About 6 or 7 years ago I was out at a big public event. I had my back turned to the kids ordering food and turned around to ask them a question and found a lady talking to them. She was referring to them by their names. I gave her my “who the hell are you” look and then suddenly realised she was someone I had gone to high school with. Thanks to me posting on Facebook she knew A LOT about my kids.
This was somewhat of a wake-up call and on arriving home I removed all “friends” from my list that were not actual friends and I have kept to this rule since then.
I became very active on my personal Facebook account some years later as it was an out to a very lonely marriage. Post-divorce I still kept somewhat active more so because as a stay at home single parent it was my link to the world. I then began a career that relies heavily on Social Media.
Recently though, I became less active on my account. Partly because it was tied to my work and found it distracting when I wasn’t supposed to be working. I removed the app from my phone, I stopped using Messenger and generally only used Facebook when I was working.
I also found myself riddled with anxiety when logging on.
It wasn’t anxiety in the sense of wondering how many “likes” a post would get or anxiety if I couldn’t access Facebook it was a different kind of anxiety. I love all of my friends on Facebook and I hope none of them takes offence to this but seeing happy smiling families, seeing everyone with their lives together while I felt I was continually floundering was causing me far too much stress than it should have.
I was comparing myself to other people, some of them complete strangers, people I’d never met and mostly just based on pictures. Everyone seemed to have it more together than me.
I was basing my own self-worth and happiness on things outside of my control by comparing how well I was doing in life compared to others. We all know that Facebook is a highlights reel of a persons life. Of course, they’re not going to post the real life shit that happens. It’s all for show. And even though I knew this I still couldn’t shake the noise in my head that I wasn’t good enough.
Social Media plays such an important role in my blog. A vast majority of you have come to this post from Social Media and here I am talking about how I don’t want to use it anymore. If that were the case for each of you reading this then I wouldn’t have much of an audience. And that’s where I was conflicted. I used this tool daily to promote myself (or the snippets of me I choose to show), taking a break from it seemed kind of hypocritical.
The noise in my head from something that was completely avoidable was becoming too much and I knew the only option was to take a break.
So, I logged off. Easy as that!
And suddenly, I found there was less noise in my mind. The first few days I was wondering what people were up to but after a while, there was less focus on others and things that are completely out of my control and no focus on strangers who seemingly have it all together.
My focus was back on my life and things within my control.
I waited about 3 weeks before logging back on. When I logged back on I wasn’t overly interested anymore, the obsession with other people and how much better their lives seemed was gone. And even though now I have begun using my account again I only log on every few days rather than several times a day.
Not being so accessible through Social Media has also forced me to connect with friends and family the old fashioned way – a phone call or physically seeing people and vice versa. If friends want to talk to me, they know they need to call and not send a messenger message.
Through Social Media, we know the ins and outs of so many peoples lives. It’s easy to forget that you haven’t been part of that person’s life for some time. It can make you feel connected which is a good thing if someone lives on the other side of the world but not so great for those people who live nearby.
I don’t miss Facebook. I don’t miss knowing what people are up to. I don’t miss having friends and family so accessible. I don’t need to know what people had for lunch or where they’re having drinks tonight. This is all noise we don’t need. And the important stuff – well I’d much rather hear that in person than read it on Social Media.
What are your thoughts on Social Media and have you ever taken a break?
Kirsty is the founder of That Noise Is Mine.
An established blogger, writer and business owner raising 4 children independently. Kirsty is determined to succeed in this new life forced upon her.