Last February, I made the difficult decision to give up social media for personal use. I had many reasons for doing so, and even though I felt it was a good step to take, I was nervous. Would I feel completely alienated from everyone? Would I miss important updates from friends with whom I was only connected on Facebook? Would eliminating my personal accounts give me the peace of mind I hoped it would?
It's been a year since I gave it up, and I'm pleased to report that the world didn't end without me. :) In all seriousness, though, I learned several valuable lessons from my social media hiatus.
I still dislike social media
One of the biggest reasons I gave up my personal social media accounts is that I just plain don't like social media much. Although interacting with other adults via computer really resonates with my introverted nature, I was getting fed up with the political polarization, the senseless arguments, and the overwhelming personal details that people often shared.
I haven't missed those things one iota, and overall, I feel much more peaceful since I'm not being constantly bombarded with other people's opinions that may or may not match mine. (I'm not at all saying that my social media friends were necessarily being obstinate or rude; if you're on social media at all, you'll naturally see this stuff from everyone, including strangers.)
I'd kind of wondered if taking a break from personal social media use might make me want to return to it after a few months, but instead, the opposite has happened. Overall, I still strongly dislike it, and I don't plan to return to it anytime soon.
I still struggle with wasting time on social media
Even though I stopped using my personal profiles, I've continued to run business accounts for my blog and for Canvas Gadget, and I'm part of several business and blogging groups. Because of that, I still find social media to be an easy time trap to fall into. I truly do want to interact with and support my readers and followers, and to do that, it takes time and effort.
So, although I've removed the personal aspect of social media, the very real danger of wasting time on it still looms. I've lost count how many times I've decided to quickly read through the posts in the groups I'm part of only to realize that I've lost 30 minutes of my precious time, when all I originally intended to do was spend 5 minutes getting updated.
I missed out on important announcements
One concern I had about giving up my personal social media was the potential to miss updates and announcements, especially from friends with whom I was only connected online. As it turned out, I did miss one friend's engagement announcement, and I didn't find out that another friend was expecting until just a month before the baby arrived.
But you know what? I did eventually hear the good news. I'm sure I would have heard much earlier had I been connected on Facebook, but I now realize that I treasure my freedom and peace of mind much more than finding out people's latest news at the earliest possibility.
Not everyone is going to feel the same way I do. Some would be heartbroken to have missed out on the things that I have, and so for them, giving up social media probably isn't a good idea. For me, though, stepping away has been a great fit.
I'm very grateful I took this step of faith
It's not always easy to do things differently from what other people are doing. And putting away something that potentially can be beneficial is be really hard. It wasn't a simple decision for me to stop using social media for personal enjoyment, and it wasn't a decision I made quickly.
However, I am so very glad I took this step of faith and followed the Lord's leading. While I don't think everyone needs to give up social media, for me, it was a good choice. It wasn't an easy choice, but I'm thankful I took this step of faith.
I don't regret my decision to step away
So, now that it's been a year since I gave up social media, I can say without hesitation that I don't regret my decision to step away. Yes, it was hard to do. Yes, it took some time to get used to. Yes, there have been drawbacks for not being on social media. Yes, I still struggle with spending too much time using it for business purposes. And yes, I have missed out on important announcements and updates.
The calmness of mind and the freed-up time, however, have made me thankful to have given it up. I don't know if I will continue this or if sometime in the future I may reinstate my personal profiles. I don't want to be dogmatic on this issue since I don't know the future and don't consider social media use to be inherently wrong.
For now, I'll continue on in my business-only approach to social media, all the while being sensitive to how the Lord is leading in case He brings the personal use of it back into my life.
Your turn: Have you made the decision to give up social media, either a specific platform or for a specified amount of time? If so, tell me about it in the comments! I'd love to know what worked for you, what didn't, and what you ultimately decided to do when it comes to social media!