I read a really good article via The Guardian a week or so ago about how social media is a trap. As I read through it, in my mind I was thinking, oh God, this is so painfully true, someone please set me free. I disabled my main social media platform- Twitter, a couple of weeks ago. What a bloody great choice that was.
I can’t even tell you how weirdly happier and lighter not checking and scrolling every ten minutes made me. I had talked at work about doing this a few weeks before but just never took the plunge. Then after a weekend of mess ups, stress and feeling very overwhelmed by work and life, I thought, screw you Twitter. You can go away.
I thought I would struggle, as I use it for all of my news, keeping up with friends, reading my favourite blogs, connecting with people, promoting stuff. The list goes on.
Actually though, after the first day, I forgot about it pretty much completely which I certainly didn’t think would happen. I did a lot more work, I got through my to-do lists much quicker, I was engaging more, my phone stayed in my bag and I wasn’t being rude to people by staring at my phone while talking to them. I also stopped seeing so much importance in such mundane things. Yes, I did last week call the guy who served me in Sainsbury’s baby, and usually I would feel like ‘OMG gotta share that one, PEOPLE WILL CARE’, I just laughed at myself and told my housemates, who laughed at me also and then we all forgot about it and moved on with on our lives, as it should be.
It’s amazing how much weight you add to everything, even things that make you unhappy, when you are constantly preparing your thoughts to be shared with the world. It has to stop somewhere. There’s some sort of invisible line that I crossed before this hiatus, and since stepping firmly back over it, I think I’ll stay here thanks. Ultimately, I need Twitter for work and it has a lot of use for me, so I will reactivate it and use it, but nowhere near to the scale I was before.
Looking back it makes me cringe a bit. I used to carry my phone around in my hand ALL the time like it was my child, and mostly it’s because I was forever clicking on the blue bird and scrolling. Scrolling through a lot of nothing and a lot of pointless, meaningless crap, which let’s be honest, is what dominates a lot of Twitter feeds.
When I logged back in a reactivated I found I didn’t really have a lot to say, apart from tweeting a pretty photo of Ireland, which is where I was at the time. I did realise I had missed a few things though: news updates, funny accounts that bring some humour to my day and then just the general sense of community among writers that I follow. But that was it. I didn’t feel like ‘THANK GOD I AM BACK I LOVE YOU TWITTER’ in any way whatsoever. It was weird even after 9 days away, which is no time at all, to see so many constant updates from all those accounts I follow so avidly, and some from accounts I have no idea why I follow at all. I had a bit of a ‘what is the meaning of all this?’ moment and then I just clicked off and continued making dinner.
Too much thought and too much obsession is where I was going wrong before. It’s time for less. Less is going to be better.
I can certainly tell you one thing, it’s good to get some perspective on what really matters. And it’s good to realise that tweeting every frustration and emotion gets you nowhere, which probably just frustrates you more. People are horrible on the internet too. I see it a lot, which is also a good lesson in not trusting people to use your name correctly and always making the best choice possible when putting yourself out there.
It’s surely a problem when a couple of weeks break from a social media channel increases your happiness a lot. That’s not right and it shouldn’t be that way. Anyone feeling a bit bogged down or trapped by it should just bite the bullet and deactivate. Even if you only last a few days, you’ll either realise you are massively over it and need to take a step back, or you’ll miss it so much you log back in and kiss your phone screen. Each to their own and all that, but worth a little experiment if you ask me.