I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I've removed myself from it (RIP Facebook and Twitter accounts). I've stayed in step with it (Hi Instagram and Snapchat accounts). And amid all of this, I've constantly struggled to figure out its relevance and value in my life, fearing that it is a necessary evil I can't fully pull away from.
My mind has gone a lot of different places regarding social media and its role in all of our lives (except for my dad's and grandma's - bless them for staying out of it), but today I want to write about the tricks we let social media play on us.
Our social media accounts are a reflection of our "personal brand." Carefully crafted (whether we realize it or not) profiles that present "who we are" to the world. We endorse what we like, criticize what we don't. Show all that is good, with a little bit of the bad (immediately followed by all that is good - can't show major cracks in the facade). Experiences that make our heart beat fast. Beautiful views. Perfect homes. Yummy food. Smiles, smiles, smiles.
It's hard not to compare yourself and your life to others' after taking in all of the posts and images and videos and stories that reflect "the good stuff" 99% of the time. And it's easy to forget that behind the curated scenes is a person, just like you, with the same ups and downs, messes and misses. They are, again, just like you (if you partake in social media), presenting their personal brand. Sharing a collection of moments, mostly good, to the world in order to add some form of "normalcy" to a life that a lot of times feels out of our control.
I'm beginning to truly appreciate and respect the social media "rebels" that drop the perfect personas and shine a light on what is real. Monotony. Disarray. Tears. Posting images of dirty laundry and stories of struggles takes guts when shared alongside an overwhelming amount of "good news."
I'm not strong enough to be a social media rebel yet, but I thought about it last week. My depression was getting the best of me and I could not. stop. crying. Among the tears, this briefly ran across my mind: "Maybe I should post this. Maybe I should show that I'm human. That sometimes it's hard to be alive. That not every day is good, and that's OK." But I didn't do it. I couldn't. Why? I don't know, I just couldn't. Instead, I made a happy post about happy things.
Although I couldn't find it in myself to do it, you want to know who chose to be a rebel last week? Another person that I follow on social media. Same exact situation. Feeling depressed, tears on overdrive, and she shared it.
All I could think was 1) sending so many hugs to her, because I know what she's going through, and 2) how f***ing brave. It made me like and respect her even more than I already did. There was no veil of happiness. She was being real and in the moment, and as much as I preach that, I wish I could pull the trigger and do it more. In life and on social media.
I'm going to try to more honest with what I post, and I hope you'll do the same. But if that's not something you're into, that's totally OK. Let's see the good in this world and share it. Just don't get stuck comparing yourself to the mirages you scroll through. Remember, with the good always comes some bad, so don't be fooled!
I'm about one more idle scroll on my smartphone away from getting rid of it. I honestly looked up flip phones last night. Do you ever feel over-connected? Too accessible? Always available? I do. And I'm ready to put a stop to it.
I'm to the point where I need to disconnect from technology. Or at least give myself some healthy breathing room. I can feel my brain turning to mush as I mindlessly switch from app to app. Googling articles. Asking Siri to "name that tune." Following my GPS wherever it tells me to go, even when I know it's wrong. Looking at photo after photo of well-curated, digital lives.
Sometimes it literally feels like I'm addicted to my phone. Stressed? Scroll. Don't want to think about it? Scroll. Bored? Scroll. Avoiding something? Scroll. Can't think of something to say? Scroll. My phone has become my sleep mode when I can't bear to spend time with what's really going on inside my head.
Because I've become so fed-up with my smartphone and my dependence on it, I've started to think of ways that I can disconnect.
I'm only on day three of cutting back on my phone time, but I'm liking how it feels already. At night, my phone goes on the charger in another room from around 6 p.m. until I wake up in the morning. And when I wake up, I don't reach for my phone to scroll for a wasted 10 to 30 minutes (I'm embarrassed to say that...). I get up, I meditate, I stretch, I get ready - and instead of watching a garbage TV show as I get ready - I watch TED Talks. At work, my phone is in my desk drawer and I check it only on occasion.
Like I said - I'm only on day three - so I am not "killing it" just yet. But I hope to. More reading, talking to Joel, snuggling Madison, in-person hang out sessions with those I love - anything that keeps the phone out of my hand unless it's necessary.
They say actions become habits after twenty one days. Only eighteen more to go! I hope by disconnecting from technology a little more, I'll connect with the world around me in a more meaningful way. I'm going to disconnect to connect. Something I think we could all use a little more of these days.
Have you been feeling the same way and are trying to disconnect from technology a little more? If yes, please tell me some tricks you use when you're tempted to become a scroll zombie!