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Social Media - Numbers Don't Define You

Yesterday morning I sat down in church and eagerly awaited for the service to begin, excited to hear the message that the guest pastor would be delivering. The topic of yesterday's service: addictions.

I'm sure most of you, like myself, immediately thought of addictions such as alcohol or drugs, and Pastor Kyle also acknowledged this. He also explained that addictions may not be visible to us at first and we may be oblivious to one that most people are affected by: social media.


As a social media influencer and blogger, a lot of my work (correction: most of my work) for Northern Prepster involves social media platforms. In the world of blogging and influencers, we base a lot of what we do off of our social media analytics, we gauge what our audience likes to see by the number of likes and comments we receive.

While sitting in church yesterday morning I found myself wondering how many times I check to see how many new followers or likes I've gained each day. I'm glad I don't know this number because odds are, I would probably be disgusted by it.

Yesterday's service was a wake-up call for myself. It made me realize just how much of a role social media plays in my life and that something needs to change. 

My Achilles heel is that I'm constantly seeking validation from others, and unfortunately an easy way for me to get that validation is via social media. For a while, I associated the number of likes I got to my worth on social media, which I've now realized couldn't be further from the truth. Likes on our photos provide us with that instant gratification and validation that we crave, but what we fail to realize at the moment is that in a couple of days, the gratification from those likes will be gone and we will be right back where we began.

In a world where likes and comments have such great power, it is easy to get discouraged when a post doesn't perform well. My engagement has dropped significantly over the last several weeks and it left me wondering what I was doing wrong. It took me a while to realize that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I was posting for me and that was enough. I wasn't posting everday, because I didn't have something to share everyday. I was posting photos that I loved, on my own time, not on the times that my analytics told me were best to post. I was posting for me. 

I'm embarrassed to admit that there have been countless times where I've omitted to post something because I didn't think my followers would like it or because it didn't go with my theme. Something is not right about that. If people are following me in the first place, that means that they like the content that I produce and share, so why should I be questioning whether or not they'll like it? We need to stop worrying about what others will think and do things because we like them and because we want to.


Does that photo make you happy? Do you have a funny story to share with it? Do you like it? Then post it. Don't worry about what anyone else will think. We need to realize that the little number next to that red heart doesn't really mean anything. It doesn't make you a better or worse person, it doesn't mean you have more or fewer friends, and it doesn't define your worth.

Who's really counting? How many times have you scrolled through your feed and looked at the number of likes someone else's photo has? Odds are you don't do this often (or maybe you do, just subconsciously?) No one is counting... or at least they shouldn't be, so why should you?

Ask yourself this: does a picture become better based on the number of likes it receives? Should the number of hearts underneath a photo change the way you feel about it?

I think we should all stop counting. Let's ignore that number beneath our photos. Here's an idea: post a photo and turn off your notifications. See if it changes the way you feel about the photo. It shouldn't.

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You are not defined by a number. 
Not by your ACT or SAT score and not by your GPA. Not by the number of likes your latest Instagram photo or tweet has or by the number of followers you have. Nor by the number of figures in your salary or the number on the scale. You can not quantify your worth and value. 

You and only you have the power to decide how the world sees you. Choose to define yourself by what you like, not by what you think the world will like. 



If you're like me and believe that numbers do not define us, I encourage you to share a photo that you love and use the hashtag #NumbersDon'tDefine. Don't think about anyone else's opinions on the photo, whether or not it matches your theme, or if the exposure is too high, if it makes you happy, I want you to share it. Together, let's remind others that our worth and value is not quantifiable.

xoxo,
Ri

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