It started with Facebook.
I loved that I was able to connect with so many people on one platform and post pictures, view the cutest animal videos, share a meaningful or hilarious meme, talk about the world and join or create groups tailored to my particular interests. I didn’t like that it was time consuming. It demanded attention. At any given moment I was experiencing something “share worthy”.
Nevertheless, Facebook was quite appealing. It was like a digital phone book; something to keep up with visually. Some of the coolest friendships I’ve had, past and present, developed through Facebook. I really connected with a lot of like minded individuals, which was exciting.
There were definitely enjoyable moments when I posted pictures or even my poetry on Facebook. I feel like the encouragement I needed at a time when my writing just began to blossom came from a lot of my Facebook followers. I also realized that on most social media networks, news travels fast. Bad and good. Reputations can be ruined, people become online gurus overnight, there are no censors, and as with anything online, things may not always appear as they seem.
Yes, I managed to take some intermittent breaks from Facebook, but I usually ended up signing back on. I had other social media accounts, but how could I realistically devote time to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest, individual projects, and on top of that; remember to check my emails every day? Wasn’t it normal to just disappear from them all occasionally?
The fact is I have a life outside of social media, we all do. The time I spend posting pictures, sharing stories and scrolling through my phone can’t be replaced. Being able to share a momentous occasion with our followers means something different for all of us. It is just that lately, I want to be present when I am with my family and friends, looking into their faces as we speak candidly with each other, treasuring the sound of their laugh in person. There is not an app out there that can take the place of a real human connection.
Impromptu trips to the beach or the park to air out mental clutter is my way to decompress from social media, and it really helps. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I try to be more aware of how much time goes to my phone and the golden apps of solitude.
I don’t mind deleting social media apps from my phone and taking a break occasionally. I ended up deleting Facebook and Tumblr for good and I haven’t looked back. Now, I log out of apps when I am not really engaging so that I won’t be disturbed or feel compelled to respond right away to alerts. I can clear my head and focus on other important issues needing my undivided attention, like my life!
My self care regimens have improved, I consciously spend more time outside, I read books more often and I communicate in other ways; through phone calls and writing letters. This newly created balance feels good and I am opening space for more important things. As for Pinterest and Instagram, they are now like two peas in a pod on my phone…I truly can’t have one without the other! WordPress prompts me to write more, and it’s pretty awesome that I can blog from my phone.
Sometimes, a “blog” might be a lovely picture I snapped of a bright red hibiscus flower outside. I’m finally using my social media apps to my advantage instead of just scrolling for hours and “checking in”. I enjoy the stories my friends share and sharing my own, but social media is more on my terms and on my time. I can enjoy it from a different perspective and I like that.