For a variety of reasons, I've spent the early parts of 2017 distancing myself from social media.
I had just grown tired of it all.
Tired of viewing sugar-coated and filtered versions of the world around me.
Tired of likes, shares, and retweets gauging the value of a person's thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
Tired of people believing everything they read on the internet to be true.
Tired of hearing others constantly start conversations with phrases like "I saw on Facebook where..." or "Did you see where so-and-so posted that..."
Tired of being tied to a device and not giving the people around me the attention they deserve.
Tired of competing with those people's devices for their attention.
Tired of that thin line between social media existence and real existence.
Tired of following an increasingly frustrating virtual world while the real world passes me by.
But in the end, I recognize that social media isn't all that bad -- it just depends on how it's used. Are you using it to build people up or tear people down? Are you using it to keep in touch with others outside your immediate proximity or are you using it as a way to pretend that you're much happier than you really are? Are you wasting away valuable minutes (hours?) of your days scrolling through a news feed of recipes, memes, biased news articles, and filtered photographs?
My perspective on social media has changed immensely over the past several weeks. It's not all bad. Don't get me wrong. But consider these thoughts from a book I just finished on this exact topic:
"I passionately love technology, using it almost nonstop every day of my life. At the same time, I absolutely can't stand it. I hate that I'm consumed with it, dependent on it, and sometimes almost unable to stop my compulsion to run to it as if it holds the answer to everything important in my life."
"Many of us are making life choices just to create a string of social media moments, and all because we want to show some imaginary life that we think people want to see."
"People before us lived for centuries without the ability to spray their thoughts in 140 characters or less to a group of people who are barely paying attention anyway because they're more concerned about what they're going to say next."
"Maybe it's time for you to remember what life is like without your phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe it's time for your soul to rest."
"Do you constantly have to check what's going on in other people's lives? Or can you find the discipline ... to just ... be ... still?"I'll continue using social media and sharing random nonsense on this site. Of course, I will.
But with a newfound perspective.
And only after I've found time to just ... be ... still.