Update: Turns out, this blog should have been titled “Things I Thought I missed about Social Media before I got back on for a day and realized I was wrong…” You can read all about that here: https://christinegustin.com/2022/04/11/10-52-2022-false-alarm/
It started with intermittent fasting two years ago. Then streamlining my “friends” and re-defining intentions. Then daily limits set on my phone. Then removing the apps and only using my browser. Then on July 26th of last year, I finally decided to just deactivate all my social media accounts and remove all my videos from YouTube. Maybe for a season. Maybe forever.
[Side note–if you are curious to know more about this journey, you can read more about it here:
It’s been 7 months of zero social media and while there have been SO many benefits to just walking away, it’s not all been great. Actually, the longer I’ve been away the harder it has become. I’m still not sure when/if the scales will tip and I’ll decide to resurrect my digital life, but today I want to talk about all the things that I’ve found myself missing.
- Being able to stalk my friends
Okay, I promise I’m not a weirdo (at least not that kind of weirdo), but I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had the urge to go see what my friends are up to. Yes, I can absolutely text them and call them and take them to coffee (which I often do)… BUT, there is just something so convenient about being able to open an app and see what people have been up to. Especially when it comes to friends that live thousands of miles away.
- Fast-tracking new friendships
Since leaving social media, we started going to a new church and spending time with a whole new circle of people. I didn’t realize how helpful social media was in “getting to know” people. I also underestimated how much everyone else relies on social media to share about themselves. Conversation skills aside, a lot of people just don’t share basic things about themselves anymore. Maybe it’s because people don’t want to be redundant or because they’ve just gotten used to sharing so much on social media instead of in-person, but at times it feels like I’m two steps behind in getting to know people.
- Knowing what’s going on
I’m not talking about “news”. That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever miss. I’m talking about all the community events and birthday parties that are only posted on Facebook or Instagram. I’ve definitely missed out on things that I would have enjoyed or missed important announcements from businesses that I frequent; and while I’m so grateful for the friends that have been faithful to screenshot me details, it can be a drag to feel helpless.
Absolutely petty and not at all important in the big picture, but there are times when a good meme can make your day and searching for them on Google just isn’t the same.
Most people can recognize the many downsides of being hyper-connected on social media (there are countless books dedicated to this topic alone), but there is also a lot of power in having built-in accountability. Starting a new workout routine, drinking water, reading or any other simple life goal can be so much easier when you use social media as a tool to hold yourself accountable and “check in” each day. Not to mention, there are countless groups and pages specifically designed for this type of accountability and many of them are only accessible only through Facebook or Instagram.
- Being seen
This might sound shallow, but I’m just going to be brutally honest and tell you how much I miss being visible at times. Walking away from all social media, despite all the ways it has blessed my life, can also feel like leaving a big party to go live under a rock. For someone like me, who spent a lot of time building connections online, being removed can feel really lonely at times. Sharing with followers, creating content and building connections with people all over the world was (at it’s best) a super fun and creative outlet and there are days that I really miss it.
You could probably argue that this list of things builds a pretty solid case for me to jump back on the social media train… and, who knows, maybe you’re right. But there are still so many things that I don’t miss. Countless ways that my life is better for having pulled the plug. And maybe that’s exactly what I need to talk about next…