It's mostly politics people seem to argue about, but whatever your area of interest (like mine with nutrition) somebody will have a passionate non-bending argument about why your path is incorrect. And it can become all consuming as you feel the need to defend your position against some random acquaintance. It's maybe worse when it's someone you know well that is emboldened by the quiet ignorance of their midnight thoughts as they write ineloquently about why you're killing yourself with gluten. But I digress..... what really did me in was the election.
My wife recently ran for MLA in our local provincial election. Unfortunately for our family she ran for the party that was tremendously unpopular in our part of the province and we really felt the push-back on social media. We weren't naive enough to think there wouldn't be consequences to a public life, but the deeply personal assaults on our character admittedly wore me down. I've never blocked, unfriended or deleted so many people in my life on any platform. A positive consequence of this was the empathy I built for people in public life who face all manner of scrutiny. It did however break my desire to participate. And so once the election was over I closed my Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts. I also suspended my Facebook account. What followed was fantastic.
Not being on Facebook in particular was a nice break from living my life in debate. A break from the social comparisons to my peers was great. Excusing myself from the.public negative ramblings of others was fantastic. And running into friends and acquaintances in my community and having something to talk about was brilliant. Too often we are all updated on every minute detail of everyone's life so when we spend time face to face there is nothing to discuss.
I did miss the updates from far away friends and relatives. I'm not much for phoning people, it's not high on my favourite things to do list. And recently I've taken my account live again, but with a lot of restriction so the relationship is better. Interested in taking a social media break? Here is what you can do:
- you can suspend your Facebook account, you don't have to delete it. You can even keep messenger active for contacting friends and just hide your account.
- If you don't enjoy a platform (I never liked Pinterest or LinkedIn) just delete it, there is no need to maintain a web presence everywhere.
- Get your work done first. Before I log into social media I get something productive done first. That's my new deal.
- Take social media apps off your phone. I no longer have Facebook on my iPhone or iPad. If I want to use it I have to sit at a computer. That alone has cut out 95% of my Facebook use. It broke the habit of idly checking in while standing in line at a store. You'd be amazed what you're missing by just being present wherever you are.
- Reach out to friends in person for coffees, walks, runs, bowling, whatever. A social media relationship is not a relationship.
- If you have a business and need a presence on social media, then go ahead and create a fake account and make that fake person. your page admin. Now no need for your real account. This stopped me for years from deleting my Facebook account and seems so obvious now. You can do this with any platform except LinkedIn where you may be using it for networking.