I've been on a social media fast...and I think the only one that noticed, was me. :) I was only on it for 2 weeks. I'm back now, and what I'm about to write isn't going to be breaking news to anyone but I thought it was worth noting for my own sake.
theWHYI will be the first to defend social media. I'd probably also be the first to criticize it. Wait, what? You don't want to hop on the Tami Paige roller coaster of thinking?! ...I don't blame ya, it's a little frightening even for myself! :)
Social media has given me my business. It's given me the freedom to work for myself, and I've marketed without ever having to spend a single red penny...I owe all that to social media. I've made, kept in touch, and reconnected with MANY friends...thanks to social media. You all know my love for Instagram...it's shown me that often, less is more. I get to take risks, play around with, and document with photography...thanks to social media. I've poured out my heart, made countless jokes that I find hilarious and others shake their heads at, posted pictures, interviewed friends, made cooking videos, and have used it as my virtual playground...all thanks to social media. So, in other words, I love social media and owe a lot to it. That's probably why I was actually afraid to take a break from it, but...
Social media can also give you just enough information to make up fantastic stories on people's lives...that are probably pretty inaccurate. It can give me the excuse to 'know' them through their Instagram feed or Facebook wall without ever seeing them face to face. When I abuse social media, I can begin to use it as a window for comparison...and however I react to it, whether it makes me feel better or worse, is not right and I'll be honest, I could tell I was abusing it. Social media can take the touch out of relationships for me if I become more curious than caring with it. Jeanne Steven once said, "Don't let the outside of someone define the inside of you."...that is what I can let social media do for me when I don't keep it in check.
I came to a point, both personally and professionally where I was feeling a little stifled and weighed down by it all. It was this very ugly game of comparison I was playing...and it's not Facebook or Instagram's fault. It was mine, because as with all good things, I wasn't balancing it correctly.
I've talked a lot about "perspective"...and it was time I regained a little. I wanted to deliberately "look up" from my phone and engage...but I'll be honest, I was a little scared. It sounds really funny to say that now.
I was scared because my business and "store front" are all media based, I kept thinking, "Will I lose my business?" Again, that sounds kind of ridiculous now.
So that was my first lesson...no one noticed. :) I had a couple friends notice that I didn't 'like' their Instagram pictures, but I'm pretty sure they didn't lose any sleep over it. I had a couple friends notice that my blogging had become non-existent, but pretty sure they just clicked-on to the next one. No one noticed...which was a huge relief to me. I know it probably shouldn't be, but it was. I can get myself worked up in thinking that too much of my life is on display...but the age old saying remains true, "People aren't thinking about you." That sounds terrible, but it's really kind of wonderful. The time I occupy in their minds is about the time it takes for them to swipe to the next picture.
I've literally watched friends jeopardize tangible relationships for more Instagram followers (a couple of long and boring stories)...but did you know, if you delete your Instagram account, you can't get it back? You lose all your 'followers' (a term that I really hate). It's THAT temporal...and I kind of love that because it just really doesn't matter how many 'followers', likes, or friends we get. It does in that it's always great to have something we put out affirmed (trust me, I love every 'like' I get...it's fun), but it has NOTHING to do with me personally.
I've found myself on this little journey around the mid-west connecting with friends, face to face...and I keep saying, "I'm breathing". I really am. I'm looking in the eyes of these friends and family I follow, I'm tasting the food they make, I'm laying in their hammocks, I'm petting the dogs they photograph, I'm listening to their music, I'm dancing with strangers, I'm hearing the laughter of their kids, I'm seeing their frustrations, I'm watching their lives, I'm telling them about mine...we've laughed, cried, been scared, been brave together...they have opened up to me, and I to them. I didn't even plan this trip...it just kind of happened, because of this fast.
What I've learned through this is that I don't hate social media...I actually love it. But I've also learned that it's good for me to take a break and breathe from it. That behind each account I follow are real people and real emotions. I really love these people, and I think they really love me back. ;) I learned that I'm much more addicted to it than I thought, and yet, I'm also not as addicted as I thought. Meaning, it occupied much more time than I'd even noticed...it was my go-to in too many situations. However, cutting it out wasn't as difficult as I'd thought and in the end, I didn't miss it as much as I'd predicted I would.
I'm back on social media, and no doubt, I'll take a break from it again at some point. The fast was very needed and I'm no hero for having done it, just a much richer person. Perspective regained. :)