“I do social media because people tell me I have to to stay relevant, but to be honest I hate social media.”
Kim Salisbury is a business owner, mother and wife in her mid-fifties who strives to positively influence those around her. She sees social media as a means to an end more than a source of personal pleasure.
Kim was honest about the tension she feels personally between the desire to be free from what she sees as the negative effects of social media and the need and desire to share and be seen.
“There are times when I feel disconnected and I feel the need to post something,” says Kim.
In 2016 Kim and her husband Matt, moved into a tiny home outside of McKinney, Texas. Their custom-made, 210 square foot tiny was featured on HGTV show Tiny Luxury. Kim says it was a way for them to get out of their comfort zone and live a life largely “unplugged”.
The disconnection associated with tiny home living was more challenging than she expected. Living in a more rural area with no internet connection, Kim was totally reliant on her phone and an iPad.
“Surprisingly, I missed things more than I thought. I missed things being close, I missed things being easy, I missed the convenience,” says Kim. “I thought I was a country girl and I’m really not. I like gourmet markets and the connection with people.”
The human factor fueling Kim’s perception of technology and social media is one shared by many; a complicated love-hate relationship. She says that she likes the social media channels she uses like Facebook and Instagram because she stays aware of current trends and at the top of mind with potential clients, but she also has to make an intentional effort to be authentic with what she is posting.
“I do a double take, like is this just something that is being boastful? I try really hard to avoid that because that’s the stuff that I don’t like,” says Kim. The question then becomes what parts of my life should be shared and how much.
Kim is a psychotherapeutic yoga therapist who combines pilates, yoga therapy and health coaching in her practice of helping her clients discover complete wellness. She specifically focuses her work with those who face stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression.
There is certainly a connection between what Kim sees in her line of work and how social media and technology affects many people’s deeper quality of life. Kim says sometimes this impact goes unnoticed or is attributed to other things because it feels ridiculous to most people to say they’re sad about not getting enough likes on a photo of your delicious dinner. But, the truth is, the vulnerability required by social media — even at the superficial level– automatically invites the feeling of rejection, or worse, exclusion.
Of the technology she does enjoy using, innovations in technology for the kitchen top the list. Forward-thinking tools, like a Sous-vide cooking thermometer, have positively improved her healthy hobby and allowed her to explore new methods of making meals. Food and healthy eating is a personal passion for Kim. Her oldest son is a professional chef and all three of her children are all self-proclaimed foodies. Kim says technology allows them to connect over their common interests sharing recipes and food photos.
She loves the Apple TV and the Amazon Echo, that she mainly uses for music. She uses Venmo and proclaims Favor as “genius”. These are all products that are arguably directed at a more millennial target market, but Kim says her priority is creating shortcuts and making her life easier. The priority here is convenience and connection and the hurdle of not being a digital native is one she’s willing to jump over for those outcomes.
As creators and makers, we are challenged to think outside of ourselves and our preconceived notions of who is using our products. The human factor of the user perception of technology is often a delicate contradiction between wanting more and needing less.
Human Factor is a series focused on highlighting how individuals use technology in their everyday life. Sometimes unique, sometimes revolutionary, sometimes ordinary. Always human. Read more of the series, here.