Rule number three of the December writing challenge was no interaction on any social media –– Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc until the blog was done. The first few days felt like being on a diet. All I wanted to do was check my news feed and scroll through pictures on Instagram. I felt disconnected from the world. There were even a couple of times when I almost cheated, but I stuck to my guns. There were some days when I wasn’t able to start writing until after five. So consequently, I wouldn’t be ale to go on social media until seven or eight at night.
I’d scroll though Facebook and Instagram trying to catch up on a days worth of post, but it’s tedious reading through everything in one sitting. To be honest, it’s kind of boring. By the fourth or fifth day, I’d check the notifications to see if anything caught my interest, and if not, I’d moved on. There have actually been some days when I didn’t even think about checking Facebook until I get in bed around eleven.
Another consequence of this blog is that I’ve only watched television twice in the last eleven days. I’ve found myself engaging in more conversations with my family or doing other things. Of course, this particular thing could be contributed to the fact that all the good shows are on hiatus until January or February. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued how much this challenge has changed the way I spend my day.
Even though I don’t have a set time to write, I plan when I’m going to write based on the other things I have to do. When I’m done writing, I don’t really have much interest in staring at a screen. I feel more content in general with my life.
That was the thing with my Facebook addiction. I found myself feeling bad because everyone’s life seemed more interesting and exciting than mine. There were also times when a picture or a comment would trigger a grief response that could last the entire day. My husband would console me by saying that Facebook was just the highlight reel of everyone’s life and that it wasn’t fair to judge my life based on someone else’s highlight reel. While I knew that was true, I still got sucked in.
Apparently, I’m not the only person who has this problem. A blog post in Mind Body Green listed social media as one of the 11 Things You Think Are Improving Your Life (But Are Actually F*cking It Up). It stated that not only does social media waste time, it also negatively affects self-esteem.
One of my major excuses for using Facebook was keeping in touch with old friends. But the truth is I don’t really “keep in touch”. I looked at pictures, watched videos and read articles. There was very little personal interaction. Facebook is no substitute for real connection.
I was reminded of this when I received a lengthy email from an old friend. She wrote that she was thinking about me and wanted to re-connect. Her email updated me on her family and also shared how often she thinks of Matt. I felt loved as I read it. I felt connected to my friend.
I haven’t written my friend back yet, because I had to write this blog first. But when I do, I’m sure it will be a boost to both of our self-esteems.