I’ve written several posts here about social media (namely Facebook) and I want to reiterate that I think it can be a really great thing. It’s great for businesses, for people like me with blogs, for the consumer to get deals and coupons, to connect with people maybe you wouldn’t have before, to keep in touch with people you don’t live near or see often. For me though (and likely for a lot of other people), there’s a fine line between enjoying it and utilizing it and getting addicting to it or even worse…paying more attention to it than the people you’re actually around in your day-to-day life. I’ve been just as guilty of this too. You’re having dinner or at a friend’s place and instead of everyone talking to each other, they’re all on their phones checking to see if someone liked the photo they just posted or if their status got a comment. It becomes this 24/7 popularity contest for yourself. You get addicted to those likes and those comments. They make you feel validated. There are entire articles online about how to get more likes on apps like Instagram. But when you’re surrounded by friends or family already in that moment, what you should be focusing on is them and not the attention you may or may not be getting in cyberspace.
I realized how bad it had gotten for me again over the past couple weeks, especially at Thanksgiving. I just couldn’t keep my phone down or away from me for too long because I wanted to check and see if people were liking my photo on Facebook or Instagram. I realized I was completely neglecting my family and friends that were around for the holidays so I ended up just deleting the Facebook app and putting my phone away as much as possible for the rest of the weekend. The way social media has become such an integral part of my life now makes me forget what it used to be like before it all existed. I guess I was probably still seeking approval and popularity from people I actually saw everyday which isn’t always much better, but it feels like things were a lot simpler too. You could enjoy the people you were with. You could focus more on the present instead of transporting yourself into the “social” world of Facebook or Instagram.
I’ve done my Facebook cleanses many times before for a lot of different reasons…usually to step away from some specific people or just to try break the addiction. I always end up coming back to it though and getting almost as addicted to it as I was before. I stop asking myself why I’m posting something to make sure I’m not doing it for the validation of others. I just started posting, posting, posting. So this time, while I take a break from both Facebook and Instagram, I want to do it for an even bigger reason. I want to give the people that are in my life everyday at any given moment the attention they deserve when I’m with them. With the holiday season coming up, it seems like the perfect time to do it too. So until 2014, it’s time to remind myself what really matters and where my validation in life should be coming from, and that’s from me 🙂