As of Monday morning, I am no longer present on Facebook or Twitter. I didn't delete my accounts but instead deactivated both of them.
And as itchy as my hand is to click on that little button at the top of my browser in order to catch up the latest "news" from my "friends," I'm feeling a bit more calm and relieved.
I had to shut off the chatter.
The chatter floating around on Facebook and Twitter was (is?) affecting the chatter circulating my brain and heart.
Social media has become a film reel of everyone's best moments. No one posts pictures of a dirty house littered with toys or posts a status update about how in debt they are because of that fancy new car they bought. We tend to edit our lives to only the GOOD parts when we put ourselves out there for the world to see. Putting your best foot forward one might say.
And you know what? For the most part, that's okay. I want to see pictures of my far away bestie's gorgeous kids in homemade Halloween costumes. Before my brother moved back to Texas from Maine, Facebook was the easiest way for him to be able to view her first few months of life. Through a status update and accompanying photograph, I was delighted to find out that a close friend of mine from college finally put a ring on it. Social media can be a wonderful tool to keep in touch with faraway family or reconnect with old friends.
But as with most things in life, it can have a dark side. When you begin measuring the quality of your everyday life based on the best parts of everyone else's, you might end up feeling like you got the short end of the stick. Or you can use misfortune in other people's lives in order to give yourself a pat on the back because in comparison, you're doing pretty great. But regardless of the matter in which social media changes your perspective, the fact remains is that it takes your focus away from where you should be receiving your self-worth. For me, that place is from the knowledge that God created me and to paraphrase the Bible - God don't make no junk. It does my relationship with God no good to be comparing the body, mind, gifts and life that He so graciously gave me to the body, mind, gifts and life that He provided to someone else. He created me the way that I am for a reason and it's through His wisdom and guidance that I will figure out how to use all that I have been blessed with in a way that brings Him glory.
And to be honest, I've also found that the older I get, the less I need PEOPLE in my life. Let me clarify - the less I need extraneous people that are not authentic friends who add significant substance to my life. I was never the girl that had an army of gal pals surrounding me. More like a few close friends with whom I shared my secrets and then a broader group of boys and girls who we hung out with on the weekends. I am definitely relishing in the fact that I don't know everyone's business and nor do they know mine. Perhaps this little break from social media will spur me into getting together or chatting with my close friends more often seeing as how I'm not keeping tabs on them via status updates.
Craig and I were talking about my little experiment tonight at dinner and I was telling him how my fingers were a little twitchy when I opened the "social" folder on my iPhone and THERE IS NOTHING THERE. He asked about the blog and whether I considered it "social media" and therefore would I be taking a break from it as well. I get where he's coming from because in a sense, writing a blog and reading other people's blogs is a form of social media but for me, I'm not just writing to meet friends and influence people. (But if that happens somewhere along the way, that's fantastic too!) I blog because it is a creative outlet, a place to funnel my thoughts and feelings as well as a chronicle of my life for Natalie to read someday so that she might have a greater understanding of her mother.
I am most definitely keeping my blog because it doesn't give me any of those negative effects I listed above - if anything it provides exactly the opposite. I love the people who write the blogs that I read on a regular basis. I find comfort in the words that they write, the emotions they express, and the hardships they face. There is something deeper here on the blogosphere that I don't find on Facebook or Twitter. We don't just give the highlight reel. We blog when we're full of elation and joy and we blog when we're overcome with sadness and desperation. In short.......it's REAL here among my blogging buddies and those are the kinds of people that I want to surround myself with - both in real life and online.