By Simone Heard*
Believe it or not, we all live in a world that once existed without social media. We were all likely more present, less consumed with who was breaking up or getting back together or in a situationship with whom, who got a promotion, who was laid off, where other people were vacationing, and what our online “friends” from elementary school ate for brunch last weekend. As a millennial, I’m very much aware of the world of social media and the appeal and the sometimes unpleasant impact it’s had on our culture and the world.
We literally have the world and just about everything happening in it at our fingertips. Have you ever taken time to let that thought marinate?
I recently backed away from social media for a few days and decided to incorporate a social media free weekend into the mix. I wanted to retreat from the world of oversharing and be more present and fully engaged in my own real life. I felt I not only needed a break from some of the negativity and constant oversharing from different followers who put a lot of their business out on the internet for the world to see, but to take a look at my own self, motivations, and why for why I, too, utilize social media. I do enjoy it and aim to use my platform for good (although some immature and embarrassing posts and photos from years ago may sometimes reveal otherwise... thank goodness for growth!).
During my hiatus, I wondered:
Why would anyone care what I’m doing right now, and why do people put so much of their business, mundane happenings, and other personal things about their lives, families, friends, love life, jobs, and politics out there for the world to see?
What would the world be like if social media didn’t exist anymore?
How would I function living life “off the grid” of social media for good? And how would that impact my writing and blogging opportunities?
During my social media free weekend, I still used my phone, but I took pictures without feeling the urgency to share them online and inform everyone about what I was doing at the time. I realized it was okay to keep some things to myself unless I decided to share them much later. I also experienced a sense of peace, stillness, and mindfulness like I hadn’t in a long time and noticed how much more time I had to myself to be still at different moments, check in on friends, spend time with my family and get the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, all without the interruption of social media.
And I didn’t miss it. It was actually refreshing to back away from it.
I still use social media but also make sure I take time to pull away from it too. I’m intentional with my approach to it and before I share anything on it, I check in with myself and my why. Doing so keeps me grounded and more selective about what I share and why. It’s okay to share some things about yourself, but certain things are better suited to be discussed offline with trusted family members and friends or through seeking professional counseling (if you need it and can afford it) or even choosing to write in a private journal. I can testify to the fact that it’s much better to vent your feelings, fears, frustrations, and other personal things in a journal than on the internet. Trust. This summer try incorporating some scheduled social media free weekends into your own life and see if it makes a difference. Be present. Enjoy your life. And don’t miss the little things and meaningful moments.
About the Author: Simone Heard is a writer, blogger, and recurring writer on ATOB. Unconventional believer, beach lover, and a self-proclaimed brunch, coffee, and wine connoisseur. She writes for the blog Making Waves. If you would like to submit to ATOB, please email AsToldOverBrunch@gmail.com.