I have not posted anything regularly on my personal social media accounts since April 7th. Since then, I think I posted once to my Facebook and 2 or 3 times to my Instagram. I have checked my notifications periodically to make sure no one tagged me to something important, but other than that, I’ve been straight ghost. And I have enjoyed it greatly! Ask yourself: when’s the last time you said to someone “I didn’t see that. I haven’t been on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat lately”? I’m willing to bet you haven’t uttered those words since 2008 and that’s a damn shame. We are so tied to our cellphones and the majority of that tether leads to a post, share, retweet or story. I realized it was a problem for me so I quit cold turkey by hiding the apps on my phone so I wouldn’t be tempted to “just check”. But why, you ask? Well, there are 5 reasons why.
1: It’s A Time Suck – I used to check my social media accounts when I woke up, during my breaks at work, when I got home after work, while watching TV, during any lull in conversations or waiting for people, and occasionally while in the bathroom (don’t judge me). I am not proud of any of this. I justified all of this foolishness by saying I wanted to see what was going on in the world or that I was bored. But I noticed that I wasn’t really paying attention to what I saw on my timefeeds. I was just scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling as if I was hypnotized by the moving pictures and words. Eventually, the only thing that caught my attention was the worst stories or the most juvenile memes and videos. I got nothing from my social media so I let it go.
2. It’s A Soul Suck – There’s only so much gossip, police brutality, death in Syria, and stupid challenges one person can take. With all the scrolling I was doing, I felt like I was bombarded with the same kinds of posts over and over. Then I realized it is designed that way. Remember last year when the brands and celebrities you follow on Instagram told you to add them to your notifications so you wouldn’t miss any posts? That’s because the platform changed from chronological order to “most meaningful content”. Aside from annoying the hell out of everyone, the new algorithm started to pick up on the posts you liked or commented on, then gave even more of the same. I first noticed this when Beyoncé dropped the album Lemonade. I am not a big Bey fan, but I jokingly commented on the songs of infidelity and how they relating to that infamous elevator fiasco between Solange and Jay-Z. After that, my IG was all Beyoncé all the time. Same thing happened on Facebook feed when I posted and commented on police officers losing their collective minds, as well as the craziness in Syria. Instead of it being a way to kill time, my social media accounts started to kill my sense of safety and belief in humanity. I’ve never been naive to the ways of the world, but seriously, we all could use a break from life’s tragedies.
3. Too Many Voices – After Teflon Don became the president, I made the mistake of following Fox News on Facebook. I was already following The Root and CNN to get my daily dose of the news. The goal was to get both sides of the fake news so that I could form a somewhat educated opinion on whatever was going on in this country and the world. My second mistake was reading the comments section. At first, I was thoroughly entertained with “snowflakes” this and “libetards” that, but that got old SO damn quick. Oh, and the other news outlets comments sections weren’t much better. It got to the point where I knew exactly what kinds of comments I was going to see. I noticed the bias in the stories and how the writing was structured to fit the demographic. Even more disheartening was seeing my friends and family post links to stories that were outdated or clearly fake. It is so sad that we can’t trust our new sources, but even more sad that we feed into the BS like pigs at a trough. I got so tired of hearing the world’s opinion so I turned it all off and decided to detox from not only the negativity but the foolishness.
4. Back To Privacy – We’ve all seen those pictures of hospital visits and medical bracelets. Or read the vaguely worded status update which hints at a relationship gone wrong. Both posts will elicit concerned comments like “OMG what happened? Call me.” or “Girl, don’t even worry bout it. #hegonelearn”. I bet you’ve also seen that one person who posts every damn thing but suddenly puts up the “mind your business/you don’t know my life” post. Social media has become the modern-day diary where we post our inner most thoughts. But unlike that small book with a lock on it to keep prying eyes at bay, we post filtered pictures and cryptic statements with the hope that someone will notice that we are wanting to be comforted or simply seeking attention. I too have posted something when a loved one passed away or when I was in my feelings for one reason or another. It started to feel hollow, especially when no one commented or I asked a question and someone just liked it. “Did anyone see my post?” I wondered. When it started to bother me, I realized I cared too much about what other people thought and that I became one of those who was seeking attention.
5. Living or Existing? – With all this scrolling and time-wasting, I noticed I was not living my life. I spent more time finding inspiring quotes about living a good life on Pinterest instead of making it a reality. I liked travel pictures and posts from my friends but I wasn’t booking any plane tickets. I felt bad about the ills of the world, but wasn’t volunteering to help any of the causes I cared about. I simply existed as shell of a person who went from my bed to my job and back again. I let other people tell me what was going on in the world, but didn’t step out my front door to see for myself. I commented on the happenings of others more than I created memories or lived out my dreams. No wonder I started to feel boring. I recently began looking at my Instagram more since starting this blog. Hey, a girl has to find inspiration for writing. But taking a break was much needed and now I go several days, if not weeks, before scrolling for a few minutes. I encourage anyone who has considered a social media detox to definitely try it. Trust me, you won’t miss anything and you just might appreciate the world around you without feeling the need to post it.