How can I start this without telling you something you already know? I could give you statistics. I could say that the average person spends 2 hours and 15 minutes on social media per day. I could tell you about the benefits of social media, but you know them already.
– internet friends*
The internet is lovely, but the temptation to let it suck your life dry is strong. It’s a breeding ground for narcissism, a rat-race to keep up with everything happening in all corners of the globe. Social media makes us feel like the world is the best place, and also the worst place. It facilities both the greatest good and the worst evil.
And that’s a hard environment to put yourself through everyday.
I know I’m not the only person who fills the tiny gaps of her life with social media. You scroll though Twitter while you’re waiting for your coffee to heat up, don’t you? Your novel board on Pinterest can always use new pins, even if they don’t actually help you write your book, can’t it? Baking is only special if you take a video, isn’t it? You let yourself get down after no one comments on that very personal blog post you just wrote, don’t you?
Your identity is tied to the person you are online, isn’t it?
I thought so.
I don’t know what the thing is about social media that makes it almost impossible to escape. Maybe it appeals to our hopelessness about the world, there’s no way I can make the world better, so why try? Maybe it appeals to the part of us that wants to be passive, wasting time when we know we have better things to do.
It’s something almost like slavery, and we can’t figure out how to shake it.
Social media tells us that in order to play the game, you must: keep up with everyone else’s life + update them on your life + live your life in the real world.
And…don’t stress out while doing it.
Coming to terms with the kind of drain social media has on life, has been the hardest lesson for me to learn. And please, don’t you dare think I have it together. I don’t. At all.
Social media makes you feel productive when all you’re doing is absorbing parts of everyone else’s life, and wasting time that is better spent elsewhere. Let me give an example: I follow roughly 500 people on Instagram. Let’s pretend that only 75% of them post stories everyday. That’s 375 stories. Now if each of those stories are approximately 2 minutes each* (375 x 2 / 60 = 12.5 hours). That’s over 12 hours of stories, guys.
What about blogging? Blogging isn’t like Twitter. You can’t skim posts and tap the “like” button – mission complete. Blog posts take time – to read and to write comments. I follow 319 blogs, but I end up commenting on maybe…five or six? And that’s not because I don’t want to comment on the others, and not because I don’t feel like I’m missing out on things.
It’s because I’ve learned that there isn’t enough time to read all the blogs, watch all the Instagram stories, and like all the tweets. I could try, if I wanted, but then I’d have to make keeping up with the world my full-time job. And I won’t do that. It doesn’t make me money, and most of the time it doesn’t enrich my life. No, it drags me down into a pit that says, everyone else is accomplishing more than you. and they still have time to update their followers about all of it. are they stressed? nope, doesn’t look like it.
This year, I’m going to start asking myself the question: in what ways can I limit myself in the name of greater fruitfulness? In social media. In all of life, really.
you’re at a party with friends. the hosts are wealthy. their house is gorgeous and spotless. the wine is imported from Italy, and probably cost more than your father’s car. there is an enormous spread of pastries, cakes, and treats in the dinning room, glistening under light from the chandelier. there is more food on that table than you could ever hope to eat.
The question you ask yourself is: will I gorge myself until I can’t hold anymore, or will I only take a few things to enjoy and leave the rest?
The question is not, what about all the deserts I’ll miss out on? but, which decision makes my life better in the moment?
It’s limiting yourself: I don’t have to eat a bit of everything in order to have a good time at this party. just a taste will do. besides, there are many more things to enjoy here besides desert.
You’re not doing it because you have to, or because someone told you to. It’s you, setting boundaries because you know it’s good for you. It’s a form of self-control that carries tremendous power and freedom – you’re not a slave anymore.
At the end of life, or the internet, whatever, my greatest accomplishments won’t be how many Instagram stories I watched, how much I knew about X celebrities’s beauty drawer. It’ll be the conversations I had with others (and that includes online conversations as well), the things I learned, reading history, writing in my journal, watching sunsets and counting stars, pushing my sister on the swing, speaking truth and hope wherever I go.
I don’t have time to keep up
with your internet life.
I’m too busy living mine.
|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||
Do you have a love/hate relationship with social media? • Do you feel like you’re just absorbing parts of everyone else’s life instead of living your own life, or is it just me? • Do you have an personal guidelines so that you don’t get sucked into the craziness? •