Why I'm Quitting Social Media
Last year, while out to dinner with some friends, they asked me what my goals were for 2018. I pondered for a moment before I realized that there was one big thing that I wanted to happen—I wanted to figure out social media. I wanted to decide what place it should have in my life.
I spent a few months really thinking and praying about it, then I spent the last few months largely stepping away from it, to gain some perspective. And after all that, i’ve decided to quit social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest). Here are the thoughts that have prompted this decision ::
- While I really like social media (and Instagram in particular), I discovered that I like not being on social media even better. When I’m checking social media regularly throughout my day, even though it’s fun/inspiring/informative, it starts to make my head feel kind of foggy. I don’t feel sharp or really present with what’s happening in front of me. I often don’t hear Valentine when she’s talking to me or I forget to do things or I spend too much time sitting/standing/walking while looking at my phone. But when I stop checking social media, that foggy feeling goes away immediately. I’m present, noticing my life, thinking about the things that are happening to me in the moment. It’s nice.
- When I look at my role as a mother, I realize that being present and engaged is a necessary component to everything I want to accomplish with my girls over the course of the next 13-18 years. Facebook recently informed me that I’ve been on that social media platform for 11 years. In all that time, I haven’t been able to find “balance” or a way to moderate my activity. It’s all or nothing. I don’t know how to be engaged on social media and be present moment-by-moment as a mother at the same time. I just don’t know how to do it. So I think I have to choose which one I want.
- There is literally not a single scientific study to support the idea that social media is good for me or for society (see here, here or here). While the internet and technology in general remain fairly neutral forces that can be used for good or evil, social media itself has only been found to be harmful. As uncomfortable as it is for me to make that statement, there doesn’t seem to be any way around that fact.
- There was this underlying quest for fame (especially when it came to promoting myself as an author, etc.) that seemed counter-cultural to the way that Jesus lived. Jesus never sought to make himself more, but less. He didn’t exalt himself, he humbled himself. He could have chose a million different ways to come and live among us, but he did so as a poor traveling preacher with a limited audience, limited influence and limited abilities. That means that there is nothing wrong (and perhaps something right) with intentionally limiting myself as well.
With all that being said, this was still a very difficult choice for me to make. I can think of several legitimate and good reasons for remaining on social media. And I keep rewriting this post because it sounds so negative and judgey, like I’m trying to tell you all that I think you should get off social media, too. But I don’t feel that way at all. I see so many people engaging with social media in ways that are so delightfully personable, measured and wholesome. It just became clear that social media wasn’t a good decision for my own life anymore.
And in the end, I’m the only one responsible for my own actions and the quality of the life that I live. I want to make sure those actions are ones that are consistent with my values and that I’ll look back on my life and think, “Yes! I ran after the things worth chasing.”
I’ll still be blogging and writing and speaking about godly sexuality (and other fun stuff). I’ll be on social media for the next few weeks to let you know how you can stay connected if you’re interested. You have all made my time on social media filled with so many bright moments. Thanks so much for all of it.
(Photo by Sarah Neely)