January 22, 2019
Social Media Fasting Pros and Cons
Good morning and welcome back to The Vizzion. I know that you haven’t seen much of my work. No blogs, vlogs, posts, selfies, announcements, NADA…but it’s all in good reasoning. The end of last year I realized just how much social media actually affected my life on a daily basis. All of the scrolling, the updating, the distractions and not actually being IN THE MOMENT during the best times of my life. I was always looking for the same cycle of trashy b.s. people post about their lives and celebrities everyday. Most of it was all just bad news that was starting to depress me and caused me to realize just what the world was becoming and what it was starting to create within me…mediocrity and conforming to the majority of the masses. I pride myself in being different and unique; having a sensitive and compassionate soul for the world. It was beginning to be too much, especially when it came to my 2018 a nd how much I actually took photos, posted, and tweeted.
Although the majority of my social media activity always centers around the promotion of my work and my books, it still started to take a toll and became this dependable vessel. It became another lifeline to the point that it warped my mind into believing certain things are supposed to be alright in society these days whether it be social media, networking, and reaching your goals. All of it was so vain that it hurt me to even believe that this was the world I lived in.
What is the use of updates when we first start our mornings? What is the purpose of letting everyone know just how happy or depressing our lives are? Are we motivating and inspiring? Or merely just showing off in hopes that others will take the time to care?
So this year so far, I have not been on ANY social media sites, not even to look at other people’s posts. I already know what to expect and at this point I really, really, really DO NOT CARE! So without further ado, I decided to just list the pros and the cons of my now 26 day social media fast. I’m proud to be coming towards an entire month of fasting and even think I might prolong it an extra 2-3 weeks. I hope that this inspires you to give it a try. In my opinion I had nothing to lose and nothing to gain, especially at this point in time while I’m finishing up and planning for book #2 along with potty training my almost 2 year old. 🙂 So here goes!
1. “The Brain Clean”
It LITERALLY cleans the negativity out of your brain. This is a pro that I didn’t really think about or expect but welcomed with open arms when I began to realize it. We don’t realize how much stressful news, thoughts, and metaphors social media dumps on our minds every day. There’s the news, politics, religion, violence and everything under the sun presented to us in a hundred different ways through a hundred different opinions. We barely even know what’s real and what’s true anymore. Cutting out social media has cut down on my anxiety and nervousness A LOT! I’m even becoming more patient and at the same time more straight forward in conversation. There’s no more “small talk” or around the world conversation. I am very thankful for it and it’s even caused me to have a much clearer train of thought in order to get my book fluently typed and organically produced. No distractions.
2. The Naturally Lived Life
Whew! I really almost forgot what it was like to live back in the 90’s before we had cell phones glued to our hands. I honestly can’t say I’m just not looking for my phone at all anymore or checking it for text messages and calls but the thing is…THAT’S IT. There’s no more *dings* for notifications, updates, or someone “going live” on Facebook. If I get a notification I know it’s REALLY because someone wants to talk to me or it’s about something important. That aspect alone is a huge breath of fresh air and I’m not checking for comments after posting a selfie, nor do I have to worry about unwanted attention to something I’m not even concerned with right now. It’s really about living organically now and making sure that what I put out has true meaning to it!
3. How Much Do They REALLY Care?
Do you know how much your actual friends keep in touch with you through social media? Usually it’s going to be most of them or all of them. I still have a couple of friends that reach out to me EVERY DAY through text to check on me and just shoot a positive “Good Morning” text better than a potential boyfriend would. Leaving social media helped me gain clarity about who’s really concerned about my well-being and doesn’t need social media to determine whether I’m alive or dead. Try it out. Really look and evaluate how many “check ins” and notifications you get from your friends when you go ghost on all of your social media accounts or how long it takes for them to realize you even disappeared in the first place. The time they can no longer “Snapchat” you a line, or Facebook message you about something funny. It definitely speaks volumes…good and bad. But hey, if you didn’t know then you will certainly find out and I suggest you do a little something about it. *shrugs*
4. No Judgment
Remember those days of wanting to just post a simple statement on social media, but then you’re bombarded with all the opinions and comments that you didn’t ask for? Or how about the one…or maybe four to five people that you follow who ALWAYS put their business and every move out there on the internet but get mad and swear they’re swamped with “haters” once they do. That all goes out the window and in the most peaceful way during a social media fast. I’m not sure how many others are actually confused with this statement…but NOBODY cares about what’s going on in your life if it DOES NOT in any way benefit them. I’ve said this many times but every single time that I logged into a social media account there was some rant going on or a back and forth debate on the simplest topics you can think of. Everyone these days feel they can become this social media famous personality by constantly posting random b.s. or embarrassing others out in public by taking pics or even making jokes about those less fortunate than them. So, I am extremely happy to remove myself from those characteristics of social media to become a better and much more compassionate person.
Alright, last but not least in my pros is awareness. This may not seem like an important one and like it’s common sense but when I say awareness, I mean of EVERYTHING. You start to become much more attentive to everything and anything that you’ve been putting off for whatever reason. When you go to the stores or to an event…look around you. Watch how many people just within fifteen feet of you are looking down at their phone to the point they’re nearly running into each other, objects, and not reading important signage at an event. We are not as confused as we usually seem when it comes to everyday tasks and goals…we are simply and often painfully distracted. You also become more aware of your instincts and your feelings. We miss a lot of things when we are engulfed in things that were created to steal and keep out attention. Things we know we should address are avoided, we become numb to being actual human beings towards others. How many times have you seen a heartbreaking recording of someone dying or being beaten to a pulp, but everyone is standing around with phones and recording instead of contacting 9-1-1? Situational awareness is a natural human instinct, but we can’t channel into those instincts if we are constantly distracted. Pay more attention to others and their lives, but more importantly, pay attention to yours.
1. Out of the Loop
I didn’t really think about this one when I decided to do my social media fast, but this one is pretty minimal. When I refer to “out of the loop” I feel like the majority of what I miss is celebrity gossip, the latest and funniest social media memes and videos people pass around for about a week, and birthdays. I mean hey, without social media, nobody would remember all of those birthdays. They also wouldn’t even care as much. When it comes to our news and what’s circulating around the world, our phone and social media is the first thing actually telling us the scoop. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and there aren’t too many pages to turn. So when it comes to what’s happened INSTANTLY I’m usually the last one in my household to know and my family fills me in on the highs and lows. For most news I either actually WATCH the news on television or pick up the local paper that’s delivered to our driveway every morning. It’s something that I would once again say is an organic 90’s type of vibe but it leaves out all of the juicy and important facts, not to mention the thousands of hilarious memes the internet can magically generate from just one moment. But it’s not really a con to someone like me who enjoys reading on a regular basis. But for those who depend on their phone for their daily source of “tea”, you just might be hurting for a while.
2. Slight Boredom
Some of us depend on phones and social media to satisfy our boredom on a more down and laid back day or when we’re just idle at the store and don’t want to look awkward, but this sort of falls in the category of awareness to me. I sometimes found myself unlocking my phone while standing in a line at the store to click an app and scroll to speed up the time but I deleted EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. So I just started looking around at other people, read through some of the magazines they have at registers. I made it work. But it did make me realize how often it seems to be our scapegoat when we’d rather not deal with just standing there around other people or even having to talk to other people. We’re always feeling like we look weird just because we’re not on our phones. I even started an interesting conversation with a random person one day. So if you’re one of those people who feel like you’ll come off as the creepy grocery store shopper just looking around because you’re not on your phone…go ahead and embrace it. Because you most certainly will be the only one besides the older people in the 60+ age bracket doing it.
3. Missed Birthdays/Events
I mentioned this one in the pros, but it’s the truth so it’s apparent in the cons too. EVERYTHING is done and reminded by phone these days. Facebook takes care of you ever missing a birthday, public/private event, or death/birth. So without it you’ll get a lot of “didn’t you see the pics I posted on Facebook the other day?” Or “You didn’t know so and so passed this past weekend? Where have you been??” Or, “Oh, so you just decided not to RSVP to my event I invited you to on Facebook?” Yeah, there will be a little and a lot of attitude on most people’s part since Facebook makes it so easy for us to stay connected without having to do the traditional and time consuming action of sending out or mailing invitations about an event or showing what you did during your birthday. Yeah you’re going to miss some people’s most flashy outfits and décor that they were oh so proud of and just had to post but you can also do the same as I did…tell them to send them directly to you if they were that important and they really want you to see them. You’re just one individual anyway and it’s ok to let people know you’ve made the choice to resist the confines of social media for a while and that they’re just going to have to let you know the old fashioned way if they really want to invite you somewhere. People love convenience and they’ll always feel some type of way about having to do anything extra that they weren’t required to do, but as I also said, it makes you recognize those who REALLY care about you.
4. No Showing Off/Validation
We have all been guilty of the selfie epidemic. I mean the days that you look FINE AF and you just have to let others know. The times when you were just too saucy and coordinated down to the shoes and you really had to post about five pics with five different poses just to let everyone know how good you’re feeling and how great you’re living. So with the social media fast…there will be none of that. Do you know how great, happy, and beautiful I felt and I looked for New Year’s Eve? I was newly single; I mean I had the fresh hair, new shoes, new dress, the fur…I looked FLAWLESS. But post, snap, tweet, or Instagram I did NOT! It took a lot of effort, especially with it being the first few days of my fasting to not put several pics out there like the rest of the masses showing just how nice I was stepping into 2019. But what happened to be enough was the INCREDIBLE time that I had with my REAL friends from college and the in my face compliments and looks that I received that happened to be validation enough. Plus I didn’t have to look down all night at my phone replying to and viewing comments and likes about my outfit. I lived IN THE MOMENT and made my own memories count. If that isn’t enough for you then this fast will be quite difficult. Validation from others is often desperate, vain and reflexive. Most of the time, people know you’re looking for some type of attention or comment and either choose to give it to you so you won’t have a pointless selfie/post or as I said…they REALLY DO NOT CARE. But I cared and I loved the way I brought in my 2019, it could not have been any better. No validation needed.
5. Networking Death
Ok, so the last con that came across my mind and the main reason I even deal with social media half of the time is networking. This is more obvious and dire to those who have projects or a business they constantly have to keep afloat. We entrepreneurs depend on social media like water when it comes to getting the word out about your business or something you’ve done and need others to buy into. It’s almost suicide if you’re on a streak with it. Fortunately for me, I’ve done all of my social media promotion throughout 2018 for my first book and my nonprofit and I am working to release a 2nd book that’s due next month. I NEEDED that time and that break in order to focus and produce and be more creative than I’ve ever been. If you feel that you need it to promote just know that you can do it for just a month or so and get away with it. I would never suggest it being longer than that, especially if it’s a fresh project. I feel as if I’m better for it once everything is done and it gives me the chance to recreate myself and my goals more. I even suspended my accounts with no profile pic because everything on my social media had to do with LAST YEAR. This is a new year and this is a new project and I plan to treat it as such.
Social media is honestly the killer of all of our best attributes and I stand by that statement because it’s the truth. We stay logged in just to bash each other and announce pointless endeavors that should be an automatic contribution to our lives as adults. “Oh look at me I bought a car!” “Look at this new house that I bought.” These things are a part of life but we still find the need to announce them all for validation, which becomes an actual addiction. How many of you would REALLY be ok with posting something you’re really proud of and receive no feedback about it? No “I’m proud of you” or “you look beautiful”? Most of us would be devastated because we have made it a NEED for our egos and our very existence. Yet everyone is still running around claiming “realness” and “quality” within themselves, even the nerve to quote “authenticity”. How much do you really love yourself without the help of others? We are all on a constant hamster wheel everyday that we spend on social media. Most of us spend up to 8 hours on social media alone everyday…how about contributing that time to your kids? Your family? Your spouse? I’m not here to preach or even bash social media. It has it’s benefits and we honestly can’t do much without it anymore. But I do challenge you to do without it for a month or so and see what difference it brings to your life, because it will and you’ll feel better for it. Challenge yourself and become more at peace and confident in who you REALLY are. Step away from the crowd and see how much you stand out!
That’s all people! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!
Changing Our Momentum One Crown At A Time!