The Social Media Conundrum

Recently I have been trying to live without social media to see how it impacts my life.

It’s been a vexed decision to pull the pin on FB and Insta. I find enjoyment in both, I find value in both, but the time they consume is equivalent to a part time job and the effect they have on my thinking processes is certainly significant.

It’s been two weeks since deactivating FB and Insta so time for some reflection on the good and the bad…

I really miss the instant sharing of something fun, quirky or inspiring. Now my means of ‘sharing’ is this blog and a post requires me to say more than a sharp sentence. It requires context and development of thought. It’s a whole different medium. I like blogging – and it has moved me back into a ‘writing ‘ headspace rather than a ‘sharing’ space – although ironically I am sure virtually everyone who reads my blog finds it via FB – so the last two weeks of thoughts have probably gone unread…

Often throughout the day I have found myself wanting to post a quick thought or share an idea and the absence of FB makes that much trickier if not impossible. I don’t want to write a blog post just to share a quote.

When I am having a great time and feeling compelled to ‘share’ I ponder ‘am I better off just living in the moment and not telling the world? To what extent am I sharing joy and to what extent am I simply bragging about my ‘very cool life’? It’s been good to ponder this. I don’t have an answer yet.

I do miss the instant interaction with the world – the fact that I can share a thought with friends everywhere and get a response. I have used FB for sorting out my Solar Power installation recommendations. I have used FB to garner sermon fodder from a diverse range of people. And so it goes on. The interaction is often fun and the banter is enjoyable.

I take less photos when I’m not on social media. I think that’s a neutral outcome. I have taken some photos while on holidays but I tended to use FB as a ‘life journal’ – a record of what I have been doing for the last 11 years and now I don’t have those memories stored anywhere in particular.

Of course the quiet moments have been quieter. While the rest of the family is on social media I am doing something else – reading a book – reading my blog feed. I also find when I have 10 minutes to kill I still look to my phone, but the reading material is different.

I have kept all of my business and church accounts active as I am one of the admins on them. I can’t escape that. It’s a different headspace though – posting as needed and for a specific purpose rather than just a spewing forth of life’s trivia.

Perhaps in that is both the value and the inaneness of the social media form. You can know what I am having dinner, how I stubbed my toe, that I had a boring day at work and so on. You can actually know me and have some real insight into my life and thoughts from my online profile – and I think is a pretty accurate depiction of who I am – and I can know you – or at least as much as you let me know.

So two weeks into going cold turkey on social media and I’m still debating the value of pulling the pin on it.

I have found myself reading a little more, I have felt thoughts for blog posts percolating more often and I have probably been more ‘present’ when I am with the family.

I may yet return to the ‘dark side’, but perhaps on different terms. I had deleted 250 ‘friends’ prior to my shutdown but I’m not sure if I want to do a clean sweep of everyone and then start over or whether I just need to consider how I want this medium to work for me.

Anyway – I’m sharing these thoughts conscious that may not get read by anyone, but that’s just how it is when you shift gears!

7 thoughts on “The Social Media Conundrum

  1. I read it, Hamo. I get your post delivered through Feedly…from way back when blogging was cool and before the world got distilled down to 140 characters or less.

    I’ve been thinking about dropping FB, too, but it seems just when I hover over “Deactivate”, a relevant or valuable tidbit arrives. I find that social media for me is more about keeping up with my community than friends. I follow my government officials, news orgs, businesses and community groups more than individual friends.

    I’ve tried to get back to writing but it takes time…scratch that…takes effort that I’m not sure I can give anymore. And it definitely can’t generate the kind of instant feedback that my funny photo or vacation shot can. Reflection is in short supply on both ends.

    That all said, I’m glad you’re thinking and writing and want to encourage you to continue. Eventually, you may inspire me to do the same.

  2. Thanks Bob – yep Feedly is my source too 🙂

    I feel like the addiction factor of social media is one of the good reasons to kick it. That said addictions tend to just pop out somewhere else unless the root cause is dealt with 🙂 But that’d take counselling and who knows what I’d find if I dug into the depths of my sordid life!

  3. There seems more value in blogging rather than the ‘spill your brains’ approach of FB.

    It’s not necessary to create 1000 carefully crafted words for each blog post, and in some ways a more honest “shoot from the hip” approach is preferable BECAUSE it includes honesty instead of polish. At the same time, writing to this slightly clunky platform is good, because it gives pause for thought and also stops the (very public) one-to-one direct connection that drives Facebook traffic as the rubber neckers watch a car crash happening.

    And like you say, it can consume a huge amount of time.

    I deleted my main facebook account a couple of years back. I was seeing inside the heads of people I knew far more than was useful, and the grace I had for them was pretty much used up. I still have a (different) account that was used to connect with a couple of individuals, but that’s not been looked at in months because the individuals on it aren’t really interested in any meaningful contact.

    The increase in blogging is good, however.

    • Yeah – my observation is both have value and I remember a time when I felt addicted to blogging so the issue may be more mine than the medium 😊.

      I’m undecided as yet.

  4. Still reading. 😉

    I’m three months into deleting Facebook. It’s been mostly good and occasionally annoying. I’m missing a few professional interactions, and recently the chance to share (brag) about one of my amazing kids, but on the whole I’m better for it. Reduced anxiety, more time, etc. I could easily slip back in….but for the moment haven’t. More blogging on the wish list too.

  5. Hi Scott – yeah, interesting times… I’m not sure if I will keep the ‘ban’ or head back but in a discreet and less visible way.

  6. Good to read this – having at least a month of deactivating FB and then re-evaluating. And strongly limited engagement with Instagram and Twitter. Will see where it leads. But encouraging to have others on similar journeys.

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