It’s been 9 months since I deleted all my social media accounts. I chose to take a hiatus of undetermined length after realizing how much the desire to be seen a certain way online had permeated my day to day life. After going this long without it, I have found that there are very small things I miss due to how deeply embedded social media is in all of our lives, but overall, I could not be happier to be free of Facebook, Instagram, and the like.
With the constant news stories about Facebook breaching users’ privacy and being complicit in the targeted dissemination of dangerous propaganda, it feels almost like a statement of my values to remain free of a Facebook account. I have been encouraged to see many companies and celebrities ditching Facebook over these concerns.
Instagram has been the account I found myself missing. One thing I tended to do on IG was scroll through photos of nature, animals, beautiful landscapes, art, inspirational messages, and of course, comedy. It was always a quick pick-me-up right at my finger tips. I do miss knowing what my favorite IG dogs, like Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund, Enzo, or Life of Pikelet are doing, but I’ve found ways to survive without the little bursts of happiness they gave me. I miss getting funny pictures or messages sent to me on Instagram, but people have been kind and willing to send me screen shots of things they cant @ me anymore.
What I’m happy to remain free from is the daily urge to portray myself as cooler, skinnier, smarter, and more in touch than I really am. It’s been nice to use my time to enrich myself through things I seek out rather than being inundated with messages from advertisers and fake curated accounts that made me feel like I needed to live up to a certain standard.
Of course, I do occasionally wish I could access a Facebook group to see when people are meeting up or post an event online instead of having to sends texts and emails to invite people to do something, but taking the longer route to stay connected has been good for me. I find myself actually reaching out to people more often to find out what they’re up to than taking the shortcut of being an online voyeur to their lives.
Just how deeply tied to social media I still am became apparent to me after one of our beloved dogs passed away. In my grief, it felt so strange not to take to Facebook or Instagram to make a memorial post to celebrate her life and mourn her passing. I’ll admit that it would have been nice to get notes of sympathy and support from loved ones who I didn’t feel ready to call or text about it. However, not having an online outlet gave me a beautiful opportunity to turn inward and to reach out to those with whom I really needed to connect in those moments of grief. It was interesting to have such a strong impulse to post online about my grief, but through finding other outlets for support, I think I learned more about myself and the experience of grieving.
For now, I see myself remaining social media free for the foreseeable future. I might have to spend more time looking things up or reaching out to find out how someone is doing, but overall I haven’t incurred any negative consequences of being off social media that would persuade me to get back on.
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