I have a confession to make, I do not like social media. Sure I go on it, who doesn't? And I am partial to lurking in the argumentative comments of inflammatory posts on Twitter because people can be genuinely funny when cornered and I'm there for the drama. But when I truly stop to think about my social media use I can honestly say that I get the grand total of zero from it, well maybe a little anxiety. I do not know what my family or friends are up to because of it, because I follow meme accounts and travel (and most of my family aren't on social media and most of my friends don't seem to post anything).
Social media is like a tribe, you go online and you search for something that confirms your beliefs and thought patterns. Who honestly follows something that is the complete opposite of their personality and beliefs. When was the last time social media really updated you to anything anyone was genuinely up to? It's a place to showcase your best moments and it's a convenient way to ignore that gnawing fact that you haven't actually bothered to check in with a person for almost a year because you can quickly "look" at their life through a few carefully chosen photos on Instagram they decided to share and drop an emoji in the comments section or a quick double-tap.
I stopped using Facebook properly when I was around 19 or 20 and I haven't missed anything. The first thing I did was put my family and friends birthday's in my phone diary, the second was I changed the password to something I honestly no longer remember so that I could only get on if I magically remembered the password or could be bothered to change it. If I could fully delete Facebook I probably would (but it seems that they have pre-empted this by ensuring you need your own account to run a business one...!)
Last year I ended up on Twitter again, I hadn't logged on for years and somehow I found myself mindlessly scrolling through in the morning or late at night, laughing at peoples arguments in the comments section of poorly written click bait articles. But between the growing anger of Brexit and Trump, the fact that everyone is "offended" by something and the fun addition of bots I no longer find it a place to have a meaningless laugh, to me it's becoming a pool of negativity and so today I considered deleting it altogether.
Going back to Facebook and why I quit it, I decided to prioritise real human connection with a solid few people over hundreds of micro-interactions, it doesn't upset me to think that people I was once very close with have now drifted apart. Lives change and I hope they are very happy, if I ever bump into them I'd love to have a coffee and catch up, but surely it's more important I focus on those people who, for whatever reason, are still in my life. Now if I reach out to people I feel I have drifted apart from or not spoken to in years it's because I genuinely want to be their friend, I genuinely want to have a meaningful interaction with them and champion them. I'm lucky enough to count among my friend's people I have known since I was 0 years old, or since I started secondary school and sixth form. To me it's quality over quantity and quality was not something Facebook was providing anymore.
So in 2020, I'm continuing on my embargo of Facebook and I'm switching off Twitter. I've already stopped using my personal Instagram and I'm going to focus on making the KINN Instagram a place that is meaningful for me, a place that is positive and genuine, a place to show the real humans behinds this company and to talk to the real humans out there who are helping and cheering for us. As I focus more on my mental health and wellbeing this year I feel that making social media a meaningful tool rather than a vacuous piece of technology is the way to go.
My top tips for intentional social media use.
- Share what you genuinely care about, and stop sharing for "comments" and "likes"
- Stories are a great way to share with others some of the "real" behind the scenes, espeically if like me you're a bit of a neat freak and like your feed to be aesthetically pleasing.
- Stop following people who give you anxiety, social media should be a place that inspires you and adds to your creativity, it shouldn't leave you feeling deflated.
- Stop caring about what other people are following. It's easy to get upset if your other half is following somehting you don't like, but providing they aren't doing anything to actively hurt you or make you feel compared to what they're looking at you have to look at social media for what it is, escapism. After all if you enjoy true crime shows it doesn't mean you're going to go out and copycat a crime.
- Log on with intention. Stop mindlessly scrolling and don't look at it before you go to bed. I've set time limits on my phone so I can't use social media for more then 2 hours a day.
- You do not owe anyone anything online, your life is private and your entitled to share only what you want.
Have you given up social media? Do you miss it?