Now, I won’t lie, this whole social media fast was a bit of a hasty decision. I didn’t have a big plan or a vision for the fast – I just decided to do it. And within four hours of that decision, I had changed my profile pictures and deleted all the apps from my devices.
The first few days were an adjustment. It was part of my daily routine to scroll through Facebook and Instagram: eliminating this activity was strange and I left lost at times. But what I found both interesting and comforting was the number of friends and acquaintances that asked me about how I was doing and who said that after seeing my post, they too decided to back away from social media for a time.
People continue to ask me how I am doing. Some are shocked and look at me like a mythical creature who couldn’t be real. How could I be off social media and still continue to exist?!? Others are more encouraging, and I can tell are contemplating a change for themselves.
So, here is what I tell anyone who asks:
I am honestly and truly loving being off social media! I feel like a huge space of my brain that was clogged up with garbage news or random pictures and information from people with whom I have no actual contact was suddenly freed up. Why should I spend even one second thinking about what someone I knew 25 years ago had for dinner tonight? Or looking at perfectly toned and tanned pictures of someone else’s post-baby body?
What I have found is that I am shockingly more productive during the day since stopping social media. That space in my brain is now being used for all kinds of things in my immediate surroundings and it is wonderful. I have more time in the mornings since I don’t lie in bed scrolling and liking until 15 minutes past when I really should have gotten up. I’m not thinking about pictures to post and/or captions to go with them. I don’t find myself making comparisons to other moms, homes, kids etc.
It is a wonderful freedom.
Of course, there are lots of pictures and people I miss, but I figure that those people and pictures will find their way to me somehow. And if they don’t – oh well!
In addition to all my free brain space, I have noticed that my relationships with close friends have improved. Instead of spreading my focus across hundreds of internet friends, I now have only a few good friends with whom I text and talk. At the end of this 100 day experiment, I already know that these relationships will be the thing I am most thankful for.
Social media is supposed to bring us all closer together – and it does, on some level. But I have found that I’d rather be very close to a few people than somewhat close to lots and lots of people.
That being said, I have also found that I enjoy going out and socializing with people even more. It is fun chatting with someone when I don’t already know every detail of her life. We can actually catch up and have a conversation that doesn’t involve the phrase, “I saw that!” after every sentence.
I also think that social media does help people stay more connected to others around them, but sometimes I found that I was drained before I ever went out to converse with real people. Seeing and reading everyone’s posts was like going to a massive cocktail party throughout the day. By the time I got out and had a chance to talk to live people, I often felt myself tired of small talk before it started because I’d been digitally engaged in it all day.
But still, the big question is, what happens on Day 101?
Here’s what I think:
I will get back on Facebook Messenger and Facebook Groups. I have found that I use both of those tools to stay in contact and up to date with certain friends and groups that I’m a part of. It has been more difficult being off of Groups than anything else actually. Especially since I am hosting a book club at my house in a few weeks and have no way of checking who is coming because we use Facebook Groups for communication. Luckily, I have kind friends who text me what I need to know.
So, if you wondered how it is going – there it is. It’s fabulous and I would highly recommend taking a break, even a small one, just to see how it feels.
Cheers – Emily