Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Reality of Social Media

There's been some conversation on social media about how people are stressed out trying to make their lives 'perfect' like the people they follow.

I know that it is easy to fall into the trap of comparison.  For me its not comparing my life to theirs, but comparing my business opportunities to theirs.  However, the more longer I've been at blogging (almost 11 years) the clearer my thinking has become.

I have three goals in my social media usage.

ONE - Hospitality.  In our real life we practice hospitality a lot.  Some of it stems from having teenagers in the house (who've grown up with hospitable parents).  Last week there were several movie nights here, and last night there was a huge game night. There were nearly 20 young people here.  That's a lot of loud!  But they had fun, and the girls cleaned up afterward!  Win!

Hospitality is messy and I don't always show you photos of that.  

Two - Friendship.  I want to be a friend to the people who frequent my blog and Instagram.  This world can be a lonely place, I want Creekside Cottage to be a warm and welcoming spot.

I keep it real, but in all honesty, I'm not going to talk about when my husband and I have a disagreement or when my kid has a bad attitude.  Those are private issues, and people don't need to know that.  I do however, talk about hormonal teens, in general, or the fact that we all have areas of challenges in life.  Sometimes I talk about it more openly than other times, it depends on the issue.  And I want to be real because life is hard, and we need each other to walk through it.

Three - Encouragement.  This is a biggie for me.  My love language is words of affirmation.  I need to hear encouraging things regularly and I love offering that to you!

I want to encourage you in your parenting, your married life, your grandparenting, your struggles, making your home a welcoming place.

But just because I don't show you that some of my clothes are folded up on top of my dry sink in the basement - 

Its because this is temporary while we are sleeping in the basement, and because I don't want you to think we are somehow 'amazing' people because we are doing this.

I don't want to ever give the idea that when I share my life, I'm bragging or trying to make my life seem better than yours.

I struggle with selfishness and I am learning new lessons all the time about dying to self.  I'm in the middle of learning this in a new way, right now.

Social media can be wonderful.  I use it for fun and keeping in touch with friends, and blogging besties.  But I leave the rest behind.  I don't need more drama in my life, do you? 

People act like social media can't be controlled.  Of course it can, and you're the one to do it.  You choose who you follow, and why, you choose to step away from the computer and your phone.  

I think most of you know this and use social media wisely.  You work, you have your homes to care for and your family.  You have kids and grandkids to be involved with.  Real life.

I also want to share the process I use, and why, when I show a photo.  I'll use these photos of myself.

I took several photos of myself while I was waiting in the car the other day. (Our friend has PT three times a week and I have lots of waiting time)

 I liked the second one better - the angle I think and so I shared it on Instagram, but not before I used a filter to fix the color.

Here's the photo that showed on Instagram.

I'm vain enough to want to look my best, but not vain enough that I airbrush out freckles on my lips or my laugh lines.

When it comes to sharing photos of my house, I sometimes do show the mess that comes after hosting people, or the dishes in the sink, but only if it is part of the story I'm telling in the blog post.  Otherwise I assume you have enough dishes in your own sink and don't really want to see mine!

Just know that I will continue to show you my cottage garden flowers, but I'll also show you the weeds and talk about how I'm not a fan of the weeding that needs to happen in order to have a pretty garden.

Deal?  Good!  I think being authentic and sharing your life with others is important.  How much to share can be a challenge, and we need to be wise about giving out TMI (too much information), but it honesty and authenticity is important in friendship.  I'm so happy you're hear every day, and I hope you find Creekside Cottage a place of encouragement!  

What are your thoughts on social media.  Let's talk in the comments!


  1. I think it can be poisonous, like those teen fashion magazines when we were younger. Nothing like reading about models when you are getting childbearing hips! ;-)

    I like the encouragement angle here. It is one of my 'love languages' too!

    Also, love the red wall. I have the same color in a room of my house!

    Btw, pics look fab. :)

  2. May I just say that I appreciate the way you invite us to chat in comments? I was not terribly successful at having my commenters do that, but I loved when they did. (Now I’ll have to revisit comments.)

    I am tempted to say that I don’t use social media, but that would be ridiculous. For me, staying away from FB has proven a good thing. I am constantly prodded to participate, but never will. Way too much drama for me.

    So true that many stories are not ours to tell; however, if I discussed a post with John, he often gave me permission to use the material, especially if humor was included. There was just one time when he asserted his right to privacy and there are stories where he would say, “I trust you to tell that story, just wait until I’m gone.”

    Now I enjoyed seeing the clothing! 🙂

    1. I have most of my clothes hanging in the laundry room, which is downstairs as well. I hope we can continue to talk in the comments. Its run and since some commenters are no-reply commenters, it helps to have a place to reply to them!

  3. Sometimes a person who blogs goes through some incredibly difficult issues with their family, and says absolutely nothing about it directly, it is just obvious through the pictures shared, and inferences in the text. I understand TMI and wanting to maintain privacy, but in this case, where things are obviously wrong, and not addressed AT ALL, except the emotions come through in the most benign of posts and we who read are stuck, realizing what we read is in fact the trauma speaking, but not being able to address it at all because the blogger obviously does not want to. I quit following this blog I'm referring to, after reading it for years because it became to frustrating and I found myself getting angry at the attitudes of the blogger while knowing they flowed from the ongoing situations that no one every spoke of. Messy, unpleasant, a real dark side to the balance between keeping it real and keeping it private.

    1. I hear you. Sometimes it less than helpful or encouraging and almost makes you feel as if they like drama. But it is a fine line between what is right for me to share, etc. If I can't share the details and we are really affected by something, I may just say "I'm struggling with something I'm not able to talk about. Please pray for me."

    2. Now that is fascinating! And it has happened to me in my blog reading as well (probably my own blogging, too.) I know that it is frustrating. One can only hope, that in some way, just the act of writing it down was helpful, though it flies in the face of the usual directive for good writing...”go there” or don’t, but do not hint around.

    3. I have found myself in this place more than once. It seems dishonest to not mention a struggle or dark time at all. But (at the risk of being redundant), not all stories that affect me are mine to tell. My parents, for example, are very private (I think I startle my mom sometimes by the things I share . . . and, believe me, I don't believe myself to be oversharing at all), so I have to be careful not to invade their privacy. I am also careful not to share my adult children's struggles, or those of my extended family. Once it is out there, it is out there and words cannot be retracted. People have the right to not have their stories broadcast without their permission.

      Personally, I would rather have someone be vague or ask for prayer rather than feel like I am eavesdropping on their own personal drama! I don't want to hear you rant about your husband or tell me personal details about your son's medical issue. Please don't!

      (Okay, I'll stop. I always ramble when it gets too late.)

  4. Hi Deanna, I feel as if you are my friend and my family. I look forward to reading your blog every day. I also feel the same way about many of the Creekside Cottage Friends listed in the sidebar. You are right, the world is a lonely place, and I have found that people are too busy to be friends in real life anymore. I thank you for all the times you have made me laugh, made me cry, encouraged me, and helped grow my faith. You are my friend, even though you don't know me and I thank you for your love. Maureen ---I have never commented before, but I just had to today!!!!

    1. Maureen,
      Thank you for these precious words. I am so glad that you feel welcomed, loved, and cared about. Thank you for commenting!

  5. Deanna, I love this post! I so agree with you about the social media thing...I do like my facebook but sometimes just cringe when I see the drama that some people are posting...OR just to let you know how bad their day was!! Really?? Like you, I want to post positive, encouraging things and share my photos with others. Facebook has helped me to make better connections with all of my family members too...just about everyone lives far away from me and I have even gotten to know some of my nieces and nephews better through communicating on there. You are absolutely correct....we CAN control social media because we do it what we choose to! I just wish more of my blogging buds were on facebook! By the way, your selfies are adorable.:D

    1. You're so sweet! Thanks!

      I have an extended family member whose whole life in unnecessary drama. FB is her place to vent. I sometimes have to block seeing her posts, I do not unfriend!

      I keep in touch with cousins, I never knew in real life, friends and family who all live in other states, through FB and Instagram. I'm thankful for those social media platforms for those reasons!

  6. I think Honesty is the best way to go, I may be too honest sometimes and need to be more tactful.
    I agree with you on all these points. I have a couple of things in my sink now, sometimes more. I get lazy and wait too long to unload the dishwasher! Great post Deanna!

    1. I understand! I've learned to bite my tongue and not engage in some conversations!

      Have a great weekend Sylvia!

  7. I love this post. Can I just say your blog is one of my favorite's? I check in quite often because your posts are so down to earth and genuine.

  8. Being 'real' is the only way to live. I control my social media as to who can see my 'stuff.' I don't do drama and I don't do controversy and very little politics. I share my life - the good as well as the concerns. I share my faith and I hope I share my joy. The thing is....all we really have to share boils down to our influence. We are who we are because of what God has done for us. I don't think we can go wrong when we share that.

  9. I love this discussion! You are great at keeping it real, Deanna! I think that anyone who reads your blog can "feel" the authenticity . . . and since we are "real life friends," I can say with assurance that you are the same person here in cyberspace that you are in real life.

    So, yes, I agree that our blogs or other social media are not the forum to vent personal problems. I once read a blogger who referred to that as a form of gossip. That is great food for thought. Would I really want to dishonor anyone in my family by sharing their struggles publicly? (Of course, if I want to share my own struggles, then that's a different thing.)

    When it gets right down to it, any good that we have is only by His grace. I hope that is what people see when they visit my blog, or Facebook, or Instagram: His grace!

    1. That is good food for thought. For me I try to just not mention things if its not my story to tell. Or I say what I can. But I don't want to lead to speculation on my readers' part either.

      I'm thankful for His Grace every single day!

  10. I am not a fan of social media at all. If I didn't have a blog, I wouldn't even be on Facebook and sometimes I think about leaving it altogether anyway. Your thoughts are my thoughts. I try to conduct myself on the blog and on social media as I do in real life, interacting with kindness and honesty. I hope that's how it comes across to others. Great post!!

  11. This is a good post, Deanna. I agree with many of your commenters, and especially Cheryl said what I would say so well, so I'll just say "ditto" to Cheryl. I am really tired tonight so won't type any more. LOL.

  12. Had a long comment and it just vanished... :( Trying it again!

    I use FB and instagram. On FB I am only friends with family members and some friends from childhood/college/grad school. (I'm still in grad school, but being in my final year now I have a lot of friends who have already graduated.) If I don't know you IRL I won't be your friend on FB, and I am also willing to block posts from friends if I know that what they post is consistently negative/drama/will make me angry. I use it to stay in touch with people, albeit in a superficial way. I do take the time to email FB friends periodically for a more in-depth conversation. Instagram I use because I love taking nature pictures and I love seeing what pictures other people post. I also have a bunch of international pen pals who always want to see pictures of where I live. Since I don't have a color printer it's an easy way to share pictures with them. On IG I only follow people I already know in some way (IRL or pen pals) or people who I know only post beautiful/edifying things. (I follow you and you fall into that latter category. :-) )

    Finally, I want to end by saying that I love your blog. It is such a kind, welcoming, lovely place to visit online.


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  Here is what our cottage looked like last year in late autumn. This year we have only two sections of picket fencing up, and the ramp from...