In the past year, it has been drilled into my head that social media is required to run my business. So far, I’ve established a presence on at least four channels. I love posting inspirational messages, challenging thoughts, and informative articles. But for the past month or so, I’ve been feeling like I need a break.
And it isn’t for the reason you might think.
While I love using social media for business, I struggle with balancing it in my personal life. It might seem odd to admit that to you, but I’m being honest. I don’t pretend to have more willpower than the next person. I just try to be aware when something is no longer healthy for me, and do something about it.
Maybe some people are able to use discipline with social media, going on for 5 to 15-minute increments once per day. I envy them.
I have grown accustomed to using facebook as an escape. I will scroll through my entire news feed, then refresh the page and start scrolling through it all over again. I never know what to expect, and perhaps that is part of the thrill.
Each helpful resource or inspirational post I find on facebook is balanced by the risk of viewing a depressing news story, or something my eyes never wanted to see and now cannot forget. I find myself coming back because, as proven in numerous psychological experiments, we are willing to endure some pain for the possibility of pleasure.
Until now. Now, I’m willing to admit that the constant exposure to the thoughts of 1300+ “friends” and numerous advertisements are completely overwhelming. I want to learn how to “be” with myself again. To sit and meditate first thing in the morning. To have a quiet conversation with myself while sitting in traffic on the 405.
I’ve hesitated to do something about this because of the risk. What about all of the friends I will lose touch with? Facebook seems to be the only way I now keep in touch with those I used to have amazing conversations with.
We would laugh and cry on the phone until I felt like my sides would split. Or, we would say we should meet in person, and actually follow through. We would sit over brunch or coffee, or take a walk.
I laughed uncontrollably, confident that I annoyed innocent bystanders with my exuberance.
Those moments, that contained so much joy for me, are now contained in public forums. They have been reduced to a fishbowl that is archived online. We are too busy for our friendships. Our lives are too full. We are holding too much.
Or, at least I am.
Somewhere along the lines, the idea that we should have it all expanded into the idea of being everywhere. When someone posts a picture, you question if you should have gone to that concert, or bought a ticket to that trip.
Fear of missing out, or “FOMO” is real.
In letting go, even temporarily, I’m confident that I am being left out. I wanted to post an update this weekend, especially on Sunday when we were playing Scrabble while introducing ourselves to trap music. THAT was fun.
But, there were many moments that were difficult, and uncomfortably quiet. Others were introspective and healing.
In those moments, I did not need a crowd. I needed to be daring, to continue to show up and be present with myself. I needed to ask the deeper questions that go unanswered when I constantly have the option of tapping out.
In those moments, I realize that facebook has been an escape that fills the awkward silence and allows my inner voice to be stamped out.
Again, it isn’t this way for everyone, but it is for me.
I also forgot how to write for the pure satisfaction of writing and expressing myself. With so many “rules” of how to do things in a social media world, all of the fun and personal value I gained from writing was drained.
I couldn’t express myself freely if my greater concern was whether or not my blog, or even my inspirational updates, were perfect for you, the reader.
So, I don’t have a definitive answer on whether I am leaving social media, and to what extent.
The irony does not escape me that this newsletter will immediately publish to all of my accounts. However, I’m walking through a daily experiment of how I can have a more healthy relationship, not just with social media, but all internet use. My goal is to be present with myself, and less of the information portal I felt I was turning into. I’ll keep you posted on what I learn.
Can you live without social media? Are you able to use it in a balanced manner? Would love to hear your comments below!