Monday, November 18, 2013

Real Life Friends v. Social Media Companions.

I first joined Instagram under the username @passingleft.  This was prior to the formation of Mama Laughlin's Fit Camp so I wasn't posting a ton of fitness related pictures.  Mainly my posts consisted of just photos of my cat, food porn, and highlights from my travels.  My only followers were real life friends (RLFs) and were small in number.  Then Fit Camp came along and Instagram became another mechanism to motivate and seek motivation in the health and wellness arena.  My followership grew and I found myself increasingly wanting to push the envelope of things that I was posting.  Things that I did not necessarily want Tower's parents or his co-workers see.  For instance, visuals of my shirtless 30 Day Shred results.  The desire to be raw, honest, and open finally led me to ditching @passingleft and migrating to @fitnessunscripted.  Initially, my intent was to hide from RLFs because honestly I didn't think they would get it and frankly, I thought they would think the content of my posts were lame.  Slowly though, since changing handles approximately a year ago, several of them have found me and are now following me again.

And I do.....I really do think my RLFs think I am weird.  Some of them have made snide remarks about the quantity of my posts, or that I am addict.  I honestly think they equate me to those dreaded annoying people that do nothing but showcase their children on Facebook or gloat about how happily married they are when they probably really are not.  You know the ones; the people that share EVERYTHING!  Including when their toddler took their first shit in the big boy potty.  Except I am worst, I just show me off.  I mean how many pictures of oneself working out, can one post?!  Gasp, I am narcissistic!

It is also interesting to me what posts RLFs  "double tap" compared to what my social media companions (SMCs)  "like".  As an example, I am pretty certain my SMCs, were more excited than my RLFs about my wedding posts.  I think my RLFs were thinking shut the f*ck up already!!!  We will see you at the alter!  I could be wrong but I am pretty sure I am not.  In their defense though, they get double exposure to my life - social media posts + real life interactions.

I shall caveat the previous paragraph by saying now more than ever do I appreciate my RLFs.  They demonstrated nothing but love and support to me and Tower during our wedding - live and in person.  They were there for us - in the human form.  That is far more valuable and is so much more in depth then any tap-tap on Instagram.  Not only that, but, my RLFs and I have a real history.  Just like you, I am sure you have known many of your RLFs long before social media was even a defined term. 

I also think that any comments regarding Instagram from my RLFs I may have interpreted as rude, were not ill intended.  I just don't think they truly get what all the buzz is about.  And really, how could they?  For the most part, I've adhered to mum policy when it came to the fit fam.  I kept it private, it was my little secret.

But what my RLFs don't know:
  • I was partly responsible for starting Fit Camp, a Facebook group of 5000+ ladies who use the group to commiserate, promote, and celebrate all things fitness related.  Half marathons have been run, thousands of pounds have been lost, and real friendships have been forged. 
  • In June 2013, Fit Camp took me to Dallas to meet some of you SMCs in real life.  Boy, what a weekend that was!  I have never had so much fun with strangers!  Granted, it wasn't so healthy  but it was theraputic for the soul.
 SMCs post Color Run.
  • Then there is @Christym4444, my SMC BFF.  Prior to Dallas, we had hit it off and were exchanging emails.  Dallas just solidified it.  And honestly, at this point of my life she is the one person I probably have the most in common with.  She went to college in Pennsylvania, I live in Pennsylvania.  We both have successful careers.  We are both in our midish 30s.  At the time we met we were both living with boys who took their sweet time popping the question and both of them relocated to be with us.  Both fellas also eat like toddlers are less into home improvements that us.  They are both gingerheads.  Between us, one of us is always nursing an injury.  I could go on and on.  My point is, we relate, we are like modern day pen pals AND she attended my wedding. 
    @Christym4444 and I.  Isn't she gorgeous too!
  • Besides Christy, there have been several other noteable encounters too.  There's Missy, who is not part of Fit Camp (she found me in a very round about way), that saw we are going to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and emailed me a novel offering travel tips.  There's Monica who offered suggestions after I hurt my back swinging kettlebells.  Leslie sent me a lovely cuff bracelet and headband to thank me for establishing Fit Camp.  Patrica mailed me an engagement card.  In short, I am networking, getting answers, support, and encouragement.  The kind of encouragement that has brought me to my lowest weight and highest fitness level in years.  In a ridiculous way, I also derive a sense of purpose from it.
So yeah, RLFs, Instagram is kind of a big deal to me.  I sometimes joke, that I am even slightly Instagram famous. 

I believe that people have different purposes in your life at different times.  I truly treasure my RLFs to the core, I love spending time with them, they make me laugh, they are incredibly loyal.  And as hard as it may be for some people to understand, I also value my SMCs (especially those that have morphed into RLFs).  For it is these people that truly understand my struggles with maintaining/achieving a healthy weight, and totally see the value in a good selfie.  As I strive to achieve my fitness goals, there is no one else, I'd like stalking me all the way.  I know you've got my back, and hopefully you feel like I have yours too.

You see, simple as that.  There's room for everyone.  RLFs & SMCs.  Win.

And Tara at Generous Impluses!  I am coming to convert you next.

.......make new friends, but keep the old.  Some are silver but the others gold.

8 comments:

  1. Well said, and I can relate to this on so many levels! Most of my RLFs have no idea of my "secret"...the fitness/weightloss/health related blog/fb page/instagram account that has helped make me more accountable than ever before! Thank you for starting fit camp, you really have made a difference in so many people's lives!!!

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  2. Awesome post!!!! Most of my RLF have no idea I blog and are IG illiterate. But blogging, IG, and mlfc have brought the most amazing people into my life. Those "friends" have pushed me, given me confidence, believed in me when I didn't think I could do it. Thank you so much for all that you do. It may feel like minuscule but it means the world to others!!! Oh and you looked stunning in your pictures!!!

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  3. Great post! I totally relate to this in so many ways!

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  4. I'm gonna need you to go back and edit this post and talk about that time that we talked on the phone. Mmmmkay?? haha

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  5. I heart you in a big way Jen :) I was so thrilled to meet you in RL this summer and see that you were exactly as awesome I thought you would be. I always look forward to your IG posts and hope to see you again at some point :)

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  6. I want to "like" this and double tap the shit out of it. I just commented on another blog that was mocking SMF that bloggers establish. SERIOUSLY, there are things in my RL that I just can't talk to people about. I too, have a professional image, and you just can't go around spouting off about all kinds of personal shit with people. I super love you, girl, and I'm so glad your ginger finally tied up the loose ends. You are 1000% a keeper!

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  7. Everyone loves a good game of YAhTZeE!!!!

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