Why I drastically cut back on using social media
Ever since I graduated college, I’ve been tied to social media. Not a unique story by any stretch of the imagination, but I became positively steeped in it.
My first job out of school was at BuzzFeed, a place that demands its employees to eat, drink and sleep in digital trends and virality. From there, I worked as a social media manager/editor at different publications, until I finally left my full-time job to pursue a more fulfilling life.
As an empath, I soak up the energy around me. (This is why I can’t see action movies in theaters — too loud and violent for me!) And being plugged into Twitter and other platforms for a majority of the day, beyond what was expected of me, I began to feel uncomfortable and unhealthy.
It wasn’t quite like an addiction for me, but I knew I always felt better if I spent less and less time online. Which was a sad realization at first. I grew up being online, from Neopets to Livejournal and a ton of places in between. The internet is where I met some of my oldest friends, and it’s where I made a connection with hundreds to thousands of people with a single tweet.
But at what cost?
Being tied to a laptop or phone leading up to the 2016 election for my job, and then the years following for a different job, meant that I was seeing the worst of humanity fly by my eyeballs 10 hours a day. That will change a person.
I know a few people who used to be full time social media editors who had to quit because the job became simply too demanding. And most publishers/companies don’t have the proper kind of support in place to either help their social media staff take breaks or delegate some of the work; you’re lucky if you have more than one person on a social media team, but even then the expectations are still high.
Since last summer, I don’t have the apps for Twitter or Facebook on my phone so it takes a little more effort on my end if I want to participate on there. I did keep Instagram, since that’s a place of mostly just pretty pictures and inspirational quotes — though the danger becomes staying away from comparing yourself to others.
I wrote previously about getting “phone healthy” with the Moment app, something I still struggle with from time to time, but I highly encourage anyone who feels like social media has become an unhealthy part of their digital/analog routine to take a break. It can be intimidating to quit right away, and I truly do believe there are a lot of benefits we can get from connecting with people online, but perhaps a reduction in the amount of time we spend on social media is in order.
We weren’t designed to spend hours every day immersed in tragic events and hateful comments. We’re meant to live fulfilling lives at our own pace and while doing the things we truly love. I encourage you to take back your time and mental energy.