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Breaking Up with Social Media

6/26/17

Personal

COMMENTS:

DATE:

15

Three months ago, I was having a conversation with my friends about how frustrated I was with the state of social media. Everything looked the same. Every post was hand-selected, curated, and styled. Every avenue for connection was restricted by rules, best practices, and aesthetics. A world I used to love had grown empty and overwhelming.

Breaking up with Social Media | Natalie Franke

The worst part is that I was contributing to the problem. Looking at my own channels, my frustration only grew. I was no different than the trends I had grown tired of watching. I knew that I needed to do something different, however I had grown paralyzed by fear. I was playing it safe.

Somewhere along the way, I had grown exhausted of navigating social media.

Going with the current had become my shield from criticism. I knew that the only way to prevent myself from getting hurt was to avoid doing anything brave enough to rock the boat. I had grown afraid of truly sharing my heart because I knew that someone was on the other side of the screen was waiting with a nasty message or hateful comment. I had felt the sting of seeing my messages twisted, my motives questioned, my heartfelt thoughts attacked by people who used their words like weapons. I’ve always been a highly empathetic and emotional person… and when you feel everything so deeply, social media can be a dangerous place.

The truth is that leading a massive community has put me more in the spotlight than I would like to be.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that the internet, in so many ways, is a digital version of the wild, wild west. People come, guns drawn, ready to shoot down anyone who they disagree with. Once you get hurt, it can be harder to get back up. It becomes easier and easier to play it safe and post the same content every morning, rather than trying something new.

The only surefire way to avoid criticism is to avoid doing anything worth remarking on.

Have you ever felt that way? Afraid of trying something new, sharing more of your heart, because you worry about the negative voices on the other side of the screen? Isn’t it exhausting? I can answer that for both of us: Yes, it really is.

When we spend all of our energy trying to protect ourselves, we close ourselves off to the potential of making a significant impact. You can’t play it safe and expect to change lives at the same time. In order to lead others well, you must be willing to put your heart on the line.

The minute you decide to lead people, you must surrender your fears and reframe your focus. Life is no longer about your wellbeing alone, but rather it is about the lives who have been entrusted to you and the eyes that look to you for direction.

This means that on social media, if you want to lead well, you cannot play it safe. You must commit to running wholeheartedly forward, even in the face of what scares you. You have to confront hostility with love. You need to be brave so that others feel permission to do the same.

After this conversation three months ago, I started thinking about how I could break free from my own fears of being vulnerable again. Fast forward to a phone call from a friend of mine from Annapolis who was looking for a summer internship and the idea of starting a YouTube channel came up. He needed credits for school and wanted to use his knowledge as a daily vlogger to help me tell my story.

At first the thought of launching a video blog made me nervous. (Honestly, I’m not sure saying that I was nervous even expresses how terrified I was to hit publish on our first episode.) Sharing that much of my life on the internet is terrifying, however I knew that my audience needed more from me than styled flat lays of coffee cups. I had a choice to make: keep playing it safe or try something new and risk falling flat on my face.

When I brought up the idea to a friend of mine she convinced me in a single sentence. “Nat, I think it would be so beneficial for people to get to know you the way that I do.” Just me being my goofy and genuine self. No more hiding behind curated snapshots and filters.

It was time to do something different. It was time to take another big risk and be vulnerable again.

Last week, I took a deep breath and said yes to trying something new. The best part is that launching my summer video blog has already been one of the best decisions that I’ve made for my business. It is connecting me with so many of you in such a deeper way. I’m still nervous every time we hit publish and I can honestly say that the episodes will continue to get more and more vulnerable… That’s just the kind of person that I am.

However, the comments and emails I’m receiving from all of you already prove that this was the right decision. You are craving this level of transparency in a world that feels all too perfect—yes, even with it’s quirky moments and my general nerdy-ness.

If you’re thinking of trying something new (launching a podcast, starting an online store, teaching a webinar, or even starting a vlog), the world needs to you step forward bravely. There are too many brilliant ideas being squandered, too many incredible success stories that will fail to be told because no one took the first step.

If you have been waiting for permission—This is it. Stop living life halfway. Stop sitting on the sidelines. Step in to the arena and know that you aren’t in this alone. Incredible things await you on the other side of fear. You’ll just have to trust me.

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COMMENTS +

  1. Jenna

    June 26th, 2017 at 10:34 am

    This blog about fear… Thank you so much for this! You couldn’t have published this at a better time, Natalie. I needed this!

  2. Selena Bruni

    June 26th, 2017 at 11:50 am

    THIS!! “If you have been waiting for permission—This is it. Stop living life halfway. Stop sitting on the sidelines. Step in to the arena and know that you aren’t in this alone. Incredible things await you on the other side of fear. You’ll just have to trust me.” What a great message for people, stop living life halfway has been my mantra since I ended my marriage and walked fully into MY life:) Thanks for being brave and leading.

  3. carolina

    June 26th, 2017 at 11:53 am

    love your authenticity! Excited to watch more videos 🙂 You are inspiring me to have the courage to start my own videos!! <3 sending love and light your way!

  4. Lauren

    June 26th, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Absolutely loving the vlog and think it’s such a fun picture into your day to day!

  5. Tracey

    June 26th, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for this post! SO so true… I’ve often been intimidated about posting on SM just because it’s not funny enough or “perfect” enough. But today I am doing it! I’m going to share about my new adventure on SM! I’m launching a Jesus focused yoga business and excited about the people who will love it! (But also know there will be criticism). But those who need it are more important!

  6. Paula Karayel

    June 26th, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Natalie, thank you so much for this. You coming across my feed has been such a blessing to me. Your posts are always so refreshing because you could sense theirs a real human being behind every word and your vlog confirms that in the best way. Thank you for being true to you, even when it’s terrifying, because you’ve just empowered me to be true to me.

  7. Anesha

    June 26th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Totally needed to read this! This is like java-juice for the webinar I am doing on Wednesday! Thank you!!

  8. Nichole

    June 26th, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing your days with all of us via the vlog. This community you have helped create is full of positive people please don’t let those rotten eggs spoil it. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself in the spotlight but it makes all the difference to those of us who are just not sure if we should take the leap. Thanks again for sharing a little insight and giving the community the inspiration to just do good work. Shine on

  9. Dad

    June 26th, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Just check out my recent posts on LinkedIn. I’ve become a professional troll. 🙂

    My connections are loving it……

  10. Shelby

    June 26th, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Natalie!

    Just wanted to send a quick comment and let you know that I totally agree. Maintaining my social media has become something that causes me stress and something I spend too much time curating, rather than letting it be organic and truly social – as it was intended to be. There is only a certain type of photo that gets attention on instagram and algorithms have limited the way we interact.. I’ve been thinking it’s time to stop curating and start letting myself really shine through my posts. It’s easier said than done… but I think in the long run it will be worth it! Good luck with your new effort!

  11. David Stephen

    June 26th, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Love it! I’ve just recently started using social media but I wanted to do it my way(almost 40 stubborn old school wedding photographer). I post 15-25 photos throughout a wedding day. I do this for my couples. They get a sneak peek of their wedding and I get a natural amount of new followers. I was stressed about not having polished only photos at first but then I was like **** it. This is about my couples and a raw look into my style. I don’t know if any other photographer that does this and love it! Going to check out your vlog! Peace!

  12. Elizabeth Mayberry

    June 27th, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Thanks so much for this post! Your words are such an encouragement to me and I am so proud of you for stepping out in faith and rocking it!!

  13. RuthAnn Rafiq

    June 28th, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    This is SO needed and refreshing. I honestly feel the same way about social media. I love that you’re taking the plunge and doing something that scares you but also something that helps you feel more connected. I’m cheering you on! I’m glad you continually put yourself out there making this community better and better!

  14. Heidi @Occasionally_Perfect

    June 29th, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Yes girl! All the same feels over here! Banks for sharing. I’m trying to just stay true to myself and not get caught up in those curated, aesthetically perfect images and post what I love. You rock!

  15. Shelbi

    August 30th, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Well your corporate culture looks like a lot of fun. I live in the Bay Area too…hope you’re enjoying San Francisco!
    xo, Shelbi

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