Are you an influencer or are you just being influenced?

I’ve been listening to The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and Your Children Will Be Glad That You Did) by Philippa Perry and I have been loving it. I often listen to an hour or so to and from funerals or family visits so it’s taking me quite a long time to get through but that’s been brilliant as there is so much good stuff to process.

Last week Philippa touched on using mobile phones around your kids. What she said was pretty hard hitting and it made me think a lot about whether my kids are having to compete with my phone for my attention. I have always been desperate to make sure that they don’t feel like my work is more important than them but I am really aware that I do often write emails or do quick work-related tasks at their expense. And part of that issue is that the boundaries of what constitutes ‘work’ have blurred since I started blogging and writing and using my social media around all of that.

However, as I reflected this week I realised that it has all seeped out into my every day. Into the all day. I don’t just write a quick email or reply to a message then put my phone down. I do that and then I pop over to Instagram and scroll on through, or I check what’s happening on Facebook. I find it really hard not to be up-to-date with what’s sat in my inbox (across all the platforms) or what other people are up to.
But, would it really matter if I didn’t see what someone else was cooking until after they’d eaten it? Or if I saved reading those emails until I was actually focused once the kids were in bed?

I asked on my Instagram this week about where others were at with using their mobiles around their kids and a lot of people simply replied to say they were struggling too and would love tips (if you’ve got some I’d love them!) Then, yesterday I was at the Premier Digital Conference and in the last seminar of the day I listened to Joseph the Dreamer chat about social media (Instagram and Youtube mostly), the ‘influencers’, and how we’re using those platforms. There were two things that really struck me and spoke to exactly what I’ve been reflecting on over the last week or so.

Firstly, I don’t think there is any way to cut down my phone usage around my family without setting strict boundaries. Joseph shared how he schedules an hour 4.30-5.30 to do all those bits social media stuff, connecting with people, posting etc. I’ve tried deleting the apps but to be honest I just go to the webpage. I’ve turned off notifications which has helped me not to pick it up as much but I still go check anyway! So, I think I need to have a place I put my phone (when I’m with my family) and then only go get it when I’ve scheduled that time in. I’ve been putting this off because for my work as a funeral pastor I have to reply within 30 minutes to the message to say I’m available to take a funeral but to be honest if I turn my phone up loud I’m going to hear a text, it doesn’t need to be in my pocket at all times. So, after I publish this post I’ll be off to find a basket for our mobile devices to live when we’re intentionally not using them.

Secondly, I got to thinking about why am I using social media. Joseph asked:

Are you an influencer or are you just being influenced?

Are you just scrolling through social media without connecting with what you’re reading or looking at, or the people who posted it? How are those things influencing the way you think? Or, are you connecting in… influencing others through conversation? Sharing things that are thought-provoking and helpful? You can be an influencer without having thousands of followers, you can influence just one person by encouraging them. Are you sharing what you believe in and are passionate about? If you’re a Christian, are you sharing your faith?

My desire is that I use my social media to have honest conversation. To create space to talk about everything, particularly those topics that aren’t spoken about. I want to connect with people and encourage them, I want to use that space to share who I am and what I believe in. I want to be intentional. How about you?

In all honesty, I was having a ‘do I just delete all my accounts?’ type of week and instead I’ve come out of the week excited about how I can use social media less but use it better.

I’ll leave you again with that question which I loved so much yesterday. I’d love to know your thoughts on all of this.

Are you an influencer or are you just being influenced?

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