I’ve had a love-hate relationship with social media since I first created a Facebook account nine years ago. Most of the time, the good side of social media outweighs the bad for me. I love being able to stay in touch (although superficially) with people I haven’t seen in a long time. I love hearing about the highs and lows of people’s everyday lives.
But I go through stages — and I’m in one now — in which social media causes me way more harm than good. I’ve known for a while that I need to take a break, but I’ve been arguing every reason in the book why I don’t need to give it up. For one thing, it’s part of my JOB to update social media. I can’t just shut down my account.
It’s the same feeling I had a year ago when I knew I had to give up watching TV. I didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t so bad, really, was it? All of that internal arguing was a sure sign that I was holding on way too tightly. If it’s THAT hard to give up, that could be telling me something.
The time has come. I’m giving up social media in February, and here is why.
- Significance. I spend too much time caring, worrying, wondering what people think about me. Am I funny today? Interesting? Did my kids do something awesome? In short, I get too much of my feeling of significance from the likes, comments and reactions on social media.
- Comparison. I spend too much time comparing my life to other people. Why is she is so happy, popular, pretty, perfect? Why am I so lame?
- Inauthentic relationships. A friend texted me recently and said, “How are you? Everything looks great according to Facebook.” It made me realize how easy it is to think I can just click on someone’s Facebook updates and assume I actually know what’s going on in their lives. It’s like the sugar of relationships. It’s a quick fix. It has no depth. And it’s not even real. Relationships take time and effort. They take real conversation.
- Animosity. Honestly? The whole political conversation on Facebook is pushing me to the edge. I find myself so often feeling angry or hostile toward people because of what and how they are communicating their views on social media. I just need to walk away.
- Time. How much time do I spend in a day just scrolling? How much time do I lose with my family because I’m distracted? How many books could I read if I wasn’t scrolling? How much more productive could I be without scrolling? I’m going to find out!
I mentioned in my last post that as I look at my months and what I need to give up, I also want to add in something that’s the positive polar opposite of the thing I’m giving up. For me, I’ve known that I need to seek the good sustainable protein of the truth. Instead of using social media to find significance and meaning, I need to look into God’s word.
Wouldn’t you know it? Just as I was trying to decide what to do, I “randomly” stumbled across a blog that described so perfectly what I wanted to do that I know it was meant to be. So, I’ll be going through the book, “I Am: A 60-Day Journey of Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is”.
I’ve also had to work through the fine print of how my social media fast will work. So, here are a few details:
- I will still be blogging. As I thought about why I need to give up social media, I don’t feel blogging is causing me the same negatives as social media. However, 99 percent of the interaction I get with my blog is from sharing the link on Facebook. So, I will have to deal with basically blogging into the wind. 🙂 If you still want to read, please make sure you subscribe (just put your e-mail in the box to the right) or check in once in a while!
- I will still be updating social media for work. I’ve been on a Facebook fast before, so I know how to update The Sanctuary social media accounts without checking my own.
- I’m still allowing myself to use Pinterest and to check Snapchat (if necessary) only to see what my kids are posting. In case you haven’t heard, Pinterest is becoming the new Google. 🙂 I use Pinterest to find ideas and resources that are a positive in my life. I will monitor the time I spend mindlessly scrolling Pinterest, but I’m not banning it completely. I won’t be posting anything on Snapchat, but if you have teens, you understand why I want to check their stories from time to time.
I really wrestled with whether I should still allow myself to update my blog during this month. I love writing and this is such a great creative outlet for me. I know it will be weird to look at my stats and see that no one is reading (since almost all of my readers come from posting the link on Facebook)! So, if you want to still read, I hope you will pop in once in a while.
Even better, let’s get together in person for a real life conversation.
So, how about you? Is social media a positive or negative factor in your life?