I Gave Up Social Media for 8 Months

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Yeah, that's not clickbait.

I went without Facebook and Twitter for 8 solid months.  I went 5 months without Instagram, but I maybe had 30 followers and I didn't (and still kind of don't) follow any celebrities or other groups that if I popped open the app, I wasn't falling down a rabbit hole.  These days though, I creep on the entire cast of Vanderpump Rules and after each episode I absolutely stalk their most recent photos and comments for clues to the current status of their relationships with one another.  I should probably give up cyber creeping but that's an issue for another blog post.

Anyway, I eliminated all of these apps and found myself with a lot more time to read and spend with those around me.  I was living with my grandpa in New York at the time.  I still had text messaging to reach out to friends and family.  I started writing resumes as a freelance gig and started making decent money on the side.  I used (and still use) social media as a way to procrastinate - even on the things I actually want to do.  It's pure distraction.

(Sidenote: the election and all of the wasteful posts regarding it actually helped curb my attachment to Facebook.  I unfollowed anyone who sounded violent or overall extreme and my news feed became far less exciting.  It's mostly filled with those I talk to weekly anyway; I don't even have the app on my phone anymore).

My birthday fell during this period and it was really interesting to see who reached out to me.  We rely on Facebook's birthday reminders pretty heavily.  I received far less Happy Birthday messages, but those messages that did come through felt far more genuine and meant that much more.  Overall, I kind of felt more full.

When I decided I wanted to start blogging in the spring of 2015, I recognized the worth in connecting through social media and reactivated my accounts.  I've dropped off using Twitter altogether, however, and mostly function through Instagram now, and I kind of like it that way.  It feels far more personal and simplistic.

The biggest lesson I learned in my social media cleanse was the pure value of disconnecting.  I don't run to respond to every message sent my way.  I'm far more likely to continue enjoying the moment I'm in.  I don't feel it necessary to compare myself to those posting their perfect selfies.  I'm probably addicted to Instagram, but when I see the tell-tale signs, I just delete the app for a day or two and login from a computer to check in on my @decoratethesoul handle.

I'm still torn on social media and the immense pressure it creates.  For example, if you were on bad terms with someone (pre-social media), you could just take some time off from the relationship and cool down.  Now, you're stuck seeing everything single thing they do - where they've checked in for dinner or their live thoughts on The Bachelor.  Absence used to make the heart fonder, but if you can't take a time out because you essentially carry them around with you in your pocket...then what?


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