Am I Irrelevant If I’m Not On Social Media?
Over the last few weeks I have taken a big long break from scrolling and posting on social media. I do still open the apps. I can’t help it, but it seems that they are way less rewarding than they used to be. I have broken the habit and it feels so good.
But it also feels really bad.
Over the last few years I have made a lot of friends on social media. Friends that I would go to for sober inspiration, writing inspiration, and to feel seen and heard on my journey through the validation of their posts. We would message, share each other’s content, comment on the pieces that were written, and motivate each other to keep helping others by sharing our story.
Through social media I’ve gotten to be on so many podcasts, write for publications, be featured in things, and share my blog and sell books. Part of me loves being there-supporting, listening, learning, and connecting. But the other part of me just has no more patience.
It’s no longer just posts of people’s faces with an inspiring message. It’s videos that I can’t turn the volume up on because my kids are right next to me and I don’t want them hearing. It’s montages that I wish I knew how to do. Dances that I can’t mimic and reels that I don’t know how to slow down. It’s ads, so many ads, and sales, so many sales. It’s strong political messages reminding me that I need to do better or that I am a crappy person sometimes. It’s so much noise.
In just a few short weeks of not mindlessly scrolling or spending an hour trying to work the algorithms for a post that I fret over, I have done a lot of things. I have learned how to use the curly girl method and my hair has literally taken a whole new shape. I have mastered the art of using the air fryer and now our food is seriously 100 times better. I have watched hours of you tube videos and read tons of articles on how to use a mensural cup and am feeling confident that I will someday be one of those women. I have read a few fun fiction books. I have watched Orange is The New Black (and tried watching Breaking Bad but got way too stressed out). Things have changed. I feel like I have so much time on my hands.
But….there’s a level of worry that I will lose my social media friends. That they will move on, forget about me, and that I will no longer share a voice in the communities that I once loved so much. I worry that if I’m a writer and I’m not writing on social media or at least telling people what I am writing about that I’m basically a teenager with a journal.
This isn’t my first time attempting to slow my roll with social media. I have tried and failed before. The allure, the guilt, the desire and need to be heard always pulling me back in so that I can feel worthy, seen, and known. Who am I if I’m not the person that I portray on social media? Am I just some curly headed, air frying, cup wearing, hippy who wanders these streets alone? Don’t I need to tell people about this new version of myself?
I am not a person who is great with moderation. I’m either in or out, on or off, all or none. And with social media there’s not really an in between. If you’re not on, the algorithms tell the other algorithms that you’re off and that you’re “every once in a while posts” aren’t relevant enough to show people (or at least that’s been my experience). It’s just all so hard to keep up with.
The fear is will I be erased from the social world? Will I be passed over for opportunities to teach, speak, or write because my “following” isn’t growing? Will I be considered washed up and old while the young creatives of the world take over the media world? Will I have fewer friends, fewer invites, and fewer events to consider going to? I sadly think the answer is yes, absolutely. Social media is an essential part of our lives.
But do I gain anything? Maybe better hair, more focus, extra time, more peace and calm in my life? More friends in real life (assuming that texts still work as an appropriate form of communication). Maybe other things too but I just don’t know what they are yet. I’ll have to wait and see if one outweighs the other. I’ve seen this movie before. The one where I give up things that I think I’ll miss so much and then it becomes the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. Scrolling and drinking aren’t really that different chemically speaking. They both produce a hit of dopamine and a bit of numbing for the overworked and tired mind.
I guess I’ll soon find out and I’m assuming you’ll know by my posts….