Approximately six months ago, when my life was shaken up, I decided to leave social media entirely. Like, not just “I’m leaving Facebook for a while and want to know how many people will miss me” leave…but really leave. Deactivate every account.
I’m an extrovert. Anyone who was a former social media friend of mine knows that. I posted daily on the various platforms. I interacted regularly. My social life had become fully intertwined with my social media life. So this was a big deal.
And I’m not going to lie: it has been challenging, often in ways I didn’t expect. Virtually over night, I lost contact with many people who had become close friends. What are they doing this week? How is their marriage? What will the rest of their life look like? It felt as if many of the people I cared about died, and I wasn’t able to go to the funeral.
I felt disconnected from the world. Events—political, religious, cultural—became less prominent, if for no other reason than that I no longer witnessed people arguing incessantly over them. Conveniently, this move of mine happened just before the election of Donald Trump—I can only imagine what Facebook newsfeeds have looked like since. But even for those people with whom I still stay in contact, I am missing much about their lives. I don’t expect them to cater to their one friend who is weird, who has no social media account. But it still is no fun knowing I don’t get to see their lives and share with them.
The positive of it all, though, is it has revealed to me how misplaced so much of my emotional energy was. Because I was so invested in the lives of others, I ran out of “me” to share, and often those I sacrificed were the very ones in whom I should’ve been investing.
I am amazed at the power of forces beyond me to control me. I had not realized how harmful my social media life had become to my real life, until I pulled away and gained some perspective.
So goodbye, social media. I appreciate many of the ways in which you enabled me to engage in relationships that previously wouldn’t have been possible. I loved staying in touch with close friends. But I have more important priorities to consider.