Monday, April 17, 2017

I Actually Hate Social Media...?

Welcome to the first post of the 2017 edition of "Here's What Smacked Emmy Upside the Head During Lent"... or "What Emmy Learned During Lent," if you want it worded nicely. lol. I did learn a couple of things but, really, it was more like an expansion of things I learned last Lent (and during the year that followed). That and I also had a deluge of clarity on a number of topics that happened between last week and yesterday. I'm going to have to break them down into separate posts so I'll be focusing on the social media part for this post.

Raise your hand if you saw the tweet I posted yesterday; about how I felt almost forced to return to Twitter. I stand by that statement. I do. Oh boy, do I ever. When I shared that I was giving up social media for Lent prior to the start of Lent, I knew I needed it but I didn't know just how much until the initial "oh man, how am I doing to fill my time?" adjustment period faded.

I had a really hard time quitting social media cold turkey at first. I had filled my quiet/free moments of the day with (mainly) browsing Instagram, checking Twitter, and (to a smaller degree) trying to catch up on friend's updates on Facebook so having none of that was hard to adjust to. I ended up getting sick the weekend before Lent began and I ended up having health issues pop up for an entire month so I was just physically unable to do much. That actually helped curve the social media FOMO. I wasn't even able to go to any Ash Wednesday service, making it the first Ash Wednesday in years that I didn't get any ashes on my forehead. I spent almost the entire month physically weak or just incredibly fatigued so that was my priority -- working around that while doing a research paper and studying for exams.

It was actually a great experience for me because I would've normally tweeted out a bunch of prayer requests but, of course, I couldn't. Instead, I texted friends on particularly bad days on which I felt I needed prayer to get through the day. (side note: if you're wondering what happened: I accidentally had dairy the weekend I went to Mexico and, as it had happened the last time I had dairy, I was physically debilitated for the entire month following it. This has confirmed the dairy intolerance/allergy I have.)

The longer I went without social media, the more I realized that... hold on, I actually hate social media? Is that right? But... I'm always on it. How can I hate something I'm always using? That came glaringly obvious last week when I was telling a friend about why cutting back on social media during Lent was good. After reading books like Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter (it's a Goodreads link; I'm not selling you anything) and seeing how much better I felt overall without the use of social media, I knew that if I abandoned my @nerdwriter accounts, I wouldn't feel sad nor would I feel the FOMO most people feel.

What brought me to this point? Seeing how less stressed out I was. I was much more charitable towards others. I was, overall, more peaceful and happier during the day... even if I had a ton of really crummy things happening. I was more attuned to a lot of things (some of which I will blog about soon). I got more done yet I also had a lot more time to read and take care of myself while I tried to rest and recover from the accidental dairy ingestion. Do you know what a relief it is to not be constantly bombarded with negative messages... with passive-aggressive (or simply aggressive) messages from strangers... to not hear about politics... to live your life without the sensationalism and drama that seems to permeate in social media platforms? Bliss!

Furthermore, I saw the negative aspects that social media had brought out in me. I was more likely to procrastinate (a problem I already had that didn't need that added social media component), my vanity and ego were flattered at times, my concentration was poor, I wasted a lot of time, I was too worried about what others thought of me, etc. I felt like I had to -- as Elizabeth Scalia wrote in Little Sins Mean a Lot: Kicking Our Bad Habits Before They Kick Us (which I haven't finished; I'm at the 65% mark according to Goodreads) -- "remain agreeable, keep your thoughts in the acceptable box, and keep serving up the praise-fodder." I didn't like feeling censored. I've been trying to get away from that on this blog by writing about things I'm going through and the thoughts I have about them -- even if I know people will have problems with what I write -- but it hadn't translated into social media.

I did return to my @nerdwriter Twitter account once during Lent and it was to passive-aggressively tweet about my experience with racial profiling at Banana Republic. Not my finest moment and one that makes me cringe now that the anger and disappointment have faded. It just added to the long list of why social media needed to be seriously limited.

"Wait... did you just say 'limited'? Haven't you spent the entire post talking about how much you hate social media?" Yes to both questions. As much as I wish I could cut social media out of my life completely, I can't. Not because I'm addicted to it. I think I've developed a deep enough dislike of it to no longer have that problem. I can't cut it out completely because it's the only way I can communicate with some of my closest friends.

Some friends choose to post a quick tweet or update for everyone to see because they're so busy that texting or calling (or emailing) everyone individually takes too much time. That way they can get a message out to everyone and have the luxury to look at the responses when they have the time to do so. Unfortunately, since so many people now do this, they forget to update those who are not on social media. I was totally guilty of doing this, too. "Didn't you see the tweet or blog post about it?" I would sometimes think to myself. Oh, Emmy... Anyway, I didn't find out about the deaths in the families of a couple of friends until days later. I missed out on a lot of really important (some life-changing) updates -- things I wish I could've known about so I could be there for my friends -- all because I didn't get the message via social media and much less over a text message.

I can't force my friends to text, call, or email me their updates solely because I don't want to deal with social media. I have absolutely no right to ask them to make that exception for me, especially since many of them have good reasons to use social media as their main way of communicating with others. I did make more of an effort to, at least, text everyone with whom I normally communicate with every couple of days. It helped but there were things I still didn't get because, again, some forget that not everyone is on social media. I don't have FOMO (fear of missing out); I simply want to make sure I'm there for friends in their times of need.

After thinking long and hard about it, I decided that there are some social media platforms that I will be abandoning as of today. After a couple of videos on Instagram to explain things to those who won't read this blog post, I will no longer be using my (private) @nerdwriter account. I won't delete it because I have a lot of memories that I may want to revisit later on but I will no longer post any new content to it. It's my biggest time waster and there was content that was bringing out a lot of bad things to my interior life so I chose to abandon that account. Watch this video on how people live the "Insta Lie" if you have any sort of problem with Instagram. I apologize to those who sent me follow requests during Lent or before it. I'm not approving any requests, even if it's known you for years (you guys know who you are). There's no point since I'll be abandoning the account.

I will keep my @nerdwriter Twitter account like I did for Lent. I've had the account for almost a decade and have a lot of memories so I won't delete it but I won't use it like I used to. I will keep the IFTTT app so that the blog posts get automatically posted and I will share the occasional (we're talking less than once a week) link via whatever sharing service that particular website uses but I won't log into the account otherwise. If you tweet me a comment or question, I'll reply but that's about it as far as intentionally logging in goes. I won't be following anyone new and I really apologize for that but it makes no sense since I will no longer be checking the timeline. If you guys have blogs, I'll be subscribing so that the emails with new posts get sent to my inbox. If you really want me to see something, just tweet me and I'll check it out with the link you send me.

I didn't use my personal Facebook account much in the first place so that will be staying as is as well; only to check in with my brother and friends who are not on Twitter. That will be used one or twice a week, at most. I abandoned my Pinterest and Tumblr accounts completely before Lent so that's nothing new. As I said, I'm not cutting social media out complete because it's how I keep track of things of those closest to me that I don't via text or whom I don't see in person. I guess you can say this is simply a form of restricted/limited moderation. Moderation will be much harder to do than quitting cold turkey (as a wise friend told me during Lent) but I've already seen positive results of it so I know I can do it.

And that's it for this blog post. I have other topics (that popped up during Lent) that I want to write about what I want each topic to have its own post. That and I'm feeling very lightheaded (and, actually, I have felt that way the entire time I wrote this post so please excuse any and all grammatical errors). Again, I'm really sorry if anyone gets offended by this post but it's something that I need to do for myself. After doing the 10 meditations in the Introduction to the Devout Life (by St. Francis de Sales), reading Irresistible, Little Sins, and other books during Lent, I came to realize that I needed to do this to better my relationship with God and to better order my interior life. I'll actually touch more on this in a (near) future blog post.

I'm going to go hydrate and lie down. I'm pretty sure the lightheadedness was caused by what I ate for breakfast. My stomach hurts and the lightheadedness didn't begin until after I started eating so... putting 2 and 2 together, y'all. It's actually bad enough that I had to cancel my hematology appointment today. I didn't want to drive to the hospital (where the appointment was scheduled) feeling like I do. I don't think I can even walk down the stairs without potentially falling down -- I'm that lightheaded.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend and that you have a good start of the week. :D

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


Holly said...

I've probably said the exact same thing in reference to another post you've written on this topic, but! - this is a lot I have been also thinking about in the last year or so, and reading this made me think about maybe trying a formal social media break to get some clarity of my own. I know the difference less screen time makes for me, I just haven't had it for more than a day or maybe a rare few at a time.

Emmy Cecilia said...

Holly - I know I already replied on Twitter but I'd recommend doing it, even if it's in baby steps. You know, a weekend... and then a week... and then two weeks... etc. I saw you also added Irresistible on Goodreads. There are admittedly some parts that I skipped (especially when describing the tests done on animals) but, overall, definitely worth the read if only to make you really think about how you're consuming technology and, especially, social media.