It feels like the past month has disappeared like an ice-cube in the hot Arizona sun…way too fast. I have thoroughly enjoyed leaving the world of blogging and social media behind for a few weeks. It has been just what I needed to refuel, refresh, and catch my breath after the craziness of April and May.
I must admit that I did not really know what to expect when I set out to take a month-long social media hiatus. I knew that I wasted way too much time scrolling through news feeds, but I was unsure of how difficult it would be for me to completely cut those ties for several weeks.
Rather surprisingly, I hardly missed it at all after the first few days, except on my birthday when I could not respond to all of the birthday wishes on my Facebook wall. Instead of longing for constant updates on my friends’ lives, I felt a remarkable sense of freedom. I was freed from the pressing desire to share the details of my life, which allowed me to focus more intently on making memories that did not need to include hundreds of other people in order to be fulfilling. Family vacation took on a whole new meaning when it was a “family vacation” instead of one that included hundreds of onlookers on Facebook.
There were many times throughout the month when I picked up my phone out of habit, quickly realized that there was nothing exciting to look at, and put it right back down before moving on to something more important.
How did looking at my phone every few minutes become such a habit that I do it even when there is nothing interesting to look at? It has become clear that the phone wasn’t the problem…the social media apps were. They provided an endless and instant stream of news feeds to scroll through and articles to read. Removing social media from the picture made it much easier for me to break the bad habit of constantly checking my phone.
We could have a discussion about the comparison and resulting unhappiness that sometimes goes hand in hand with social media, the constant concern about likes and comments, and the disregard for others’ feelings that is sometimes evident in what people choose to post. However, I have discovered over this past month that the biggest social media drawback for me is the amount of time that I tend to invest there when it does not provide me with much of a positive return.
I feel compelled to follow Steven Covey’s advice that I have shared before, but it is keeping me grounded right now:
In the absence of social media, it has been easier for me to focus on the “main things” in my life, and I would like to keep it that way.
The blog, on the other hand, is a different ball of wax. Although I have enjoyed the blogging reprieve, I am excited to dive back into the world of writing for reasons that I will discuss at a later date. The decision to continue with the blog leaves me feeling a little conflicted on how to proceed in the world of social media. A big part of me would love to abandon it altogether, at least for a few more months. However, in today’s world, the decision to blog is also the decision to utilize social media, and I do enjoy connecting with my readers through various social media outlets. The trick is finding balance, which is something that I sometimes struggle to achieve.
The question of how much is too much in the world of social media is such a personal decision, and I don’t know that there is a clear answer. For me, it comes down to why I am using it, whether it is taking precedence over more important things (like family, faith, and personal growth), and whether or not it is uplifting for me and for others who see the things that I post.
With that in mind, I have decided to resume posting on the Simply for Real Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram pages, in addition to writing on the blog. Aside from my work on the blog and the social media presence that goes along with that, I will not be investing much time or energy into my personal social media pages, at least for now. While I recognize the benefits of being able to instantly connect with friends and family all over the world, right now I want to take advantage of the momentum that I have gained over this past month, and use it to prioritize my life by putting and keeping the “main thing” in focus.
While I would love it if you want to follow my blog on social media, I also highly recommend logging off for a few weeks if you feel so inclined. If you are at all like me, you will learn a few things about yourself in the process. Perhaps it will be a springboard for change in your life. Maybe it will help you to discover what is truly important to you outside of statues updates, likes, and re-tweets. At the very least, it will give you a little bit of time to reconnect with your family without worrying about what everybody else is doing, or what you should share next.
Sound enticing? Go out on a limb and give it a try. It is liberating!