I ran into Kris at a FBA meeting (Facebook Anonymous), and she encouraged me to share my story. So here it is, My Life After Social Media:
The decision I made almost 6 months ago, to remove Facebook from my life, has been a unique and fulfilling experience. I used to be what one would could easily call a “heavy” Facebook user, a veritable social media expert; my own online PR agency. I would post images of all of the interesting things in my life (at least, what I thought was interesting), respond to all the breaking national and global news with my own opinions, and engage in all the superficial and totally meaningless activities that Facebook social media rules dictate I engage in. Yep, I was one of those…
Then there came a point, where in the middle of typing a very heavily opinionated response to something that I had read on someone’s wall, I froze. What difference did my opinion really make, and why was I putting so much effort in such a trivial and superficial human interaction? Why did I even CARE about what this person thinks?
The funny thing about the thread that I had commented on is that it was a “conversation” concerning domestic surveillance programs The individual that originally posted was APPALLED at the idea of the government collecting data on them and their digital activities. In the course of reminding them that the very platform they are using literally does that exact same thing (and then sells it the highest bidder), let alone the thousands of companies and websites that also do this same thing, I was overcome with a feeling of hopelessness. Not hopelessness at the broader situation that we find ourselves in as a society regarding privacy (or lack thereof), but the hopelessness that comes with trying to explain a concept to someone who isn’t ready to accept facts.
That was when I decided to get out of the game, hang my social media hat up, and actually interact with people on a legitimate level; in person.
Now, that is not to say that I transformed into some bright and bubbly social butterfly; I abhor chit-chat and view meaningless interactions as just that: meaningless. What it did do is allow me to appreciate the people around me more. I felt more alive to be around people, like I had become part of something bigger than myself again.
If you have thought about quitting Facebook or social media, your reasons may be very different from mine. But I think your experience will be similar. My reasons were a desire for meaningful interaction, and, you know, privacy concerns Nothing like a new government administration to make you realize how little information you trust them with. What resulted was something that I didn’t quite expect – speaking to people instead of reading about them online made me actually learn about them. It pulled me out of my bubble and allowed me to notice so many nuances I had ignored in the height of my social media usage. Things like body language; tone and inflection; non-verbal cues that make of human communication come into forefront, where they belong. My experiences with people are much richer for it. Not more interactions, but richer ones.
So if you’re thinking of taking the big plunge and dropping social media like I did, then all I can say is give it a try. I didn’t delete all of my accounts, but I definitely stripped them down and removed them from my phone/tablets. I use social media in very deliberate and calculated ways, and that’s what works best for me. Challenge yourself to only 5 minutes of Facebook or social media a day, or heck, even skip a day and get out in the real world. There is a richer and more vivid world beyond your screen, try it out!