Today, while in the 4th month of quarantine, I wasn’t on any social media whatsoever. I didn’t have any pictures to post, comments to reply to, or stats to check. Normally during this time of staying home, I would use it as an excuse to consume even more social media. I would think, what else am I to do? But recently I’ve been more concerned of the effects social media may produce; not only for myself but for my daughter, not even just for the moment but even into the future. Let me explain.
Why I Wanted To Do It
I’ve noticed in myself lately a trouble concentrating. Lately, when people talk to me, it’s almost as if I can’t hear them. I’m trying to make out what they’re saying but just can’t. I feel as though maybe it’s because my mind is divided and thinking of multiple of things at the same time. And social media can do that to you (based on articles and videos I’ve watched on this topic). I didn’t like that feeling. I didn’t like not being there in the moment when my daughter was trying to share something with me. I’m normally really good at listening and being there so I didn’t like not feeling close to her. Along with not being able to focus on a conversation very well, I also could not get through a book for nothing! I used to breeze through multiple books in a week. Now, I would have to reread the same passage over and over again because it just wasn’t getting through my head. I couldn’t focus anymore!
Another reason why I wanted to quit social media was that I didn’t like the amount of time that was spent on it. If you watch the video I linked in the paragraph above, you’ll see that Dr. Cal Newport brings up the point that none of us want to spend the amount of time that we do on social media. It’s habitual and it’s addictive but it would never be a choice that we would actively make if we put thought into it. I couldn’t agree with that more. How many times do we click on one of those apps just to “check” something and before we know it, we’ve passively spent an hour or more when that wasn’t even our intention? I didn’t like having the habit of checking my phone constantly either.
I also don’t like the way it makes us feel. Think about it: have you ever walked away from social media feeling better and proud of the way you used your time? I sure don’t. I never think, “I am so glad I spent two hours watching videos that I don’t really care about and seeing the latest pictures from strangers I don’t know.” I either feel bad because I’ve wasted my time or I feel bad comparing my life or myself to someone else’s. So I never walk away from it feeling better, only worse.
In addition, I feel like it keeps us from enjoying the moment with our loved ones. Instead of just enjoying beach day with your family, we stop and take a picture. We didn’t like the first one so we stop to change the angle, fix the lighting, pose, reposition things. And we do this all to have the most aesthetic picture possible to show off to the world. Why? Why do we do this and why are we so concerned with the world seeing just how great our life is? What are we trying to prove? It’s something I’ve been thinking about. I think a lot of us just do social media because it’s the norm; everyone does it so we don’t put much thought into it. It also becomes a habit like I mentioned before so it just becomes something we do without even thinking about it.
Another side note, it’s not big but just something I’ve been thinking about, I’m not comfortable with my daughter having memories of me just being on my phone all day. In my defense, I do do a lot of different things on my phone: I text family members, read and study, write on my blog, order things we need at home, and more. So not all things done on the phone need to be considered a waste of time. But if I can reduce that time by a big chunk, simply by canceling social media, then I definitely want to do it. I don’t like the idea of every time my daughter walks into the room, she sees me on my phone. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be on your phone since a lot of useful things can come out of it, but I don’t know. It just gives me an eerie feeling and it’s something that I worry about.
I also felt like it started to develop within me a focus of just myself. It was as if I felt that I needed to take a selfie because people just had to see how good I looked that day. I felt like I needed to promote my blog to get more views on it. It just started to feel like everything was all about me, and that felt wrong. It wasn’t that I thought I was the best thing out there, but it was what I thought I had to do if I wanted to stay relevant and gain traction for my blog. And trust me, I don’t care at all about followers and numbers, or anything like that. But I felt like it was something that was necessary in order to promote my blog, help it gain attention, and eventually turn it into a business. I didn’t like that feeling. I don’t want it to be all about me; I don’t feel like it should be. I also didn’t want friends and family to get the wrong impression either and think that I felt like I was the best. Maybe I’m overthinking it, but I didn’t want my loved ones to get the wrong idea and believe that I felt superior to them and to others because I don’t feel that way at all.
I also worry about my family’s privacy. When you post everything about your family, you leave yourself vulnerable. That may seem over dramatic but that’s just how I feel. Now everything is up for speculation and people will comment on everything and anything that you and your family do. If you haven’t posted a picture of your spouse in a while, some may start to think you’re going through something, maybe a separation. We leave ourselves open to public opinion and suddenly people feel entitled to comment on your life: what you need to change, how you’re lacking as a parent or spouse. It feels as if they’ve invaded your personal bubble, your safe space. And suddenly the safety and privacy of your home is no longer yours but put on display for the world to see and speculate on. To me, It’s just safer to keep my family life private and outside of the public eye and keep it the secure dwelling place that it is.
Why I Hesitated
I have been wanting to end my social media habit for a while now but I’ve hesitated. I was convinced that I had to keep my social media accounts for a few reasons. One, I didn’t want people from back home to forget about me. It may sound silly, and maybe it is, but it was a real concern of mine. I’ve moved from the Boston area to California nearly 6 years ago after I married my sweet husband. So I thought maybe people I grew up with would forget me but you know what, they just might and that’s OK. I accept that now. I realize that my true friends and those that really love me; they’ll be the ones to remember me. We don’t need to keep in contact with everyone we’ve ever met. It’s not as if everyone I went to elementary, middle, and high school with ended up being my best friends. A lot of them have grown up to be on totally different paths than I’m on and that’s OK. If I’m meant to reconnect with certain people, I think it’ll just happen.
I also worried that my blog, my business, would not be able to grow if I didn’t have a social media platform to promote it on. I thought that’s just what you had to do if you were serious about your growing your business. Honestly, that may still be true, I’m not gonna lie. I don’t know how many people on my Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, would actually click the link to my blog anyways though. It may be close to none or it may be a great deal. I of course still want to grow my blog but not at the cost of all the things I’ve mentioned above. I’m just going to continue writing new posts and hope that maybe the SEO algorithm on google will do me good and help others to find my little corner of the internet.
Day 1 Recap
Today was day one of no social media. So how was it? It was great actually great. My daughter and I ended up having a real fun time together, joking and laughing throughout it all. I felt much closer to her since my attention was actually on her and nothing was there to divide it. The only weird thing was the habit of checking my social media. Several times throughout the day I thought to check my accounts, just to realize that there were no accounts to look at. It wasn’t too hard but it was just kind of funny realizing all the times that I would’ve been on my phone had I actually been using social media today.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I want this to be a permanent thing, I really do. I will say, I don’t 100% know if that’ll be the case. It almost feels weird to think of never having a social media account again and I think I can never say never. Who knows if I go 20 years without it and then decide for some reason to start it up again? I don’t know if this will just be a break from social media or a long term thing but I hope it is for a long time. I’ve been wanting to break free from social media for a while now but it can just be so addicting. I feel like I might be ready though. I hear that the first 2-3 weeks are the hardest so I want to at least make it to that point before I even think of trying to log on again.
What will I do with all this free time now? I have a lot in mind. One thing I think would be fun to start is scrap-booking. I was previously using Instagram as my own online scrapbook but if I’m not going to use that anymore, then it’d be nice to have an actual book of paper copies of my pictures. I think it’d be fun to buy a Polaroid camera for this project too. We’ll see. It’s just an idea right now but who knows.
I also want to use this time to blog a whole lot more. Now that my head will be free to think more clearly, I think I’ll have a lot more ideas for what I want to write. Even today’s post felt a little more easier to write. Perhaps because I didn’t have the distractions from my phone. I want to read more during this time too. Like I said, I used to devour so many books at a time but after using social media, reading feels too hard. I want to get back into it though and rediscover that love I once had.
I also plan on doing daily workouts. That may seem random but it is something I’ll be using my time for. Even today I ended up doing my first 30 minute Pilates routine in quite a while. I just really want to use this time to focus on my family, reconnect with the things I once loved, and basically mind my own business and worry about taking care of my little circle of loved ones.
I hope you guys enjoyed today’s article. It was a bit different than what I normally do but this was something that was on my mind and heart so I wanted to share it with you all. Do you guys feel the same, that you want to quit social media, or at least take a break from it? For me, it’s been a long time coming but I’ve just always made excuses like “I need it for my business” or “I hardly even use it”. But lately I feel like I’ve been seeing the negative effects more and more from my social media use and felt like it was time to finally just jump in and do it, cold turkey. Let me know what you guys thought of it. I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time,