much I've learned on this little corner of the internet from the people I've "met" here! Yes, sometimes people read things here that make them angry or upset, and they're not afraid to voice that.  And sure, I've had to delete a few comments here and there, the ones that tear down and don't create the feeling of trying to understand each other that I want to foster here.  But for the most part I am so grateful for the ones that are kind and supportive right along with the ones that are mad at me, because I've learned so much!  The bottom line it that this form of "social media" or whatever you want to call it, has given me so much more perspective in such a unique way and I'm grateful. I hope it's done the same for readers who come here.  We can all learn so much from each other!

So here I am.  Adding a little disclaimer...I may be a little more raw and more unpolished as I try to whittle down the time I spend at my desk (especially with a wedding on the horizon).  Those ten days off were so great, but I still want to keep this family record!  So I apologize in advance if I say things that may unintentionally hurt someone's feelings or offend.  Please continue to let me know if I do, and let's keep learning from one another!

39 comments:

  1. I love your blog so much :) I've been following along since 2011 when my kids were just newborns and I've learned so much from you and your family. I cannot express all the good and inspiring ways you have touched my life and as a result my family's. Please keep sharing - you are light on the internet :)

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  2. Thanks for common sense writing. I have followed for years and enjoy your perspective. Keep journaling. It helps others.

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  3. Your blog is great.

    I've been following it for quite a few years now & really look forward to the updates.

    I hope you never stop blogging.

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  4. Thanks for continuing to share! I've been following for at least 5 or 6 years now, and I love your perspective on life, and how it continues to evolve as your kids grow and change. My oldest is Lucy's age, so I especially love the parenting stories about older kids--I'm storing those ideas in my head as my kids grow.

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  5. Whew! Thought you were going to say you are not going to blog anymore and am grateful you decided to continue. I have a special needs child as well and feel so much support from reading your wise words. Thank you for taking the time and for putting it out there for people like me.

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  6. I'm glad you're going to continue to write here - I look so very forward to your perspective. I can't imagine how it must feel to receive the snarky comments, but I'd still encourage you to just share what you want, how you want, and the naysayers are welcome to click away. Thankful for you! xo

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  7. Please keep it up, you are a light in my day !

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  8. I look forward to reading this blog everyday. I would be sad if you stopped writing. I love your family and all you do.

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  9. I don't comment much, but I've been reading your blog for years. Our families aren't very alike, our lives aren't too similar, but I appreciate and enjoy getting your perspective on things. As you said, the more we can all hear from/read about others, the better! I'm glad you aren't closing the doors. :)

    I know how you feel about the lack of communication being a big hurdle in giving up social media. My husband is from another country, so all of my in-laws live overseas (some might consider me very fortunate in that regard, ha!), and Facetime and Whatsapp are so important for keeping connected. And my daughter currently does not have access to her phone (grades aren't too great right now) and I find I really miss seeing her "social media" perspective of life - the things she finds interesting enough to post/take a photo of, her silly antics with her friends, etc. There is so much of social media that can be awful but it also keeps us connected in ways that are really important and special.

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    1. I agree...it's so tough to find the balance. I think it just takes constant re-evaluation, and that's what I like so much about taking a little "fast" every now and again.

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  10. I love reading your blog, I hope you know that you bring joy to some, you bring help to some and you inspire some. We would all be sad if we couldn't read your blog. Thanks to your and your family for allowing us into your lives.

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  11. Hi Shawni - I just wanted to say thank you for everything you've shared with us. I know it can't always be easy finding the time to write and having strangers criticize your life. But, I've really appreciated your corner of the internet. I've followed your blog for maybe 7 years now and I've learned so many valuable lessons from you and your family. We've even adopted some of the ideas you've shared. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You've helped grow with light and love.

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  12. I've appreciated your perspective and knowledge over the past probably 10 years. I have 4 children just younger than your 5. It has helped me tremendously. If ever in a funk when my kids were smaller, all I had to do was read your blog and it would light me right up, improve my mood and give me the right perspective! Now I'm learning and growing in other ways like you can't imagine. I feel like you are accomplishing more than you realize on this blog. Someday I hope you will see (maybe in the life to come) what an impact you've had on so many and especially me as a mother/wife. I also know the balance you are seeking to find. I hope you find that. Sending much love from my little corner in Northern Nevada!😘 Thank you for all of it!!

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  13. I don't really comment here often but I just wanted to say how much I've appreciated your blog over the years. Whatever direction you decide to take it in I think is great because it's YOURS and yours alone. I just feel lucky that I've gotten to learn so much from you as well as the comments on here over the years! Thank you as always for your thoughtful writing!

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  14. I, as well, love your blog and appreciate everything you say and post about. I have put a lot of your suggestions/traditions into practice in my own home, as we didn't have many traditions growing up. Your blog is the only blog I follow, so I am grateful you're continuing to write!

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  15. I’ve been reading your blog since around 2012 when a friend told me about it and I’ve learned so much since my oldest is a little older than Lucy. You (and your family) have given me ideas we’ve implemented in so many areas—in teaching our kids about sex, money, technology, and family culture in general. All that said, I hear what you’re saying. I’ve had a blog for 10 years that I still update (not very often) and thankfully no one reads it so I don’t have the worries about comments and things that you deal with. I love that I have that record and so do my kids. I have whittled down the blogs I follow to less than 5 because I think too much focus on others’ lives is a negative thing for me. But, yours is one I read because I feel like it’s a net positive for me. I just wanted to say I appreciate your effort and the community of followers who read and comment here. I appreciate the way you live your life and parent with intention and seek to broaden your perspective. I hope you continue but will understand if at some point you choose not to. Much love from Northern CA!

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  16. I love your blog for many reasons, and I do have to tell you that part of the reason I keep returning is that you do keep it real and raw and I love that. I think you already do a great job of sharing the realities of life, and it is very refreshing. I understand of course that you might need to spend a little less time, so if your posts are not perfectly polished, that is just fine with me, I'll keep reading! I do hope that you know though, that I come to your blog not as a source of time wasting, but as a resource and a place to find a new or different way of looking at things. I'm not a Mormon (I know RMN is trying to get away from that term now, apologies) and I'm a working Mom to two young kiddos, and you always make me think about the world and different ways of living. I love deliberate mothering, I love that you treasure your marriage, and I love that you are honest about balance. That is why I come here. So don't put pressure on yourself, you're one of the few bloggers that can be a nice place for all sorts of types of people and while I respect that you need to spend less time, I'd want you to know that you really do make an impact. Your deliberate approach is refreshing, so I wanted to encourage you, no matter which path you take.

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  17. I too have been reading for a long time.. probably 8 years! You are the only blog I read. I am so so very thankful for the light you have shed on parenting. I have adapted so many of your ideas into my family and I cant thank you enough! I am so glad you will continue to share with us. xo

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  18. Why were only the women encouraged by the president to fast from social media for the 10 days? Why not the men too?

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    1. Months ago the youth were encouraged and not the adults. Does everyone have to abstain at the same time?

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    2. How many men (older men, not youth) are really on social media compared to women? My husband won’t touch any social media with a ten foot pole! The number of men on social media is much less than women. I’ve been wanting to ditch Facebook for awhile and that was the kick I needed. I definitely can live without it.

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    3. In the Women’s conference a couple of weeks ago, President Nelson challenged the women/ girls specifically to do the 10 day fast.

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  19. I look forward to reading your blog every day. The only blogs I read are yours and Charity's. I hope you don't stop blogging or make it private. As I'm just starting to grow my own family, I find the old posts helpful and reassuring. Aside from parenting, I also enjoy reading about your family traditions, travel, perspective on life and even the religious posts can be interesting and uplifting (as a non-mormon). All of it has added value to my life and I'm sure many others.

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  20. Can I just say thank you to you and your family for continuing to share a piece of themselves in this little part of the blogging world?! I started following almost 10 years ago as a brand new mom who was trying to figure out life and now I'm a mom of five still trying to figure stuff out, but so many of your thoughts and practical examples of parenting have been an enormous help. I actually have a son, followed by four girls, with the first two very close together like Max and Elle. I know your life is not perfect, but it gives me hope that I can survive and do good for my children and they will turn out okay. So thank you!! Honestly, your blog is the only one I even read on a regular basis. You have a talent for communicating your heart. Please continue to share it!

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  21. Yours is one of two blogs I read. I followed President Nelson's counsel to do a 10 day social media fast. I also decided to refrain from reading the news and watching Netflix. I noticed a significant decrease in my stress level. It became more clear to me that the reason I read your blog is because it's a positive space and you share and are a light. Thank you for what you share and who you are.

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  23. So glad you're not going to stop blogging!!! I've been reading for 9 years (!!!) since I was an engaged student at BYU to now a Mom of 3 living abroad. It is literally the only blog I read. So, thanks. Thanks for blogging and sharing and keeping on with this little slice of the internet that I really, really enjoy :)

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  24. I can't believe I've followed you since China (and before) and now Lucy is so much older. You've mailed me a Book of Morman. I'm not married, no kids, live in Australia. You give me a glimpse of a different life - where motherhood is front and centre. So often I wonder about it - about your life choices, and how you can do what you do, as I know you had a Hashimotos diagnosis, long before mine, but MAN do I struggle with energy levels with it. I continue to come here, year on year, every post I read. I seldom comment, but am delighted when you've replied (most recently to my comment on Max's engagement and how speedy it was).

    I'm a tracking nerd, and in the past 6 weeks, I've started tracking who I 'chat' with and who I see 'face to face' in a list of friends. It's to help me reconnect with those I've allowed distance to draw too far, but also look at who I most commonly interact with. I've chosen NOT to get insta or snapchat, when they came out or since then. I have multiple chat streams, like you, FB, viber, Whatsapp. I have Facebook, and a languishing blog. And two dating accounts. It's more than enough and often too much. And then reading blogs emailed to me (most), checking the handful that don't, listening to podcasts and reading articles and watching videos I save for later on Facebook. It's sometimes overwhelming, but again, I've started to write down, by hand, what I learn from this reading/watching/listening.

    Thanks for your contribution to the internet. Sometimes I dream I meet you, or am part of your wide family. They are always warm fuzzies.

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  25. I love your blog. I love your blog readers, and especially those who leave comments. I am so grateful for the insight freely shared in this beautiful space. I love that you cover such diverse subjects and it is written so beautifully. It inspires me to record my own daily life with 3 daughters, one of which has sensory processing disorder. The person that recommended that book a few posts ago not only helped you, but helped me, too. My life the past 4 years has been a daily struggle to help my 8 yr old. Your blog, and the comments shared have buoyed me up and kept me afloat at times.so thank you, Shawni..and to all that comment. I really love this community of people that come to learn and share!

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  26. I also come to your blog, as others said, as a resource--helped me figure out how to do a family theme, family rules, family traditions, etc. Please keep it up!

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  27. I'm so glad you are willing to share your thoughts with us. It is a positive place that I feel encouraged and inspired to keep going and striving to do better. thank you!!

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  28. I too really enjoy your blog! I’m a member of the church but your kids are older than mine (my oldest is between Claire and Lucy) and your perspective helps me better navigate these years of older kids. I always look forward to your posts. I appreciate that your posts are real while still being positive.

    I did the social media fast as well and while I didn’t miss using social media as much as I thought I would, I found myself still picking up my phone a lot, just like you did. I also concluded that there is actually a lot of value in social media. It can be a way we minister to one another. Not that it should replace real-life connection, but I do think we should actively engage in social media instead of consume it passively when we do use it (actually comment on posts instead of scroll through or double-tap everything, share meaningful and encouraging thoughts through our own posts).

    Anyway - thanks for sharing your thoughts and thanks for blogging; I enjoy reading!

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  29. Oh gosh, I'm blushing and so grateful for all these kind comments! I was going to reply to every one of them but I figured that would get a little redundant, so here I am to say THANK YOU for all those thoughts and perspectives. Sometimes it's just good to know others are there in the trenches of figuring out life right alongside you.

    Lots of love,
    Shawni
    xoxo

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  30. I have learned a million good things from your blog! Please never stop writing and sharing. You and your family are such a light in this world! You INSPIRE the rest of us to LOVE each other better. It's your GIFT that I hope you never stop sharing!

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  31. I’m so glad you’re still blogging Shawni! I’ve learned so many great things from you; I think I started following you around the time you painted your kitchen cabinets white in your old house! I have 4 kids- the same ages as your 4 oldest and I just think it’s so important to know that we moms all are going through the same highs and lows! Your blog is a place where I find that, so thank you for being an encourager and for being real!

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  32. Thank you for the impact you’ve made in my own life as you have shared your big, feelings, thoughts with us. I love it and gladly look forward to each post you post.

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  33. Love Love Love your thoughts here. Many of us have been here for years (I started reading your blog in 2007!) and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned and implemented in my own family become of something I’ve read here. None of us are perfect, that’s for sure, but we have so so much to gain from each other, and I do hope you stick around! ��

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