Over the last seven days, I took a complete hiatus from social media. I offloaded the apps from my phone, committed to not "scrolling", didn't post, and didn't consume social media in any way. It didn't drastically change my life, but it did subtly improve it. I'm not saying that social media is inherently bad - on the contrary, I think it has a ton of potential positives - but taking a break did make me consciously evaluate how and why I use social media, and gave me the chance to restructure how I'll use it in the future. Here are some of the things I took away:
- First, I noticed that I experienced way less mental busyness, and was more present in everyday life. I wasn't thinking about posting, or what other people were up to etc. I wasn't confronted with the constant stream of information that I was accustomed to, and it was REALLY nice.
- I felt a subtle relief of pressure that I didn't know I'd been feeling: I didn't feel any pressure to create posts for someone else to consume. Photos and captions took up literally zero space in my consciousness, and that was a wonderful feeling.
- I experienced more quality daily interactions, particularly with my buddy Lespy. We talked more - and not just about what we saw on the internet. Conversations were more imaginative, inspiring, and engaging.
- On that note, I enjoyed conversing more. As a pretty hardcore introvert, I felt that I had more social energy now that it wasn't spent on virtual interactions.
- I fell asleep easier and slept more!
- I experienced a subtle change in my thoughts of self-confidence: I wasn't inundated with comparison every day.
- I didn't "do [ANYTHING] for the 'gram". It was so refreshing!!! Not that I really ever do things explicitly for social media, I think we're still, somewhere in the backs of our minds, thinking about documenting what we're doing. This week I 100% just did things for ME and it was awesome. I actually didn't take a single photo this week and now I don't really want to go back to the way things were before!
That said, I WILL go back to social media, but I think I will structure my usage differently. Some of the changes....
- I'm going to mute accounts that I don't vibe with. This isn't to say that those accounts are bad - it's just that they don't work with my personality, and that's totally okay. If you wouldn't be friends in real life, then there's really no reason to be virtual friends, right? I realize that sounds harsh, but it's not meant to. We're all different!
- Limit scrolling. This one is challenging, because it IS nice to see what your friends, family, and network are up to. So, as per Lespy's suggestion, I think I will post from my phone, but restrict my "scrolling" and consumption to laptop-only time (more inconvenient = less time spent)
- Leave FB and Twitter offloaded from my phone.
- No usage before breakfast, and no usage after dinner. This one will probably be hard, but I think it will have a pretty positive imapct.
Like I said at the beginning, taking this hiatus made me revisit why I use social media in the first place - to connect with people and document my ride through life! Hopefully, my posts make you feel connected, supported, confident, inspired, thoughtful, happy... maybe they even make you laugh once in a while. If I'm doing the opposite of those things, well that's good feedback to have because it means my actions/usage are out of sync with my values.
In summary: social media's not bad, but I want to change my habits surrounding it. That's it. Bye for now :)