I’ve been feeling fancy-free on the weekends these days! No emotional tie or commitment to… social media!
For two weekends, I’ve gone through the process of deleting my social media apps from noon on Friday to around 5 pm on Sunday. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, and I’ve found that I’ve just felt FREE!
One of the catalysts was this blog “Why I Get Off Social Media on the Weekends” by Andrea Lucado. All I could think of was that there’s no way I could do that! It’s a great read if you have some time, but in the blog, she talks about deleting all of her social media apps every weekend. Bold. Hard. Self-Controlled. Restful. Those are the words that came to mind as I read it.
The greatest impact the blog had on me was this paragraph: “Sometimes during the week I take a “break” from work by scrolling through my social media feeds for a while. However, when I turn back to my work I never feel rested or refreshed. That’s because, I have learned, scrolling social media is not restful.” It really made me realize how much I thought that scrolling through apps like Facebook and Instagram were mindless acts that I am finding rest in, when in reality, it left me feeling anxious and empty.
I’ve had so many friends who, in the last few years, are either not on social media, were on social media and are no longer, on social media very little, or have put boundaries in place that restricts how much time they spend on it. For me, it was the best way of staying up to date and “in the know” of all things – celebrities, family, friends, trends, culture. I just couldn’t understand, as one who LOVES technology, why anyone wouldn’t want to be connected!?
I’ve been reassessing some of my “connectedness” lately. I took the first step by moving the Facebook app from my 2nd page, social media folder to the 4th page. It was crazy the muscle memory that kept swiping and tapping my social media folder to check it, all to find that it was no longer there. I took it a step further after about a week and ended up deleting the Facebook app sometime in November/December. I can’t even tell you exactly when I did it or for how long, but I do remember it being at least a month. The basis for my estimation – the number of chiropractor visits! I typically check in, and having to have to go through Safari instead of the app made it just a tad bit more difficult.
I also realized that I was starting to search or reach for acceptance, self-worth, my identity in what can be SO superficial. I know we’ve all heard the quote – “We’re watching everyone’s highlight reel, and comparing it to our behind the scenes” (or something along those lines). I was doing just that – comparing profiles/posts and basing my worth on posts and likes. Even this blog can easily become a source that I find acceptance, self-worth, and identity. I can track the number of views, where people are reading this, how many new people stop in. I can track who likes the link I posted on Facebook, and if you don’t like it, I could easily see it as rejection. I had to catch myself with being obsessed with checking the stats on the blog post “Status: Single” and ask for accountability because of how much it really just struck a chord with people. I could see myself becoming obsessed with numbers and readers and placing my identity in all of those things as I continue this journey. In reality, this is more of a space for processing, of sharing, and, hopefully, of encouraging!
The first weekend I was “social media free” was almost comical at times, as I had to ask friends who were making comments about posts in conversations and texts to either send me a screenshot or explain the post. It’s funny how they relayed or tried their best to explain, the posts! You know, I didn’t feel out of the loop in those instances! I didn’t feel like I was missing out – there was no FOMO!
My biggest takeaways from the experience are the fact that I was more present in whatever I’m doing and more genuinely interested in the lives of whomever I’m with. I’m more mindful of my words, actions, feelings, and thoughts when I’m disconnected. I’m reading books and whole chapters without looking at my phone. It seems ridiculous that I couldn’t read a whole chapter, but I was, and still at times am, a technology addict. I also found that I have less of a need to be on the apps during the week.
“When we feel rejected on social media, which is a thing, we don’t like to admit it’s a thing… the same areas in our brain will fire as they do when we’re physically injured.” – Alli Worthington
I’ve been spending some time listening to a speaker summit (I didn’t know this type of thing existed) hosted by Alli Worthington, author/speaker. The quote above hit me as I’ve been looking into the effect this social media-free weekend has had, and a quote from the latest blockbuster movie The Greatest Showman also came to mind – “You don’t need everyone to love you, just a few good people.”
In our deepest parts, we don’t want to feel rejected or left out, but loved and accepted. We can go searching for that all over social media with how many views, likes, little hearts, comments, or shares you receive on a blog, post, video, or picture. We like to “be in the know” of everyone’s lives. But where does that get us? It’s a momentary high, isn’t it? After we get that hit of a ton of likes or knowing the latest gossip, we go searching for the next! It’s like a drug, and we find ourselves posing for the next best Instagram photo, taken at just the right angle. Don’t get me wrong – you Instagrammers have major game that I just don’t have! So, no hate here! It’s less the actual process of it and more the state of the heart behind it is what I think I’m trying to get at.
The time away from social media made me recenter where my identity is found – in Christ. “Because when we settle every fleeting desire in the moment instead of letting God work, we miss what it’s like to have our deepest desire – the one we’re ultimately trying to satisfy with all our instant gratification and destructive decisions – satisfied.” (Soul Scripts)
“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.” – Psalms 107:9
What if community, love, and acceptance from people aren’t found in these artificial engagements and temporary highs, but rather in real interaction with real people in person. Not facetime, not a snapchat pic/video, not Instagram boomerang, but a real-life, in-person sharing of a meal, dessert, or coffee and conversation. I think the greatest disservice with the increase in technology is this invisible feeling of being connected to people or in a community.
What if real connectedness is being intentional in engagements, whether in person or via social media?
I don’t deny social media’s amazing usefulness for people who can’t physically connect with people, whether it be distance or medical reasons, to provide a connection. I’ve been watching my friend’s boys grow before my eyes via snapchat, and I’m SO grateful for technology! Without it, that wouldn’t be possible!
Maybe the discussion should be more along the lines of self-control? Excess? Restraint? This may lead me to a new blog after I’ve completed this for a few weekends. I’ll tag up with you all on this journey! I’m not sure this will be a permanent practice, but it may just be needed for a season.
So, part of this specific blog post is the processing/sharing of this experience, but the other is in peacing out! It’s FRIDAY!! I’m logging off for the weekend – I’ll see you Sunday! Yep – it’s purposeful that I’ll post this and not see who reads this, who likes the Facebook post, who comments on FB, or who shares the link!
Yes, it’s a pain to delete and reinstall, but it’s a part of being diligent in my mental/emotional health that has done me some sort of good. Feel free to join me and share what effects it’s having on you!