Back in January, I locked myself out of Facebook and Instagram. Here’s an honest account of the last four months sans social media following my initial ‘Life Without Likes’ post.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing
I recently sent my pregnant friend a TED video that gave a fascinating view into what babies learn before they are born. Afterwards, I discovered that she’d already had her second baby, and her first just celebrated her birthday. Oops.
Out of the loop
I have missed barbecues, birthdays and baby showers because I’ve not been online. It is tricky to know who saw my original post declaring that I was coming off the platforms, so I’m not taking it personally. After all, it was my decision to make myself harder to contact. I am worried that I have inadvertently offended some by not RSVPing, though.
Some of my friends and family may think I’m back on Facebook. Why? I recently set up my blog posts to be automatically uploaded there again. I made this decision because no one was visiting my WordPress site anymore and I was lonely. Exploiting their marketing tools is allowed, right?
Connectivity strength – good
Since rejecting social media, I’ve been writing letters home and practicing my calligraphy. To make it even more old school, I’ve been sealing the envelopes with wax impressed with my initial. As I live halfway around the world to most of my friends, I’ve been setting up regular video chats back home. Even though a screen is separating us, it feels good to see their faces moving and hear their voices. Life in three dimensions is always better.
I’ve had so much more time to write, practice yoga and learn Spanish. I don’t think I was spending an excessive amount of time mindlessly scrolling before, but I never gave my brain time to stop. Instead of notifications, memes and filtered photos, I try to let my brain aimlessly wander. Experts often cite that people have their best ideas in the shower or as they drift off to sleep, so I’m just carving out more moments like this where I’m not pulled towards the black hole that is my phone.
Overall, it has been a positive experience and I won’t be returning to Facebook or Instagram anytime soon. However, I’ve still not deactivated them. Why not? Well, I want the opportunity to return if I change my mind. As I live abroad, it is more difficult for me to stay in touch with everyone. One of the beautiful things about creating a personalised social network is that you can update everyone with the click of a button. This experiment has really given me a greater insight into how I use my time. Now, instead of maintaining my personal brand online, I’m spending more time maintaining my relationships with others.
How about you? Would you give up social media?