I’m trying to be social media quiet on my accounts because I’m trying to write and because social media fatigue is real. Over the last five years, social media became my place for both primal scream and “squee, I love this.” No doubt, a primal scream is healthy on occasion, but frequent and consistent use has not been beneficial for me. Giving a delighted shriek about something I love can also have unintended consequences if the response rate is low. It makes me doubt myself. My passions and joy should NOT be crowdsourced to see if they are valid. That’s a whole world of negative yuck.
Anyway, the Zeitgeist has spoken. Less of my friends are on social media on a daily basis, so why should I be? It’s a hard habit to break. I’m bored, waiting for my tea water – check the sites! I’m procrastinating on writing – check the sites. How does it make me feel? Usually not good. Like eating too much candy, it’s great while I am chewing, but later, I’m queasy.
It’s hard not to compare myself to others’ success anyway—being informed of all the great things that are happening to other people can mess with my zen. Everyone is publishing a book, announcing great news, or going on vacation. I like being in on what’s happening (who doesn’t?) but it keeps my focus on what’s outside of me and not on what I’m thinking about. The issue is the incessant constant nature of the feed. I read Publishers Weekly and it’s fine once a week. Seeing 50 posts a day across social media on book deals and announcements? Nope. It makes me anxious.
Okay, I love seeing your darling babies and pets. I admit it. Any random cute animal vid will make me smile. Big problem is that having been on social media for almost 15 years – the happy spike I get is less and less. I’m numb.
The other major plus is that I can always contact anyone I have ever known—no stress in not having their current email or phone number. I ping them on message and we connect.
Basically, it is my phone book, but why should I connect daily?
Yes, this has been a hard, lonely year. But social media did not make it better – it was like busywork. The illusion of social interaction is there but is it real? The sensation of being social engaged fades so quickly, like fast food or a bad sugar high. Nothing is really accomplished, no minds are changed, and no great epiphanies occur.
Many friends and colleagues with depression and anxiety have left because social made it difficult for them to stay emotionally healthy. Another reason to reduce time on the sites.
Will I retreat entirely? No. What are you crazy? I’m just spending more time daydreaming instead of seeing what’s trending.
Hi Kate, I hesitate to say anything, because you have captured so well the way we get that “ping” from positive feedback. So let me say simply, I appreciate this article. And may my post be a means of remembering how we met, that we both love writing and work at it diligently, and that I’m glad you’re taking good care of yourself by pulling back. You have also given me a template to continue to consider when and how much social media is right for me. Thank you, My Dear! Laura