The Girl in the Mirror.

Hello, sweet friends.

I was feeling kind of introspective this weekend. Do you ever have those moods (No? Just me? Thought so.)

A couple of weekends ago I volunteered to model in a photo shoot for a local Columbus designer and blogger, the lovely and talented Allie Lehman.

When she sent me the shots, I was pretty impressed with myself. (Ok, I’m not going to lie. I couldn’t stop looking at myself.)

Hello (2)Damn, girl. You’re kinda hot. 

It’s not every day you get the chance to have professional photos taken. It’s fun!  Feeling pretty is fun. Getting “likes” on your new profile picture is fun. Looking like I just showed up in a park, with perfectly curled hair under the perfect beam of sunlight is fun.

But totally unrealistic.

Then I started to feel a little bit of guilt sink in. We all know this is how life in the year 2013 works; we post the best and the brightest moments of our lives online. We filter everything. We get jealous of the lives we see people live, even though we probably haven’t actually lived real life with them for years (or maybe ever.) There are studies which show we’re actually more alone and miserable even though we’re more connected than ever.

So I wanted to make sure I was real with you. I love that girl up in those photos. But I’m also totally crazy in love with this little lady…

In case you’re wondering, my shirt says “Jump on Board the D-Ship”…we made them for our Discipleship Team in college…we thought we were REALLY witty…

It’s really important to me that you know that. And not so you’ll think that I’m some self-righteous, got-it-all-together, saint of a human.

But because I want to make sure you know that life’s not about the wrapping. I love to talk about clothes and hair and makeup, style, shoes, you name it. It’s fun to me. It’s a way to express yourself – kind of like art. But I don’t go to those things to feel complete. I think it’s necessary that you love yourself without all of that.

And I would be doing a disservice to you, and myself, if I just hid behind a computer and pretended to be that first girl all the time. If I just sat here and only shared my filtered, edited, cream of the crop parts. Trust me, I have a lot more mediocre moments than I do picture-perfect ones.

Let’s be real, people! This is life; good, bad and fresh-out-of-the-shower-with-wet-hair. Life’s too short to hide your true self and try to be someone else. Go take a good long look in the mirror and repeat after me. Damn. You’re kinda hot. 

My Social Experiment.

Experiment might be a heavy word. Maybe observation would be more appropriate.

My birthday was last week and, as I’m sure you’ve experienced as well, I was inundated with “happy birthday” messages on my Facebook wall. I’m always so thankful for these and often it’s the first time in a while that I’ve heard from some people. So every year I try to make a point to write a thank you message back to each person individually. And this year I observed something…

I wrote 110 “thank you” replies and almost half of those people commented back or “liked” (official Facebook language here) my message to them. These are conversations, brief but still conversations, that never would have happened otherwise. I haven’t even seen some of these people in years. But,  thanks to technology, that doesn’t have to mean all hope is lost.

Later the same week I read this A-mazing article and couldn’t help but yell, “YES. This is what it’s about!”

(Read this and come back)

Technology is awesome. Social media is an amazing development that has allowed our world to shrink and knowledge to be spread in the blink of an eye. But it is not about the technology. It’s about the people. The platform is just a tool. It’s how you use it that matters. All those “friends” you have on Facebook? All those followers on Twitter? THEY’RE PEOPLE. Ok, unless they’re spam. Anyway. Connect with them! Don’t just go for numbers, go for relationships. Take advantage of the opportunities that social media allows through sharing information.

If someone had walked up to me last week and said “happy birthday!” to my face, I would have said thank you. Therefore, I feel the same etiquette holds true on my social media. And look…it lead to me having some kind of human conversation with at least 50 people who I may not have had otherwise. And not only that, but all those people who took 5 seconds to send me a message know that I appreciate them and that they did make a difference in my day…and everyone needs to know that.

So take the time. It’s less about the actual technology and more about reaching your audience. Use the tools for their purpose; to connect, human to human.