Staying Off Social Media Didn’t Kill Me
Ever had a time (or more) when you found yourself scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, sometimes simultaneously, not just because you were trying to follow up certain updates on the news, or to catch a funny/amusing/intriguing post you might have missed the two seconds you weren’t on any of these apps, but purely out of boredom? Only that if you really took the time to analyse the situation, you realize you spent a ‘good chunk’ of your day(s) scrolling past feeds that you honestly could have gone about your day not knowing or seeing.
I’m not here to judge anyone who is very active or interactive on social media. Granted, it’s a place to stay engaged with people, catch up on what’s trending, even see first hand what your favorite celebrity/public figure said, wore, bought, went, ate, and so on. But there’s a reason why the saying goes, ‘too much of a good thing, ain’t good’
Let me throw myself in here as a case study.
I was more of a Twitter/Instagram type of gal. I say ‘was’, because as at the time of writing this, I have logged off from all my social media accounts, til further notice. It’s not my 1st time cutting off from these platforms, with the longest amount of time spent away being a week. Right now, it should be about 3 months.
Why, Jo? You may ask.
Because I felt it was the right thing to do, for my sanity.
No, I wasn’t about to lose my mind literally, but I DID come to the realization that my relationship with social media wasn’t healthy, nor taking me any closer to my personal goals.
Take Twitter, for instance. You might not be ready to admit this, but there’s a certain rush you get when a carefully crafted tweet that took you 5 long minutes(or more) to compose, starts to get likes, retweets, even replies. Then again, it IS social media, it’s expected that people interact with what you tweet. But when that doesn’t happen, it can sting just a teeny bit, not to mention you wonder how that ‘nonsense’ someone else said that you didn’t think was as ‘clever’ as the thing you said/did, warranted as much attention as it got.
Same goes for Instagram. You take your time to filter the 30th attempt you made to capture the perfect selfie you deemed right for the gram. The angle was legit, you struck the right pose and captured your best features, you made sure to get the right caption (that may have very little to do with the picture in the 1st place), even added enough hashtags so it’d get a little traffic, hit post, then came back every 15 minutes (if you can wait that long) to see how just many likes and comments it gathered, and if it’s less than what you feel the post you worked so hard on deserved, then you guessed it, here comes the sting.
This feeling of disappointment is something I am very well familiar with, as I am sure you are too, if you will be willing to admit to yourself.
You may take your time and explore my pages and go, oh Jo its not that bad, you’ve got good following online, blah blah blah… But there’s more…
Remember that ‘good chunk’ I talked about earlier? What if you didn’t have to worry about getting validation from a large amount of people, close friends or nah, for a little while?
Imagine if you didn’t have to think about posting, and constantly seeking approval, over what you wore, how you looked, what you said or what you did.
If you couldn’t access social media for a few hours, or just for a day, at most a month… how would you feel? Indifferent or a little hysterical?
But that’s not the only issue I had.
Social media (depending on how you use it) can make one feel insecure and unaccomplished. In this my young life, imagine o.
You see your peers, or just any random famous face put up a post of an expensive ride they got, a new house they just acquired, maybe your friend from school got engaged, or they’re letting you in on how they’re spending their vacation. And you’re there with your phone, sipping on your pure water, fanning yourself because ‘down NEPA’, thinking ‘ah, these people are living the life o, chai…’, but deep down, you wish your life was half as glamorous as they have depicted theirs to be, maybe you end up dealing with a pang of envy, ready to say something spiteful when you come across someone with whom you can gossip with about what you read/saw.
I ask again, is this something any sane human being that loves life and peace of mind, should be dealing with?
They say ‘eyes are the windows to the soul’, and instead of looking down at my phone, I’d rather ‘face my front’ and set my sights on achieving the goals I have set for myself, while watching/reading content that brings me closer to greatness.
Someone once said, ‘social media is where we put up the best version of ourselves’
So looking back, I had to ask myself, is that what I’m doing? Am I putting my best foot forward on here? If you look through past tweets and posts online, what exactly are you suppose to take when it comes to getting to know me?
Do you spend your time trolling or responding in just about every comment section available, how much you hate what someone said/did, wishing them the worst thing imaginable?
Are you one of those who have social media accounts, just so you can stalk and troll (maybe anonymously), or write the most hurtful things to a person, forgetting they are people too, with actual feelings?
Let’s say you have specific skills you want the world to know. Do your accounts show off your work, how have you used Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the other platforms to ‘sell yourself’?
Basically, what exactly are you gaining from social media? Are you better or worse off because of it? Why are you on there in the 1st place?
I know what you’re thinking: but Jo, how else am I gonna catch up on friends and family, see how old mates from school are doing now?
And you’re right. Social media has made all that a lot easier. But that’s only a FRACTION of how much you can harness from being online. And besides, there are others ways to check up on the people you care about. Make a phone call. Send a text. Heck, write an email. I know SO many people who have never set up a Facebook account, much less the others. Call it being ‘old school’, but the world was fine before social media.
So Jo, what’s life been like since you logged off?
Well, for one thing, I now enjoy one on one interactions more often. It’s been easier to study and pursue personal projects without the distractions of checking up on notifications regarding information I honestly could do without at the time.
Well, then how do you stay current regarding what’s going on in the world?
There are (and always has been) other ways to stay up to date on what’s in the news, be it local or international,which I explore gladly, from listening to the radio, to watching cable news networks, to print media, as well as newsletters that I am subscribed to, I almost do not miss anything relevant, so you can relax.
That FOMO (‘Fear Of Missing Out’) mentality can keep one glued to the computer screen for hours, when that time could be allocated to more meaningful and productive work away from the refresh button.
Asides all of that, I enjoy living in the moment, instead of constantly thinking of how much I need to put up pictures of where I am or what I am doing, that is really of no added value to my followers and friends.
Social media is no longer the 1st thing I see when I wake up in the morning, nor the last thing I see at night before bed.
I really dunno when I will log on again, maybe at the time this post goes up (it’s likely you followed the link on my Twitter or Instagram to get here, which to me, is a good example of HOW EXACTLY I’d like to get involved), but I do know I seriously need to make social media work for me and not against me. I have had to review my relationship with being actively engaged online and I didn’t like all of it, plus, I freed up so much of my time (and internet subscription!) by channeling my energy (and internet!) towards other places and things.
I would honestly recommend you consider logging off if you can afford to, or at least take a critical look at how you engage on social media and see if it has affected your time management towards productive pursuit of other endevors, as well as overall peace of mind.