what i learned from a social media fast.

It’s as if I’m waking up from a long nap. I’m rubbing my eyes and stretching and grunting, recoiling from the blinding sunlight that’s screaming through my window.

But that’s not what I’m doing at all. I’ve been awake this whole time. The sun has risen. It has set. Numerous times, in fact. But I just haven’t tweeted about it.

My social media fast is officially over. 

As I’m slowly starting to ease back in to the world of status updates, tweets, and likes, I am also carefully redefining what it means for me to live in an over-connected yet under-personal world.  And, like any good blogger, I’d like to thrust upon you my new-found knowledge.

Free of charge, of course.

four things i learned from my social media fast:

1. posting on the internet is like getting a virtual tattoo.

I know you can technically “delete” posts and photos and tweets and whatnot, but honestly, nothing is ever really gone once it’s on the internet. It’s as forever as a butterfly tramp stamp, so it’s important to be really intentional and (gasp) think before you post/tweet/Instagram. (This was really convicting for me to learn, actually. I still haven’t re-downloaded the Twitter app for this reason. I’m pretty sure that 90% of my tweets were like bad tattoos I can’t get removed. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to go under that needle again just yet.)

2. boundaries are important.

Social media is built on relationships. In IRL relationships (oh yeah, busting out the internet lingo) it’s important to have boundaries, so why would social media be any different? Before, I had absolutely zero boundaries regarding social media. People I hadn’t talked to in ages could post something that would ruin my entire day. That’s not fair to the people with whom I actually do maintain real relationships. Coming back into the world of social media I’ve set my own personal boundaries to make sure I’m in control of the consumption and not the other way around. (For example, I have disabled push notifications on my iPhone. I found that if my phone told me I had notifications on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I would put everything on hold until I checked and cleared them. With push notifications off, I can check my social media at designated times during the day, when I’m not doing anything else that is more important, to make sure I’m intentional, timely, and still engaged with what’s going on around me. This also discourages mindless scrolling through updates, which is important because…)

3. i don’t really care.

Yep. I don’t. This is probably the most valuable lesson I learned on my fast. The truth, no matter how harsh it may sound, is that I really don’t care if one of my 900-some Facebook friends posts a status about doing laundry or making dinner. I just don’t care. I have better things to do with my time than scroll through countless empty updates of the mundane. The people with whom I have real relationships? I know what’s going on in their lives because we intentionally seek each other out through phone calls, texts, and (wait for it) coffee dates and lunches.

4. real life is so much better.

It seems like this should go without saying, but life is so much more fun to live when you don’t have to worry about whether or not you need to post about it. A few weeks ago, my phone fell behind the couch a few minutes before I was to leave for bible study. I almost left it there because I really felt like I didn’t need it. But I did retrieve it in the event that I were to get in a horribly debilitating car accident on the way across town. I also intentionally left my phone at home last night when Dan, Dax, and I went out to dinner. It was so liberating to know I really, truly, didn’t need it because the only people with whom I needed and wanted to engage were right there with me.

I feel really good now. Really good. I feel refreshed, renewed, and like I have a handle on this again.

Have you ever done a social media fast? Are you considering it? Why or why not?

13 thoughts on “what i learned from a social media fast.

  1. Wow, i am very proud of you. in this day and age, this is an incredible accomplishment! Blogging is all I do – I do not tweet, facebook,…..none of these and I do not even want to start. Brava!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I could use a break from the social media for reason #3 specifically. The other benefits as well, but lately I just find myself thinking, “I don’t care to see who liked whose photo” on Facebook.. Sure there are some great things posted… Inspirational thoughts, blogs, and other creative ideas… But the rest of it is making me wonder why I spend the time scrolling through all of the muck to find the one gem. How long was your fast?

  3. I have definitely been guilty of over sharing on social media and I think after reading how you felt before and now this post I am actually considering it. Did you do a complete fast? Eek, I think your post has made me realise that I probably should but not sure I could! 😛

  4. I have definitely been guilty of over sharing on social media and I think after reading how you felt before and now this post I am actually considering it. Did you do a complete fast? Eek, I think your post has made me realise that I probably should but not sure I could! 😛 x

  5. Great observations. What I discovered (and only recently), is that Facebook friends are no substitute for actual embodied people. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who spends great tracts of time alone with a computer and it’s very tempting to believe that the Facebook life is an adequate substitute for being out in the world. It ain’t! Sadly I think we are allowing ourselves to settle for electronic substitutes more and more and in every arena of life, which can only lead to a more and more shallow existence (says she commenting in the blogosphere!!)
    Anyway, glad I’ve found your blog. x

  6. Pingback: real talk about social media envy. | fueled by diet coke

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