What I Learned From My Social Media Fast
There are a couple things that I came away with after my month off social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and blogs) ::
- The first thing that happened was that realized that I didn’t miss it. Seriously. I was all geared up to go through a debilitating period of withdrawal, but it never happened. I think there might have been a few reasons for this. One is that even though I had felt like I liked Facebook, etc. there was an element where keeping up with social networks had become a burden. I felt a responsibility to respond to everyone and to post regularly and maybe this ended up being a drain on my subconscious. The second reason could be that my head felt clearer. My phone wasn’t constantly in my face, like a pair of sunglasses, sort of distorting and obstructing the actual events of my day. So it turns out that even though I like social media, I like being off social media even better.
- Secondly, I got so much done last month. I exercised. I cleaned and cooked and organized. I wrote nearly every day and almost finished an entire rough draft of a book. (More on that later…) I did a lot of reading. Even though I’d like to say that this flurry of activity had nothing to do with my Facebook fast, I just don’t think I can. I think that social media was sucking up the stray minutes of my day that could actually be put to good use in performing my responsibilities and having time to pursue hobbies and passions.
- Sometimes it’s hard to maintain relationships with the people you hold most dear. Intimacy, communication, and vulnerability are all difficult things to achieve, even in marriages and family groups. I have a big family, as does my husband, so to maintain intimate relationships with all these people, as well as our close friends, is a big task. I think that I had started to find it easier to float up to the surface level friendships that I had with the hundreds of people on social media. Not only that, but I tried to pull my deeper relationships with family and friends up to these surface level interactions on Facebook and Instagram because, frankly, it’s easier that way. It’s much more difficult to actually deepen a relationship, to communicate well, to grow in intimacy and vulnerability. I’m ashamed to say that I had been taking the easy way out.
- There were so many times last month that I felt tired or sad or restless, and I would reach for my phone. Then I would remember that I wasn’t going to use social media and I would just have to deal with my exhaustion, emotions, or boredom. The truth is, Jesus is the answer to everything, he’s the only thing stable enough to lean on, the only source of satisfaction and comfort and love. But I had set up these embarrassingly small idols to turn to in my times of need.
Here are a couple changes that I’d like to make ::
- Regularly fast from social media. I’m thinking I’ll just abstain every Saturday and Sunday. This should be a regular enough reminder that I don’t need social media or the affirmation I find there and will instead turn my eyes toward Jesus.
- Spend less time keeping up with surface relationships, more time investing in the relationships of my family and closest friends. This, I know, will be difficult. It will take more out of me. But it’s vastly superior.
All that said, I’m still on Facebook. Do you want to know my big, important reason why? Because my mom wants to see more pictures of Valentine. :)
What about you? How do you feel about social media? Is it a burden? A delight? A source of guilt or comfort or satisfaction? Do you appreciate it as a tool for maintaining relationships with friends and family? Do any of you fast from social media? I’d love to hear your thoughts!(Photo by Esther Lang)