March 13, 2017

Intentions with Social Media

This past week, I visited my sister’s in Dallas. I was teaching privates at their studio, Prodigy Dance and Performing Arts Centre for a few days, playing with my niece and nephews, and catching up with my two best friends in the whole wide world… my sister’s, Jill and Stacy. One day Stacy and I were driving and having a deep life discussion like we always do. Side note: Stacy and I are 11 years apart. She has always been like a second (younger) mother to me, especially growing up. She now acts as my therapist, life coach, and business partner…. I love her. Anyways, while we were driving we were discussing my recent decision to take this season off of DWTS and how I was feeling about it. I told her that I’ve been super content and positive with my decision but it’s been hard to see everyone on social media lately posting about getting ready for the new season. She then told me that I needed to go on Facebook and read Andrew Winghart’s most recent post. This is what he had to say:

 

“I have been reflecting recently on the role of social media in the dance community (this isn’t my first post on the subject). Today I want to share specifically on how we use social media to create an idealized version of ourselves that can often be misleading. I am entirely guilty of it myself – almost exclusively posting about my victories and successes. The reality of the situation is that for every one success I have in my career, there are innumerable failures that preceded that victory.
So in the spirit of transparency I thought I would share some of my greatest failures from the last few years in no particular order:
– Met with the head of a prominent dance agency two years back who told me that I was chasing a pipe dream trying to be a director/choreographer and that I should switch paths while I was still young enough to get out.
– A film professor at USC told me in a one-on-one meeting that he didn’t think I had the ‘the mind’ to make it in entertainment industry as a creative and suggested I reconsider my future plans.
– Submitted five years in a row to a popular dance TV show with no success.
– Brought a group to audition for AGT and had Heidi Klum (lol) eviscerate my work for being uninteresting and unimpressive.
– Showed a piece at a dance event in LA and the next morning woke to a scathing (I honestly think that word is an understatement) review of me and my work from a well respected dance critic.
– Spent an outrageous amount of time and resources on a 20 min dance short film that I ended up scrapping in its entirely once it had be completed.
The list could go on…… I guess my point is that I think we could all do a better job celebrating our failures and not losing ourselves in comparison to the version of our peers they choose to put forth on social media. Some of my failures have felt excruciating at the time but in spite of that I choose to keep pursuing what I love. I by no means consider myself successful and I doubt I ever will – all I can do is keep pushing and trying to get better with every project I step into. I personally am going to make a conscious effort moving forward to be both less apologetic for my failures and more fearless in the endeavors I choose to pursue!”

 
I couldn’t have said it better. For me, especially within these past few week, I have felt like I have had nothing “good enough” to share. But why is it that I feel like if I’m not posting about meeting this famous person or at an event or doing something awesome I have nothing to share? Why do we rely on social media to fulfill us? Is it to make us feel superior or worth while?? Why do we value ourselves based on how many likes we get and how many followers we have? Don’t get me wrong I think social media can be very powerful and an amazing way to stay connected with one another as well as spreading love… but it can also be INCREDIBLY superficial. We are only showing the world what we want them to see of us and how we want them to perceive us. I am SO guilty of this. I have some pictures on my instagram where I look like I am the happiest person ever and all glammed up. But in reality, I was probably miserable and having a terrible day. But you would never know because I wanted you to think I was killin’ it, so I could feel better about myself while I watched how many likes I got. I’ve really been reflecting on how I can be better about my intentions with social media and ultimately I think it all goes back to finding balance. Using social media in a positive way instead of a competitive nature… showing off our new shoes, posing with celebs, making people feel bad about what we have and they don’t. I’m going to strive to use my social media to inspire and encourage people and not just focus on my successes so I can get a pat on the back in my comments. I hope this makes us all think a little bit harder before we turn to social media for validation. I also hope you all have a beautiful day!

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16 thoughts on “Intentions with Social Media

  1. Jenna–You are so smart for being so young. You are very successful in your career and you should be patting yourself on your back everyday for how far you have made it and will make it.I’m thankful that you share so much of yourself with your fans..

  2. I have to talk with you!! You are one of these few people who can make me smile and it’s amazing.. thank you for your support, you are an angel xxxx

  3. Honestly, I prefer seeing the day-to-day real-life stuff WAY more than the glitz and glamour. It’s more relatable. As a stay-at-home mom of 3, there’s a only so much of the “glossy” stuff I can look at…We ALL struggle sometimes. I think you are very inspiring and should be very proud of yourself. 😉

  4. Gahhh… couldn’t have described it better. This is exactly what i tend to do in my personal page without even realizing ;’) such an eye opener! And jen, you don’t need any of these likes or comments to give you that tap on your back.. cause at that young of an age you have DONE A LOT and YOU’RE AMAZING! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!

    I love you and i thank you for always opening my eyes and for always being an inspiration!

    Love always,
    Abeer xoxo

  5. Wow, Jenna I am speechless. Again, you are such a brilliant example of how people these days should think. Living in the 21st century where we have a TON of social media pages. I can honestly say I’ve probably been one of those people that have been completely guilty of validating or thinking I was what the internet said. But you clearly stated that we aren’t that. We are so much more and we are worth so much more. Thank you so much for always being an incredible example and just being all-around awesome! Much love for you, JJ! ❤️💋

  6. Jen,

    Thank you for writing this post! I appreciate Andrew’s candidness and I appreciate your thoughts on being encouraging and not competitive on social media. When you wrote, “Using social media in a positive way instead of a competitive nature… showing off our new shoes, posing with celebs, making people feel bad about what we have and they don’t.”–I thought of the popular phrase “my friends are better than yours” or “my [whatever] is better than yours.” It’s a trendy thing to say but the very nature of it is competitive and can be demeaning, not uplifting.

    Thank you for keeping this wonderful blog. I know this specific topic hit home for me because I personally gave up social media (facebook, instagram, snapchat, etc.) so I could (1) focus on stuff (i.e. grad school) and get things done and (2) stop comparing myself to others and/or be more confident in my own skin and (3) be more present, in the moment. I know this isn’t everyone’s path but it really helped me in so many ways.

    Best,

    Sharon

  7. I love this post so much and conpletely agree!! Thank you for sharing these powerful and positive thoughts. I enjoy reading your blog so much!!

    -Lucy P.

  8. Jenna thank you for sharing Andrew’s words, very powerful! It’s so true that we all face certain failures but those help shape our future successes! Good luck to you, I will miss you on DWTS this season but looking forward to your next adventure!

  9. jenna your one of my fave dancers on dwts and your one of my fave dancers from so you think you can dance and i’m gonna miss you on dwts this season to

  10. Thank you for this. I gave facebook up for lent because I would sit on there and constantly be looking for feedback on my posts. I love the thought of sharing my failures. I think its important for the true people around me not to just see a superstar when I do indeed fail!

  11. You are one of my favourite dancers on DWTS Jenna. Thank you for sharing. Watched Might Macs on the weekend and there is a scene where the coach is telling one her players to follow her dream instead of giving up and working at department store. She tells her that her gift to the world is her dream and if she follows her dream the world will return the favour. Anyway, this is a long way for me to tell you to keep following your dream. Count me as one of your fans in this world. And I applaud all the work you have done so far. Sure there are some bumps, but you have the right attitude and have done souch. So proud of you!

  12. Good God, Jenna! It boggles my mind every time you shoot yourself down, or iin the foot! Please stop doing that! You are an incredibly talented dancer, and I poke all over social media to find your dances. Seriously? To date, my favorite dance of yours is the one you did with Alan and Keo, Ex’s & Oh’s. That dance is such a blast, and you all were having so much fun with it, it was awesome. And now, when I go to my media spots, I get to see your endeavors into all kinds of things, all of which are gutsy or funny or the result of some serious thinking. That you’re taking time for yourself was gutsy in, and of, itself, and is a very important thing to do for yourself. If you don’t know you inside out, then who else will? You are the only person who can pick and choose “all the thhings” you love to do, and without testing the waters first, how will you ever know which are THE ones? (By the way, I noticed that I have some “typos” in my passage. It also happens to me when I am emailing a friend, and it’s because God is watching over her and me. I can’t explain it better, but it happened here, twice, tonight, so He is watching over you, too.)

  13. You know, you’ve got something real and cool about you that people want to relate to. I think it goes beyond new shoes and celebs. I think people are drawn to you because of your genuineness and they want to be close to it because they want that in themselves. AND I think genuineness can be messy and grey and without celebs but maybe has new shoes. 🙂 You’re an incredible artist. I saw you dance in Sway in Manhattan. You were like a force of nature moving through that theatre. I’d love to know about what it takes to be an artist like that, what drives you, how it feels. I think that’s a huge part of the genuineness that draws people to you. This blog is a door to that genuineness and it’s cool. xo

  14. Great job Jenna as always and you have a beautiful family always loving and supporting you and that’s so beautiful can’t wait to hear what you got plan next take care of you ok 👏👏🙏👍❤😃

  15. I wrote a piece in college on social media and it’s influences…the false pretense, the facade of it all, I’d love to share or have you read a piece of it! Delving into that subject and learning was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

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