We Were On A Break – Ending My Affair With Social Media

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I stopped using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for 3 months. Yep! Cold turkey (or cold tofu if you’re vegan). What’s the worst that could happen?

I needed to take a break and do some serious reflecting on where my life and business were taking me. Doing so meant disconnecting from what everyone else was doing and promoting.

It was a little weird at first, but I suspected I wouldn’t miss anything. I did the same thing with news years ago and found that whatever information I needed to hear about came to me in some form.

This is what happened when disconnecting from social media. Anything important news or info about anyone important to me came to me through traditional forms of communication. In other words, someone would tell me to my face or call me. It’s a rarely understood phenomenon called human contact – look it up.

It’s true though, after 3 months of disconnect, I jumped back on and found stacks of notifications and friend requests and I hadn’t missed a thing.

I get that social media has it’s place. It can be a really efficient way of communicating to a lot of people at once. You probably even found this article or Your Genius through the use of social media. But if you think about what social media would be like in reality, it’d be weird.

You’d have a room full of people taking selfies and pictures of their food then standing up and yelling out to everyone in the room whatever is on their mind whilst waving their picture around. And if they’ve tagged a friend, then they’ll tell you who they’re with as well.

I know I sound like I’m in my 70’s harping on about what we did back in the day. This is just me reflecting on social media behaviour. Disconnecting from social media actually gave me more of my head-space back. There was a big decrease in feeling like I needed to try to keep up with everyone else.

Basically, very selfishly, I got my time back instead of giving it to everyone else. This meant I spent less time living through a 4 inch screen and more time experiencing whatever was happening in the moment. Yes, in the moment is a real thing, it’ll bow your mind.

The side effects of social media…

While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are incredibly powerful and connective technologies, I’m witnessing a growing amount of escapism for a lot of people.

The concerning part of it is that most people who are using social media as an escape, don’t even realise it. So, I want to point out 3 problems that most people aren’t fully grasping.

It’s an escape from real life.

That’s right. People are using it to get away from their current reality in order to achieve a sense of escape. Escaping every now and then is ok, in moderation. But if you’re escaping several times a day, then you need to ask yourself what you feel the need to escape from? What are you doing or how are you living your real life that requires escape?

It’s an awesome platform to show the world how you want to be seen.

Why is this a problem? Because everyone else is doing the same thing. They’re showing you only what they want you to see. Photos from a particular angle, positive quotes and sayings, views they’re experiencing, expensive dishes they’re eating etc.

You don’t see a lot of people showing their vulnerability and opening up about mistakes they make like they might do so in a conversation. So how real is the world you’re projecting on social media and how real is the world you see on social media?

It’s the best place to compare your life to other people.

How many times have you seen someone post something on Facebook and you thought to yourself “That’s so cool, I should do something like that.” After a while you begin to believe that they’re living a better lifestyle than you are. The problem is their lives can look like a complete success when you’re seeing it out of context. It’s not the full picture that you would get when you’re interacting with people on a personal level. Think of it this way – you can’t compare some else’s feature film to your ‘behind-the-scene’s footage’.

So I ask you, are you using social media to escape your life and if so, why are you escaping your life?

I bet there’s someone out in the world who would love to be living your life. So find a way to love your life as it currently is, otherwise it may be taken away from you without a letter of notice.

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