I’ve actually been thinking about doing this for a while now. Detoxing from social media. In the past I’ve always called these little jaunts away from social media “fasts” or “breaks,” but I’ve never used the word detox. This time, though, it fits–and fits well.
It’s sad to say this, really, but it’s true: social media has and is contributing to much of the ANTI-social behavior that we witness in our culture right now. We all know the symptoms, and we can certainly deduce the cause. There is a sense of impunity offered through the anonymity (real or imagined) of the virtual world. We say things to and about people that we would never say to their faces, or even about them to other people’s faces. There is no accountability when we are the only person in the room. So, it becomes much easier to dehumanize people we do not particularly like, or with whom we have a disagreement of some sort. A popular term presently floating around for this is “otherizing.” When we otherize people, civility, courteousness, compassion, and grace are not necessary. People deserve those things. “Others” don’t. Social media makes otherizing too easy; it is making us anti-social; and the environment it is helping to create is, quite literally, TOXIC!
Good grief, I hate bringing up politics, but I’m going to just briefly…
I admit when I’m wrong and when I do bad things. Back before the election, I fell into the trap of all-politics-all-the-time on social media. I posted almost every story I came across that supported my particular politics and point of view. My Facebook “wall” was a gigantic mass of political poison, and I truly thought I was doing good. My Twitter feed was nothing but politics, and I joined in
just about every Tweetstorm that started. I said horrible, hateful, terrible things to and about people–things I would “never say to their faces, or even about them to other people’s faces.” Then it hit. Trouble sleeping. Staying up all night refreshing Twitter and Facebook to see if anything new had happened. A nearly constant feeling of anger and sometimes outright rage at people I didn’t even know and would likely never know.
I was being poisoned!
When I finally took a step back, a deep breath, and an honest look at my own actions I was disgusted with myself. Social media had made me/is making me a morbidly anti-social person. I knew then that I needed to do something to stop it, but it’s taken me this long to take the step to do it.
For the next 30 days (at least), I will not be active on social media. I have deleted the apps from my phone, and I have installed extensions on my web browsers that make logging in more tedious than it should ever be–and totally prevent it during my waking hours. Granted, extensions can be removed and apps can be reinstalled, but I’m less likely to do either of those things than I would be to just “take a peek” at Facebook or Twitter. I’m still posting to Instagram because, of all my social media outlets, that is by far the most tame…that’s probably cheating, but hey, at least I didn’t totally say “No, no, no!” I can’t figure out Snapchat anyway, so that will be no problem. My blog will continue to post to Twitter and to my Facebook page automatically, but I’ve allowed myself that since I’m not physically doing it. (Maybe that’s cheating, maybe not.)
This is going to be tough for me. My problems with anxiety make getting out and doing things with people difficult at times. But, my hope is that this detox will service two purposes:
1) Get rid of the anti-social poison that social media injects.
2) Force me to get up, get out, and get busy living a life with other real human beings.
I’m not going to challenge you to do this with me or anything. Those challenges always annoy me when other people do them. But, what I will do is encourage you to do what I did a few months ago…
Take a step back.
Take a deep breath.
Take an honest look at who you are on social media.
Then ask yourself…
Does my social media persona match the person I want to be? Does it match the person I think I am?
If the answer is yes, great! You’re among the rare few who manage to keep it that way. If the answer is, no, then perhaps you want to consider taking some time away from it, detoxing, and getting a fresh start?
It’s just a thought, really. It’s what I’m doing, but I know it’s not for everyone. Either way–whether you join me or not–I hope you’ll keep reading here, and if you find something that I’ve written enjoyable, inspiring, infuriating, or are otherwise moved by it, please share, Share, SHARE!
The pictures below have absolutely nothing to do with social media, but they are sights from the first day of Spring at my house….which I saw today….because I went outside and looked!