For the past month, I decided to take a step back on my use of social media.
I wasn’t ‘over it’ like so many people seem to be proclaiming these days. I just wanted to see how it felt not to post for a month and to be more of a passive observer.
Now, usually, when somebody writes a post about quitting social media, they take a righteous stance. They see themselves as somehow superior to everyone else and able to abstain from the addiction of the masses. They are also painfully annoying to listen to because they sound so damn self-righteous about it.
It’s always interesting to me that when people quit social media, they need to announce it first on social media. Irony aside, there is something interesting about that. There is a need to let everyone know they are unique or counterculture, or making a life change.
In any case, I didn’t quit. I didn’t close any accounts. I just didn’t post. I still looked at all my accounts once every few days. I gave out a few likes and comments. And that was it.
Nobody’s life was any different because I stopped posting.
And that, I think, is the big lesson for me. I like to imagine myself as a quasi-influencer, somebody who shares ideas and aims to be inspirational. But nobody was crying out for my unique brand of influence or inspiration during the past month. Everyone survived the month without me.
Or rather, everyone was so wrapped up in their own posting, sharing, liking, and commenting that they didn’t notice I was silent.
Social media is so intertwined with all of our lives today that sometimes it is hard to see where it ends and ‘real life’ begins. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is becoming real life. It affects how we feel and how we behave.
Personally, I value what social media brings to me, and how I can use it to contribute. But I am acutely aware it can also become a crutch, a distraction, and a time waster.
I’ve written and spoken before about our compulsive need to share our life experiences with the social media friends and followers we have. I don’t pretend to have a solution for overcoming it, more than to say you have to remain vigilant about what value it really brings you.
Some deliberate thought and routine around my social media habits help me. I think a break from time to time helps me reassess the value it provides.
One thing is for sure. There is no going back to the way things were before social media. If you choose to use it, or not to use it, both actions have consequences. Both choices have an impact in different ways.
It’s up to you to gain what you value through the choices you make.