Category Archives: In It Not Of It

Less is More in Online Socializing

The timing of her phone call was impeccable.

Lately I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking, and even research, on social media’s effects on us. What I’ve learned prompted my decision to set up personal limits on how much access I have to it. But I hadn’t told anyone else except my husband, and we were just finishing up conversation number 862 about how things needed to change.

The Social Media Debacle
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Then a friend called, and without knowing what was on my mind, she started in. “I’m so disenchanted with the online world right now.” Her personal online demons aren’t the exact same sites as mine, but the problem is the same, and the research is proving that she and I aren’t the only ones.

Along the way, we as a society have come to a place where we view social media’s proper place incorrectly. There are two key facts that seem so obvious that I shouldn’t need to list them, yet studies are showing that they aren’t very obvious anymore.

First, social media is not real life. It seems like a no-brainer, but why else would we get emotionally charged after seeing pictures or posts from others? I love the phrase I’ve seen several writers adopt to describe this syndrome. It’s impossible to know everything about someone’s life from their online highlight reel.

Are highlight reels bad? Not one bit! I love seeing pictures of what is bringing joy into the lives of my friends. It’s my responsibility to remember that what I’m seeing is only a small glimpse into a solitary snapshot of their day. If I can’t handle that, then I need to step away from observing for a while.

We would all benefit from remembering that social media is not an ideal place for word vomit either. Nobody enjoys being around a Debbie Downer in real life, let alone online. Highlights and word vomit combined make for a tumultuous journey through one’s news feed, and it’s no wonder we feel worse after spending a substantial amount of time online instead of living life.

Which leads me to my next point. Social media shouldn’t be an escape. God has given all of us a real life to live. It’s a gift that most all of us take for granted from time to time. My friend said something so wise while we talked on the phone that day which summed up the feelings I was trying to sort out. “For far too long, I’ve looked at online as an escape. But why would I want to escape my life? It’s wonderful!”

I couldn’t agree more.

My life is wonderful. I don’t deserve or need some break from living the life I’ve been given. This doesn’t mean I don’t need rest from time to time. Or that I can’t ever spend time catching up with those I love through social media. What’s essential here is that I maintain a healthy view of my life and put social media in its proper place.

I am thankful for the way social media allows me to stay connected with friends who live far away. While we are living our own stories out miles apart, it’s great to be able to get a glimpse into their current life’s situation. It’s also fun to get to zoom in on what kinds of things my close-to-home friends are up to with their own callings and families.

However, the moment I sense the switch going off in my brain that makes me long for a different person’s life, I know I need to walk away, take a good look at the blessings that I have in my life at that very moment, and live my life without trying to escape it.

Less is more, especially when it comes to spending time online from the days we’re given to live life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Have you ever had to overcome an issue that social media has created in your life? If so, how did you do it? Feel free to leave a comment or send an email.

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Soli deo Gloria

The Social Media Debacle

The Social Media Debacle

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how to effectively bring changes I want into my life and my habits. While I feel at peace about where I am and what I’m doing in the big life situations, there are those “little” things that we all struggle with. These little things look different for all of us, so I realize that not everyone will relate with the specific example that I’m about to share, but I challenge you to not tune out just yet. Because as sure as you’re human, you know that you have something that is your personal kryptonite.

A few weeks ago, I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone. Forever. It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve done my fair share of trial runs with “Facebook fasts,” but I’ve finally acknowledged some facts that have been eating at me for a while.

  • I despise the fact that I’ve walked away from Facebook more than once feeling angry, annoyed, judged, or judgmental.
  • My heart breaks when I hear one person I care about after another candidly admit that something they saw on Facebook made them feel one of the things I mentioned in the point above.
  • Multiple studies have been done about the effects of Facebook on people, and the results aren’t good. Facebook-induced depression and bullying are actual problems in our society now. Here’s just one of many articles I found on the topic: Why Facebook Makes You Unhappy
  • With Facebook readily available to me throughout the day, I find myself wasting time on it rather than living out my day the way I want to.

This change in my life may not sound like that big of a deal. I’m not deleting my account, and I still interact on it at least a little bit every day, but I’m blown away at the huge difference one “little” change has made in my life.

I think that most of us want to believe we are exceptions to statistics. At least I do, but I have to admit that less Facebook has made me a happier person. I really didn’t think that I was unhappy to start with, but my mood has been much more positive and I have actually enjoyed the time with my family even more than I already was.

Media of all kinds – news or social – is noisy and it never, ever stops. While small doses of both are great, they aren’t meant to permeate every spare minute of my day. Technology has wired our brains into thinking that quiet times of the day are a bad thing when that is simply not true. Being still is glorious! As much as I love seeing what’s going on in the lives of my friends and family, I don’t need to read every single thing they post to love them. In fact, stepping away from social media a bit requires me to have actual conversations with them. I can’t check with them on Facebook anytime and anywhere that I want to, so that means I should send them a text or give them a call. Those means of communication will always be more personal, and we all need that closeness in our lives.

Knowing that I’ve made the commitment to do more than just “fast” from Facebook on my phone has definitely changed my mindset. It’s requiring self-control and commitment, and accomplishing goals like that do so much for boosting my morale and determination. Now that I’m admitting it to the world in this post, I definitely can’t turn back, and I feel more happy and free with each word I write.

What about you? Has Facebook or some other form of social media taken over in your life and you’re ready to take back control? Maybe you don’t struggle with screen time, but in your heart you know there’s something else that far too easily becomes a stronghold in your life. How will you take action to take charge and change?

Stay tuned for my next post on social media coming tomorrow!