Friday, July 19, 2013

Checking out of Social Media & Checking into Life

I love social media. I love it.

I love that I can keep up with my family on Facebook. I love opening Instagram and seeing a picture of my beautiful cousin Layla. And Twitter? Oh, Twitter is my favorite. I can find out what's going on with my sister, the New York Yankees, and the White House all in one place. It's awesome.

However. I think it's giving me anxiety. (And that's not a normal thing for me.)

Every day, I'm exhausted when I come home from work, but I feel like I need to check Twitter and catch up on what I missed. So I scroll through 12 hours of tweets. I check it again the next time I'm bored. I check it before I go to bed. The first thing I do when I wake up? Hello, Tweeters, let me catch up on everything that happened to you while I was sleeping.

It's absurd. It's even more absurd, because 95% of it is-- excuse my language-- bullshit.

Social media is covered with people screaming about Paula Deen. A 17 year old is gone for good, and there are people on my Facebook and Twitter celebrating. There are posts from petty girls who measure a person's value by their appearance. #TSM (Total Sorority Move) and #TFM (Total Frat Move) tweet disgusting, condescending, shallow things at least 15 times a day.

And somewhere between "Trayvon Martin got what he deserved" and "if you wear cargo shorts you deserve to be punched in the face" I lost. my. mind.

So I quit. I've been checking Facebook to see whose birthday it is so I can wish them a happy birthday, because I hate when I miss birthdays. If a picture of my cute cousins pops up and is right there when I log in, I click "like" but then I log off. I haven't really been scrolling through. I deleted the Twitter app on my phone, because that's the biggest one I wanted to stay away from for a while. I haven't been on Twitter since Saturday night.

The most surprising part? I don't even miss it.

I didn't realize it, but it was just making me angry, bitter, and sad. People use social media to be so hateful these days, and it's awful.

Somehow we have forgotten that these are people. We hide behind computer, iPhone, and iPad screens. We have forgotten that social media was not invented so we could bash on others, point fingers, and insult those who have opinions that are different than our own.

At the daycare I work at, we have to keep our phones in our cubby in the office because we aren't allowed to have them in the classroom with us. That's about 10 hours without my phone, minus my 1 hour break, and it's fantastic. It's like I get to escape into 4-year-old world of play-doh, blocks, and make believe, and temporarily forget about politics, crime, and who is dating who this week.

I know people who have taken long breaks from social media and they always talk about how refreshing it is. And guess what? It IS refreshing!

I'm not distracted and I don't feel like I have to constantly spend my free time on my phone. I people watch and hold conversations, and at night I sit on my bed and plan activities for my daycare kids. I've had so much more time to read. I have no idea what kind of crazy things my friends have been telling the internet about lately, but I feel so much more focused on the good in my life, rather than reading dumb stuff and getting worked up about it. And I'm 100 times happier.

I'll eventually go back to it, because there are good things about it. I just don't want to be so consumed by it. I had forgotten that I am supposed to manage social media, not let it manage me. I also forgot that it's MY space, and I shouldn't be afraid to delete someone who is bringing hate into my space. And the biggest one: it's JUST social media. It's so easy to be sucked in by technology these days.

SO. If you need to be refreshed, or your friends and family are just posting terribly ignorant things, take a break! I highly recommend it.

Check out of social media and check back into real life.


Because real life is GOOD.

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