It seems like half of my friends have put themselves in a social media timeout lately. Everyday I log on to Facebook, I see another “fyi, I’m taking a much needed break from social media.”
My first reaction when I see this is “ugh, I run my business online! Now how will they see my amazingness?” 😉
My second reaction, though, is “why do they need a break from social media so much? What about Facebook or Twitter or Instagram is causing so much stress in their lives that they need to shut it down? What am I missing?”
Sometimes I see comments along the lines of “there’s too much drama” or “I’m not spending enough time in the real world.” Which I guess are valid reasons, but there are solutions that don’t involve deleting an entire portion of your life. At least, in my mind.
So for whatever it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the matter.
- If I ever post that I am taking a break from social media, or I am deleting my profiles . . . send help. I’ve clearly been kidnapped and am trying to send a message. LOL Seriously, though. The internet can be an introvert’s best friend. I love that I’ve met some of my closest friends online. And yes, that is possible. It is entirely possible to love someone you’ve never met in person. To create an honest, authentic relationship to someone you’ve only spoken to online or on the phone. In fact, I think that some of my online friends know me better than my IRL friends. Truly.
- Just like drama in real life, you can walk away from the drama online. There’s a joke comment that you’ll see floating around the internet pretty regularly. “Don’t feed the trolls.” And it’s 100% true in real life and online. Negative people feed on negativity. And, for good or bad, online people often feel that they have the right to say whatever they’re thinking. Whether or not they would say it to someone’s face is irrelevant. But it’s handled the same way online as it is IRL. Walk away. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Walk away. Or scroll away, as the case may be. Just like IRL you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to, the same goes for the internet. Just because someone posts something you don’t like, or you’re offended by, or makes you mad, you don’t have to respond. The recent elections are a perfect example. I have a number of friends whose political beliefs are in direct contrast to mine. That’s okay. We all have the right to our beliefs. Rather than take personal offense every time someone I know said something I disagreed with, I simply walked away. I kept scrolling. In some instances, I stopped following the person so that their posts would temporarily stop showing up in my newsfeed. Because, just like in real life, someone disagreeing with me is not worth cutting them out of my life altogether. And once things finally die down (hopefully in the next couple of weeks), I’ll start following some of them again.
- Don’t start drama and you won’t have drama. Period. That’s pretty self-explanatory, I think. Personally, I avoid the same topics online that I would avoid in person. Politics and religious beliefs. Everyone knows that I follow Christ and believe in Him fully. If you’d like to know how I personally do that, check out my blog. I sometimes talk about it here. Or you can ask. I’m not going to post things like “the only way to really worship is to ….” Likewise, I’m not going to talk politics.
- It is possible to be active on social media and still be active in the lives of the people around you. At least, I think. Let me private message my kids and ask what they think. Ha! Just kidding. This one is pretty easy, in my opinion. Just like everything else in life, moderation and focus is the key. Give yourself limits. Since my business is mostly online, I’m online a lot. I always have my phone and am pretty accessible. Except when I’m working with my kids, or on a date with my husband, or having coffee with a friend, or playing with my family. Then, my phone goes down. Well, except to take occasional pictures because I’m a stalker paparazzi. According to my 10 year old, anyway. I hope that my family doesn’t feel like I ignore them in favor of the internet. And they all know that they have every right to call me on it if I’m not giving them the attention they deserve or need. Said 10 year old is really good at that.
I’m sure there are other valid reasons to take a social media break. Sometimes, if I’m honest, I wonder if the person who posts “I’m taking a break from Facebook” is really just looking for attention. That’s my cynical nature, I’m sure. But there’s really no judgment, I promise. You do you. But don’t judge me for loving my online life. Deal?