Sometimes it feels like all I ever do is consume social media.
I’m on the typical social media haunts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. I get my news fix multiple times a day through Twitter. I consume social media all the freakin’ time, to the point where I feel like it’s hampering my ability to create, or to take a deep breath, or to focus on what’s right in front of me.
Lately, I’ve had enough of feeling like that.
I disconnected over Thanksgiving, for the most part. I checked Twitter sporadically, making use of the “While you were away…” feature for once. I checked Instagram in the evenings, but not throughout the day. And Facebook? Well, I checked it if I got a notification, but otherwise, I didn’t open it. I didn’t even use a computer throughout the long weekend. And you know what? I didn’t miss a damn thing.
Stepping away from social media and my personal computer gave me what I was craving so badly: time to mentally decompress, the ability to recharge my creative juices, and less distractions from the present. I didn’t check in on my profiles or my blog or my online haunts and, well, life went on. Nothing fell apart. No one even noticed, most likely, and that was perhaps the greatest lesson of all.
I don’t know how I want to consume social media moving forward. I’m not giving it up altogether, as contrary to everything that I’ve written so far, I do enjoy it when I limit how much I use it. I also don’t want to be blissfully ignorant of my surroundings or current events, since Twitter is my main source of news. However, I need to become more intentional about my social media consumption. It’ll help me better manage my time, for one thing. I spend my entire workday on a computer; I don’t need to do the same in my free time. It’ll also help my creativity by alleviating any self-imposed pressure by inevitably comparing myself to others online. By the time the Thanksgiving long weekend was over, I had ideas for blog posts, article pitches, and a vague outline for a possible memoir… a remarkable feat considering I’ve been struggling with writer’s block for quite some time.
Becoming intentional with my social media consumption isn’t going to fix everything I’m struggling with. I may have writing inspiration for the first time in a long time, but I actually have to, you know, write to make anything of it. I may have more free time since I’m not as glued to a screen as I used to be, but I still need to put in effort to use my time wisely rather than spend it doing nothing. I may have more mental clarity since I’m not being constantly bombarded with new things to take in, but unless I also make strides in other areas, decreasing my social media consumption won’t make as big of an impact as it could.
But it’s definitely a start. I’m still going to be on Twitter and Instagram and the like, just not as much as before. I don’t know if I anticipate the amount of content that I share or publish to decrease, since I share far less than I consume, but I definitely am going to be keeping up with my feeds a lot less. It just feels like it’s time 🙂