About a month ago I challenged myself to stay off of Facebook for a month. Prior to that moment I was checking Facebook when I woke up in the morning, before I went to bed, during my lunch break, any and every time I was around strangers and while sitting at stoplights….
Why? I think Facebook and technology are amazing tools. I also think they have completely tainted our social skills and self-image.
Exhibit A: I started a new job this week, so I have been sitting through the ever-dreaded and quite boring…shhh…lectures about the policies/procedures/etc. of this hospital. Yes, its important. That does not mean I always find it interesting….
At any rate…we took several breaks throughout the day and I could feel the silence surrounding me. (I was on my phone too). I looked around the room and saw nearly every person on their cell phones. As much as I kept thinking, “this is horrible. Why can’t people just talk to one another anymore? How about some socialization that is not social media?”, I couldn’t help myself. I was scrolling, scrolling and scrolling some more.
Because for some reason I thought that what one of my old classmates ate for dinner was more important than my peers?…..
Puts things into perspective, right?
I did so great on my challenge to myself. Then this week happened. I am shy and introverted to begin with, and then I am part of a group of people fed by technology….so I become more introverted and the cycle continues on and on. I’m sure many people feel this way. Not confident enough to start a conversation with someone and intimidated when it seems like that someone is more interested in their social media lives than the real-time humans sitting next to them.
If used correctly, Facebook seems like a great way to stay in touch with family. I know I have used it to share photos with my family and friends that don’t live in the area. If used incorrectly (?) it almost becomes like a parasitic addiction. At least for me, this is what happens:
- I compare myself to ALL of my Facebook friends
- I see pictures of people having fun, or traveling. I think, “I have time for that. I want to do that. If they can do it, so can I.” I get a little jealous and wish my life was full of awesome adventures. I actually have to remind myself that it IS! And even if it wasn’t, it is probably because I am spending my time doing something just as amazing and I shouldn’t compare myself to others anyway. Every person’s circumstances are different. We all enjoy different things. There is no way to compare lives with another person’s. It just isn’t fair to us or them.
- I find myself looking for approval.
- I have heard it from others and I have sought after it myself: approval. I base my self-worth and the “coolness” of my post based on the amount of “likes” I receive….Really??…I have nothing to actually prove. Again, if I am happy and enjoying my life, why do I need the approval of my Facebook friends? If I truly need advice, I will just call the people closest to me and ask for their honest opinions.
- I miss out on reality
- Every moment I spend in the car scrolling through another person’s page is a moment I am missing out on conversations with my boyfriend, time playing with my dogs and all the scenery we are driving by. I am unable to be in the moment and simply enjoy it. Facebook becomes like a time-machine. I start reading my feed and soon enough it is 45 minutes later and I am still laying in bed.
- I’m Grumpy
- When I start my day reading Facebook I spend most of my day avoiding people. Some days, I enjoy the solitude. Most days, I definitely need the social interaction. Too much time spent alone in this brain can be shocking. The tone of my day is set in the morning, so a day started with Facebook becomes a day with no social interaction.
This vicious cycle occurs where I feel connected without actually being connected. I need the physical interaction. the face-to-face. Without it, I am always wanting more interaction. More approval. More “likes. I think if I have a little bit more I will be happier.
What makes me happy is a fun day with my family, spending time with Lance and the boys, being outdoors and calling my best friends. No amount of Facebook time will be able to replace that and I think with the current prominence Facebook has in our lives, we are losing sight of what honestly makes us happy. We start living in the alternate universe that is the and never find ourselves completely satisfied.
I completely caved this week and have been on Facebook and Instagram an astronomical amount of the day. I have relapsed. Even as I type I am fighting the urge to check my page as I posted something before I sat down to write. The more I use it, the more I want to check it. And for what? The people most important to me are either close-by and I see them regularly or I call them regularly. I don’t need social media for that. I need a phone number. That is all.
It is time for another cleanse. Facebook will NOT rule my life!