We all just do the best we can. We parent the best we can. We work the best we can. We make decisions THE BEST WE CAN. Internet World, let’s all just settle the heck down and consider this lovely idea: no person’s best looks exactly like your best. And while this insane thought may prompt you to live gracefully and give kindness more freely, your goodness toward others is not my motivation. In my circles both online and in real life, you have already demonstrated your astounding kindness and inner beauty repeatedly. I rarely see or hear a war of words. Yet, my lovely peers and I are still unhappy at the hands of social media. And I know why.
Let me share a little secret with you. Facebook (and other social media platforms) may be making you lose your mind, and the craziness might be a teensy bit your own doing. Put down your defensives, this secret purely technological. With a complexity we mere mortals can merely dream of, algorithms work to provide you with information you will read. Facebook people think if your feed is busting with information you love, you’ll spend more time on it. Or is it only me? ANYWAY. When you click on a link, it a Creepy Computer Thing (actual name and henceforth referred to as CCT) tracks where you go, how much time you spend there, and throws in into the algorithms. Then, your feed mirrors your interest thanks to this fabulous CCT. Let’s look at this practically.
Let’s say you are having a difficult time breastfeeding and looking for some validation as you transition to formula. A friend (or stranger, let’s be real) posts something about how you should breastfeed for an eternity or else your precious child will deeply suffer and never ever love you. You obviously read it, because you are dying to drown in guilt. Then, OUT OF NO WHERE, your feed is busting with anti-formula information. You keep reading all the words, because they are in front of you and you are desperately trying to be the most wonderful parent you can. CCT can see that, and keeps delivering you more and more articles like the ones you read (which are obviously peer-reviewed, evidence based, and reliable).
When I learned this little secret, my feed cleared up in no time. I became intentional on what I clicked on for two reasons. First, I do not want Facebook to complicate life. Life is complex enough without adding opinions of complete strangers and long lost acquaintances into the mix. Second, I waste legitimate time reading articles. That five minutes I read a post on why I am a horrible mother for choosing to build a business during the delicate preschool years is five minutes could have been spent playing trains (my most favorite activity), responding to emails, checking in on a friend, or even cleaning the dang toilet. All would have been much better uses of my time.
Recently, a wise woman of a different generation told a group of us mamas how lucky we are to have so much information at our fingertips. In her day, they just had to guess. I looked around the table and saw beautiful mothers giving parenting all they have, and with tears in their eyes. I countered with the idea, that while often helpful, this information might be suffocating us all. We can do nothing right according to all to the Internet. I would bet real money I could find words for or against any stance on any topic, with just a few keystrokes.
Shortly after I had my first baby, an elderly woman who had fostered about 50 children in her life told me, “Babies aren’t that hard. Just feed ‘em, change ‘em, and hold ‘em. That’s the only book you get.” In that moment, I so desperately wished that was the only book I had. In fact, I packed away my baby parenting books shortly after that. I unliked, unfollowed, and stopped clicking to change the things the CCT was showing me. Life became more peaceful.
Recently, I stumbled into CCT’s same old trap. My feed has blown up with so many WORDS that do not help one bit. I can do my best. I can make the best decisions I can. And my best will not looks just like your best. Join me in being intentional. Join me in using time wisely. Join me in freeing yourself from CCT and random Internet opinions. Be kind and expect others be kind back. If your online world cannot handle that expectation, change your online world.
In other news, my favorite baby turned two years old today.
TWO! She enjoyed a donut birthday breakfast wearing bed-head and hand-me down pajamas. This is why I adore lifestyle/documentary/portrait/whatever photography.
I adore being Minnesota's family lifestyle photographer, because I adore Minnesota.
As a Lifestyle and Portrait Photographer in Minnesota and based in Buffalo, MN, Danielle Geri Photography picture-takes all over perfect state of Minnesota. Specializing in In-Home Lifestyle photography and providing Newborn, Maternity, Child, Family, Senior, and Wedding photography to Central MN, Minnesota’s Metro and West Metro. Areas served include, but are not limited to, Buffalo, Maple Lake, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Andover, Dassel-Cokato, Woodbury, Maple Grove, St. Michael, Otsego, and St. Cloud, MN.