The case for: social media

Dear reader,

Over the years, I’ve battled with *why* I should be on social media. Why should I share my life to an arguably unknown audience? Why should I spend more time looking at my screen. You know the thought pattern.

But now more than ever I’m realising that it’s increasingly important to speak up. To understand the responsibility and value of having an audience (of any size) and to leave notes for each other.

It’s a really beautiful thing to create an *offline* life that feels right to us, say an abundant, resourceful, low impact life. But if we live in a bubble and only speak into an echo-chamber, we’ll affect no real change outside of it. If we speak up and defend what we value, we’re contributing to the collective intelligence, which is critical in this time of great change.

We need to leave a trail of bread crumbs for each other, and that’s all it needs to be I reckon, just tid-bits. We can’t get hung up on not being an *expert* in something we want to speak about. We all have gifts to give, expert or not. There’s a whole University of Youtube out there, and numerous actual experts to fill in the gaps. I think the grandest thing about social media is becoming inspired and triggering that little voice that says… “what did she say?… seaweed tea for the garden…I’m going to look that up!”

My social media of choice is Instagram. I’m on Facebook too, but I’ve really pared it back recently to make sure I get what I want out of it. I’m only friends with my immediate family and I have no photos. I’m really only there to follow a couple of permie groups and manage our farm page. It’s otherwise far too noisy for me. But I think all of this applies to the full spectrum of social networks, Youtube and blogging too.

Let’s talk about the three C’s, creating, connecting and consuming, for a minute. When the terms ‘social media dopamine engineer’ or ‘data mining’ are bandied about, I’m the first one to question my presence on social media. I totally get that mindless scrolling and constantly checking for new likes is addictive. It’s easier to pick up the phone than face the hard truths of the day. But there are three ways to use social media, to consume, to create and to connect. I try to make sure I do more of the latter two than the former, otherwise it’s dopamine engineers 1, Nat 0. To indulge in creating and connecting (and not so much consuming) is to have agency over your presence online.

For the first time ever, we, the great unwashed, have the ability to create our own public media. We don’t have to cause a major kerfuffle or be world-class at something to get mainstream media attention. When we feel like we have something to offer, we can DIY! We can speak up on our own channels.

So I will continue to speak up. And I’ll continue to champion others I follow who are doing the same thing. The interwebs has some serious flaws but if we use it for change-making, leading, educating and sharing laffs, it’s a tool for good.

It’s essential to be an enthusiast in life and use our influence to make a positive impact.

Yours from the information superhighway,

Nat xx

PS. Here’s a great quote I heard today about leaving notes for each other…

“Now is the time to be writing a journal, and taking note of what we’re observing, because these will be valuable lessons that will inform our design decisions in the future as well as the design decisions that future generations make… don’t waste this crisis.” — Rob Avis, a permaculture practitioner from Calgary, Canada. Listen to Rob Avis speaking about how to creatively responding to a crisis on The Permaculture Podcast here.

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