Monday, February 16, 2015

Social Media and Lent

One of my oldest friends (who I've known for over a decade) doesn't like social media very much. She uses Facebook sparingly, doesn't have a Twitter account, and takes forever to reply to messages not on FB (and sometimes even on FB). I've always admired her for this (and many, many more) reason(s).

I'm currently sitting in my room, listening to Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Botti's version of "My Favorite Things." Funny coincidence because I've decided to give up one of my favorite things for Lent: social media. Not completely but... here, let me explain...

Last week -- without any heads-up to friends -- I gave up Google Talk after a certain hour as a trial run. I've noticed that social media has become a source of stress for me so I tried to eliminate something that is easy to give up first. Giving the instant messenger I used to communicate with friends a couple of hours before bed made a huge difference. I stressed out less and was generally less anxious and more at ease. That made me think about giving up social media for Lent... but I didn't commit to the idea until earlier today.

Last night, my iPod randomly began playing the iTunes session/live version of "Going to School" from the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack. I didn't listen to the song last night but I did this afternoon. My friend (the same one who doesn't like social media very much) gifted me the EP almost 9 years ago when I was having a particularly bad anxiety moment. Every time I listen to the EP, I think of my friend, of that time of my life (around the time of my reversion, now that I think about it), and of how the soundtrack has always made me feel: relaxed, content, and just blissful. Reflecting on this, I knew that giving up social media (as I use it now) would be the best thing I could do this Lent.

I know I'm hyper-connected. Not as much as I used to be but, boy, I am still hyper-connected. I know a big reason for this is because most of my closest/oldest friends have moved away and/or live too far. My friend who inspired this blog post/Lent resolution lives in New England with her husband. One of my oldest friends moved to the Midwest with her husband, another close friend just moved to the East Coast with her husband and child, my oldest friend relocated to the South with her husband, and my bestie lives in the Midwest. Everyone is so scattered and I haven't seen most of them in years so we use social media to stay connected. Still, I know I shouldn't use this as an excuse to be online as much. The fact that social media regularly stresses me out because, well, some people aren't very nice and/or I'm an easy target for bored people who have nothing better to do than bother me should make me want to give it up completely. Yeah... not going to happen, at least not cold turkey. lol.

If I'm being honest with myself, I know that I'm online too much because I don't get enough human interaction, especially these days that I've been sick. Even though I'm very much an introvert, it still doesn't mean that I don't get lonely and miss having my friends around. I don't want to use that -- lack of human interaction -- as an excuse anymore. I'm going to start small (joining a specific book club in the near future) and then work my way up to other things I can do, time and money permitting.

I'm not giving up social media entirely because, well, how else am I going to keep in touch with my friends (especially those who are often times busy with their families and/or work and barely have a chance to send a quick message)? There's a reason why I only have 24 people on my current FB profile (and why it'll stay that way for a long, long time). I'm not giving up FB because that's what I use to communicate with my brother and my oldest/closest friends but Twitter will see me much less. Ditto for Instagram. If I post anything on either site it'll be because of the content, not just because I'm bored and need human interaction. I may take a little longer to reply to tweets and things because I'll need to give myself some much-needed breaks from social media, but I'll still be around if anyone needs me for whatever legitimate reason (that isn't another "hey, I'm bored... talk to me" message; those are slippery slopes to more time wasting.) 

So that's what I'm "giving up" for Lent... besides unnecessary spending. I usually don't give up things for Lent but I am this year. No more excuses. I don't have FOMO (fear of missing out); I just get bored and sometimes need some human interaction, which is easy to get through social media. Yeah, I need to work on that...

Anyway, that's part one of my Lenten goals. Yes, I have more than one post regarding Lent but the rest are things I'm taking on this Lent so... be on the lookout for that one at some point this week. Like tomorrow or Ash Wednesday. We'll see how busy I get. :)

I hope y'all are having a good start of the week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


Amanda Marie said...

I totally understand what you mean when you said "I just get bored and sometimes need some human interaction, which is easy to get through social media."
I live nowhere near any of my friends. The closest is probably a good 15 hours of driving time away. Social media is convenient to keep in touch with them. Since the first of the year I have been on Facebook less and less. I find that I am not as stressed out anymore about all of that stuff.
I hope your week goes great.

Timothy said...

Yeah, I'm in the same boat. I Threw up a graphic across the Social networks that said 'Tis the season, and I logged out of everything and blocked them in my browser/deleted their apps.

I really waste alot of time on that mess.