Friday, January 30

The End (?)

Are you guys sick of me yet?

Clearly not, because you're here. (Which reminds me, if you are still here, I think you're pretty great.)

Anyways, this post is going to be a follow-up to my recent post from exactly one month ago about my decision to get off social media (I mean this one). 

To clarify, yes, I'm back on social media to some extent now, but I'm being careful with it.

Honestly I feel almost like a recovering addict. I'm distinctly aware of how easy it would be to slip back into all of the drama that I was trying to escape, and I really don't want that to happen.

So here are the things that I learned during my hiatus, and how I plan to act accordingly.

1. While I was gone, I got things done in real life.

I didn't even miss getting my daily Facebook fix while I was gone, because I was too busy doing homework and practicing piano and reading good books and reading stupid books and running and going to the gym and drawing and painting and cleaning out my closet and writing and thinking deep thoughts and listening to awesome music and going outside and shopping and drinking coffee and taking pictures just to take pictures without posting them and actually talking to people with my mouth and GUESS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU AREN'T OBSESSED WITH YOUR FAKE INTERNET LIFE?

You start truly living your life in the real world. And the real world is kind of an awesome and beautiful place.

How will this affect my future use of social media? Well, that's easy enough: I'm cutting way back on Internet and getting as much real life as I can.

2. While I was gone, I realized that all I missed was the attention.

Let's face it: social media gives us the chance to make people pay attention to us, and we enjoy that. Getting tons of likes on a post makes me feel important and popular.

But really, how pathetic does that make me?

(Side note: Girls, I promise you are beautiful and valuable. I've been there. I know that if I'm feeling a little down in the dumps, posting a selfie with a witty caption is a surefire way to get tons of immediate validation from all my followers who all totally care about me in real life (*cough* sarcasm *cough*) You don't need scads of likes and shallow compliments, because you shouldn't be measuring your beauty and worth by how much attention you get on Instagram. *steps off soapbox* *steps back onto different soapbox*)

Like I said before, I did a lot of stuff while I was busy not constantly checking Facebook, and while I was doing all this fantastic stuff I discovered a quote from who-knows-who that I thought was interesting. (Dear Who-Knows-Who, I am giving you the best citation I can manage - you would make it easier for me to give credit where credit is due if you would put your name on your work.)

"Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers; but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead." - Who-Knows-Who

Once I got past my frustration with Who-Knows-Who's choice not to utilize the Oxford comma, I realized that I had gotten ridiculously caught up in the numbers involved in social media. I could tell you in a heartbeat which of my Instagram photos has scored the most likes. And while I still think it's cool to get a lot of likes, I'm trying to change my attitude about it. My focus needs to be real people in real life and trying to show real love to real people, not selfishly trying to get followers that I don't even know to like pictures that don't even matter.

So how am I dealing with this? Mainly I'm just trying to be conscious about the motives behind my posts being right. I'm specifically trying not to have such an elitist attitude about my Instagram feed. Maybe one of these days I'll even post a #nofilter photo... I'm also cutting back on how much I check my Instagram. (This was accomplished almost involuntarily when I downloaded that Disney Tsum Tsum game and became immediately, hopelessly addicted.)

3. While I was gone, I missed some important stuff.

It wouldn't be fair of me to only bash social media. While I was gone I definitely noticed some things about it that were beneficial and made my life a little easier. For example, I've been in charge of planning events for my graduating class, and I missed some time-sensitive communications from folks in the group who didn't have any other way to contact me. Different social media sites offer some great ways to make easy connections with people, and that's generally a good thing.

Plus, we all know Facebook is the number one way to confirm someone's relationship status. Who knows how many engagements and officially-becoming-a-things I missed in a month? (A brief note here: This one is 50/50 in my book because there's a fine line between legitimate curiosity and downright nosiness.)

I know that for "business purposes", I kind of need to be on Facebook so I'm available to people. But I also have a tendency to get carried away on Facebook. One thing leads to another, and before I know it, a "quick check" turns into a two-hour stalkfest. 

How I chose to deal with this is that I chose not to give myself easy access to Facebook from my phone. I do have the Facebook messenger on my phone so I don't miss any important messages anymore, but in forcing myself to either get on the computer or use my phone's snail-paced Internet browser, I've managed to eliminate almost all desire to check Facebook. I generally get on once or twice a day now. (So if I like something you post, either I'm totally stalking you or your post just happened to show up at the very top of my news feed.)

Those are the three big things that I realized about my social media use during my break. Despite the fact that I'm back now, taking a complete break for a few weeks was wonderfully refreshing. I would highly recommend some time away to anyone who is interested to get a new perspective on social media use. I hold true to my previous statement that the most important thing to keep in mind is that social media sites create an artificial environment. Once you start having more of your interactions in real life, it becomes obvious how little worth those Internet connections truly have.

I honestly feel like this is a huge issue that a lot of people struggle with, so I sincerely hope that something that I've said will strike a chord with someone, and that I'll be able to help in some small way.

I think this will be the last post about my whole journey with social media self-discovery and all (I'm still not a hippie, I promise). I imagine you guys are ready for me to talk about something else already (I know I am). This has been kind of a fun little venture into the world of serious blogging, but I do hope to return to more light-hearted topics in the near future. *much rejoicing*

Until then, everyone's assignment is to go outside and do something cool - and not Instagram about it.

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