I have had a long-standing love-hate relationship with social media.
There was a practical component where I would quickly learn what was going on around town, a single source of information for kids’ events, as well as tip-offs for cheaper tickets or hints to register by a certain day or time to ensure admission. Local businesses often advertise special sales on Instagram, and I have even seen a “First person to come to the store and show me this post wins this gift certificate.”
I am sorry to miss those special deals and insider tips. I am sorrier to miss updates from my friends and those I care about who I may not see regularly or at all.
I am not sorry to leave platforms that have become a space for people to feel comfortable acting vindictively, passive-aggressively, and speaking in ways known to be hurtful only because they get to hide behind a screen. I do not miss seeing my feed full of political discourse where individuals spend their free time arguing on Facebook falsely believing they are going to change someone’s political affiliation or opinion.
It has been refreshing not to habitually open Instagram and scroll passively while learning almost nothing and to rid the feeling of getting more excited to share a family experience rather than experiencing the moment itself. I no longer spend an extra minute here and there checking back in to see people’s reactions to my son’s new milestone or seeing what people think of my new DIY.
I have found that without social media, my friendships are more intentional and although I miss seeing what they are doing on the daily, my interactions with them feel more personal since I am making a true effort to check in with them and ask deliberate questions.
I am not saying I will not return to social media at some point when things might feel more balanced about using it. For me, social media was not adding much value to life and became more of a habit than a tool.
I am now free to spend any extra time reading more books and writing, which I have always felt I did not have time for. Funny how those things work out.