Why I’m Taking a Break from Facebook and Twitter

I’ve been slightly embarrassed to tell a few of my friends who have tried to contact me via social media, that I’ve given up on Facebook and Twitter for the time being.  A few have understood, most have not even noticed.  I actually tried to see how long I could go without my husband noticing, but he caught me when a friend asked in his presence, then he gave me a strange look that said, “why didn’t you just tell me?”  Part of me wanted to prove my point that social media isn’t that important by not telling him, and the world, out right that I was quitting.

Yes, I realize there are very good uses for Facebook and Twitter and whatever else you may use to communicate with friends who don’t live close.  I did feel a tinge of regret when one of my small group girls at church asked me last night if I was on Facebook or Twitter and I ashamedly said no.  Of course, I want to reach out and minister to my kids, but I have her cell number, and we found common ground on Instagram.  I mean, really, just how many means of communication must I have with people?  Surely two is enough.

It’s been almost a week since I ditched the social networking.  I chose to do this for a variety of reasons.  It’s something I’ve pondered for years, but have gotten strong opposition from close friends and family.  I mean, you give up 2 of your 10 internet accounts and you’ve all of a sudden fallen off the face of the earth.  We seem to forget what we did a mere five years ago, not to mention, ten years ago.

Strangely enough, I remember having closer relationships back then.  I was much more at peace.  I didn’t feel a need to constantly check to see if someone liked my status or if my picture was circulating to enough users.  I remember a time when I sat on my porch with a book, not a care in the world.  Fast forward ten years and I can’t go anywhere without my phone, and any free moment I get, I’m checking social media.  SO DUMB.

I also do social media at work.  Constantly on Facebook and Twitter.  It’s led me to despise it.  Really, the more I use it, the more useless it seems.  Honestly, I hope the social media fad phases out.  #wishfulthinking Who am I kidding!?  We are obsessive.

Not to mention, I feel I have to validate my decisions and choices to abandon social media, because social media has taught me that my entire life has to be validated and approved by my internet “friends.”  Pathetic.  So, I’m done here.

But, in case you still don’t get it, and want to attempt to force me back onto the world wide web, take a look at this article, 5 Reasons Social Media is Dangerous for Me by Glennon Melton.  This girl gets me.  Thanks Glennon.

If you don’t want to read the entire article, here’s my summary:

“I tell you all of this because I am about explain how social media, like food, can be threatening to my well-being. Here is what I learned about how I had allowed social media to change me over the years.

1. Social media had transformed me into an input junkie. Without social media, I simply didn’t know what to do with myself. During every un-filled moment, I felt the urge to “check” something — anything.  I had become unable to just sit with myself.  So, the Internet has become my enabler. It keeps me from stillness and discomfort, and this keeps me from growing.

2. I’d become a validation junkie, too.  The hardest part of living without social media was remembering that my little life was enough, so I could just stay there and live it without asking for anyone else’s permission or validation.  I realized that for me, posting is like asking the world — do you “like” me? Am I special enough? Am I funny enough, deep enough, smart enough, successful enough, love-able enough?  We constantly ask a cyberworld full of strangers if we’re worthy? Not good.

3. Social media lured me toward shallow and rigid thinking.  I realized that I was thinking in status updates. It seemed I had trained my brain to translate everything I experienced throughout the day into 140 characters or less.  I had to learn to stop shoving life into tweets and just let things be wild and big again.  

4. Social media threatened my only source of real peace and joy, which is gratitude.  All of this posting about my life shoved me out of THE MOMENT, which is where gratitude lives. Choosing to live my life out on social media meant that I was never truly present because as soon as a great moment presented itself to me, I jumped right out of it. And since gratitude is in the now and gratitude is the only path to joy, choosing to hop out of the now and into the cyber-world is rejecting gratitude and stealing joy from myself. And so I had to retrain myself to live in gratitude again.

5. During my Internet fast, I learned that social media makes me feel bad.  What was going on was comparison. I was comparing my life to hers and as they say, comparison is the thief of joy. No matter how satisfied I am with my stroke and my pace before I log on,Facebook shoves me right out of my own lane and back into the ridiculous hunch that I’m not good enough, that I’m missing something important, that I don’t have enough peace and success and that everyone else is living a more fulfilling, fabulous life than I am.  All we’re doing is using it exactly the way it was intended to be used. Facebook was designed by college boys to decide how “hot” one woman was compared to another, and now we use it to decide how hot one woman’s life is compared to another’s. Sometimes. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is powerful and sometimes compels us to make less-than-healthy choices because we don’t want to feel left out. I wonder if FOMO is what keeps many of us so closely tied to social media.”

Glennon ends her blog by noting many positive uses of social media.  I agree with her, it can be used in a positive way.  My problem was that I struggle using it to be positive.  It seemed to be my enemy 90% of the time.  Please know, this is NOT a post to bash you for using social networking.  I truly hope you are able to use it for good, and find joy in it.

If you can’t, though, like myself and many other girl friends I’ve talked to, consider giving it up.  It won’t be the end of the world!  I promise.

God never intended us to live our lives constantly seeking the approval of others.  He wants us to live seeking His approval.  And He accepts us just as we are.  We don’t have to perform, or have a perfect appearance, or go to the right events, or have enough “friends” and “likes.”  I don’t know about you, but that really takes a lot of pressure off!  It’s freeing!

We don’t have to let others steal our joy.  Social media is a lot like the traditional media – magazines, newspaper ads, television – constantly telling women they aren’t pretty enough, thin enough, tall enough…Facebook and Twitter constantly said “you are missing out on this” and “your life isn’t as important as mine” and “you didn’t go to this party like I did” and “you don’t have a baby like I do.”  And yes, it may not be intentional, and I’m sure our internet friends don’t consciously mean harm, but it does hurt.  And we have a choice not to let those things hurt us.

My last thought, some of you might be thinking, but you still have Instagram and you are blogging. Isn’t that the same?  My response would be no.  I don’t use Instagram and blogging the same way I did Facebook and Twitter.  I used Facebook and Twitter to keep up with what everyone else was doing.  I use Instagram as a creative outlet that’s dedicated to my dog.  I don’t actually follow many people I know, but I follow other pugs who have their own Instagram accounts.  Silly I know.

As for blogging, I’m trying to get back to the real reason I actually started a blog, which was to write.  I’m a writer.  The way to get better at writing is to write often.  I write not for readers, but for myself.  (Sorry to offend).  I write not to get ads or free stuff, but to define my talent.  I write because it’s a way to free my soul.  I write because I can’t not write.

And there I go again seeking validation and approval…

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