The other day I set my mom up with an Instagram account and I told her to take a picture.
She did, and then asked me, “What should I say?”
This really got me thinking. I thought about social media, how it’s used and how I use it.
I’m all over on social media. I love Twitter and Instagram. I love sharing quotes and showing my journey with handstands and my personal yoga practice. I love reaching out into the beautiful yoga community and talking about inspiration and service and how we need to come back to our breath more than most of us do on a daily basis.
But, that isn’t always the case.
I know I am guilty of quickly logging onto Twitter to post something, anything, because I haven’t been online all day and we all have a fear of being forgotten, of disappearing into the endless feed.
Even Oprah, who has talked very publicly about this, was afraid to take a break after she brought her show to a close. She decided to not take a break and she raced on ahead creating her network, because she was afraid the world would pass her by if she went quiet for even a few months.
Whether you’re amazingly successful at what you do or you’re still building your platform, there is the expectation of constant communication and availability to your community now, with the advances of technology. We post pictures of what we eat, what we say to our friends, we talk about that fight we had with our boyfriend or girlfriend, and we are always retweeting cute kitty pictures. Is this bad?
I don’t think it’s bad, but I do think we all need to take a moment to breathe, to come back to ourselves and refocus on what our messages really are.
So, going back to my mom, what should she say?
What should any of us say?
Here is a list of steps to take with any post, tweet, or status update you want to share to help you keep your voice on social media authentic:
One: Before you hit send, reread what you wrote. Would you say this to a friend? Is that how you really talk? There is a screen in front of you whether it’s your phone or the computer, but that screen shouldn’t become a mask between you and your audience.
Two: Ask yourself why you’re posting that picture or that tweet. Is it because it’s been 7 hours since you last updated, or because something happened that created a thought or feeling inside you that moved you to share it to others?
Three: Will you want to delete the post in an hour after you’ve had a chance to think about what you said? We all have crappy days where we feel like the world is out to get us. Maybe you have a horrible boss who is abusive with his language. Maybe you think your friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend is an asshole and you feel the need to tell someone since they’re not listening to you. Maybe you saw someone say something mean online and you want to comment. It doesn’t matter what it is, but if it doesn’t come from a place of love, is it something you really want to send out into the world?
Four: Does it open up a conversation? Are you posting a question, interesting point or a philosophical idea that can build a community and encourage friendly debate or support? It can be very easy to want to pull attention to that awesome handstand you did in your morning practice, and I’m not saying you can’t share those cool moments, but your personal posts should never outnumber the ones you share to inspire the light in all. Build up your community, not your ego.
Five: How is that post serving others? Even sharing a cute puppy picture is serving. Who doesn’t smile when they see those? Before hitting send, think about how your words or photo or video is helping those who see it.
Live well and serve well. Do all things with love and act with kindness and compassion.
You never know what’s really going on in someone’s life and finding your beautiful message could change their day, maybe even transform their life.
Every post you share has the power to create change. Make sure that change is something positive.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Stacy Porter
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s Own