That Time I fell Off the Face Of the Earth
Last week I went on a social media fast. Meaning, no Facebook, no Twitter, and no Instagram. Nada. I pretty much fell off the face of the earth for a week. (Except I did Pinterest a little because technically speaking that's a search engine not social media and I can look at gorgeous horses and cute puppy pictures...) "How did it go?" you ask. Well I'm writing a blog post about it so obviously I survived. But was it hard? Was it life-changing? Was it the best thing ever???
Honestly, stepping back from social media for a week was easy. There were a few times when my dog or my baby would do something super cute and amazing and I wanted to post it to my Instagram stories for the world to see. And in those moments, maybe I had to think twice before reaching for my phone. But otherwise, I was surprised at how easy it was to not check my social media accounts.
My fast was very freeing to me. As soon as I decided to do it, I found myself looking forward to the day I announced it and logged off my accounts. You see, I'm not on social media just to keep in touch with friends and family. I'm not on social media because I have this insane desire to be liked by everyone and be this crazy popular Instagram star.
I'm on social media to build my brand and my name in order to publish a novel and continue writing. So my social media is kind of like my job. But I'm new. I'm inexperienced. I have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of work to do. It's stressful. I hate having to worry about my number of followers or my engagement rates to my posts. I would rather just post it and forget it. But in order to build and grow, I have to pay attention to these things. Basically, I have to be like Bethany from the new Jumanji movie and want to post a picture perfect photo of every moment of my life so people will like me.
Or, at least that's the lie I started buying into.
But the more I began believing the lie, the more overwhelmed I got. I grew tired of posing for pictures in front of my tripod and waiting for the best lighting to run outside and shoot a photo. I'm not a photographer; I'm and a writer. And helloooo, I have a baby. Odds are, he's going to be needy and demanding right around the time the sun is at its "best picture taking height" in the sky. Then I'd look at all the other popular Instagram accounts and fall into this pit of despair because I wasn't matching up to their standard.
Fed up, I took a social media fast. By the end of day one of my fast, I realized the lies I was starting to believe and the impact it had on my days. Social media was becoming my obsession. It was all I could think about. Pretty sad, huh? That is not where I want my focus to be. I want my focusing to be on living not posting about living. If I spend too much time posting about something I've already done, I'm going to miss out on the next adventure.
Now, I'm not about to say it was a life-changing experience, because I don't want to give social media that much power. Social media isn't so powerful and phenomenal that taking a break from it completely changed my life. I continued on like any normal person on a normal day. I ate, I slept, I cleaned the house, I got together with friends and family. I just didn't post about it for awhile. The experience was great and realigned my perspective about building my brand, but it didn't affect my entire life.
Was the fast the best thing ever? Again, I'm going to say no. I think my wedding day trumped my fast. Or maybe the day Levi was born. Or the day we rescued Gunner. Or the day my husband brought our goat Balki home...You get my drift. The social media fast was great and all, but other life events definitely go in my book of Best Things Ever before this fast will.
However, I would recommend a social media fast to a friend. Social media puts a lot of pressure on people to be more than who they are or to be someone they're not. It gives us many opportunities a day to compare ourselves to somebody else's highlight reel. We can start to feel pretty down about our lives or our accomplishments pretty quickly if we sit and scroll through our Facebook or Instagram feeds long enough. So if you're getting caught up in those habits and emotions, take a break. Log off your social media accounts for awhile and find yourself again. Go through the day enjoying and living each moment instead of posting every moment.
One thing I learned during my fast is that social media is a tool. It's a way to keep in touch with friends and family who live far away. It's a way to reach out to others and to spread love and encouragement. It's a way to advertise for your business or brand. But it is not a lifestyle. Don't get confused about that, because it's surprisingly easy to do.
For me, social media is a resource and a tool I need to use to reach more people with the story God put in my heart -- the story I want to publish. But it's not a beacon to look to for gratification or approval that my life has meaning. Only God can fulfill that role.
So yes, my social media fast was great. I feel much more aligned with my true purpose and reasoning for using the platforms. I feel more ready to be my authentic self on them and in my blog as well. I'm not so obsessed with the perfect photo or a fast-growing audience. I'm focused on living my life to the fullest, loving on those around me, and doing everything to the best of my ability for His glory. As long was what I'm posting on social media aligns with those three things and doesn't deter me from them, then I'm doing just fine.
This is like the coffee talk corner. Sometimes I give organization tips or relationship advice, but a lot of times I'm just sharing about the everyday moments that make up my life.