Let me start by saying – I LIKE Facebook and I LIKE Instagram.
However, this week I took a day off from these social media groups. In the last little while I have come to notice that I spend a great deal of time scrolling through these social interaction sites and apps rather than participating in the real world.
Now I’m not saying that I’m a recluse who lives in an online world. I’m not saying these sites and apps are bad for you and cause you to have a false sense of reality…but I AM saying that sometimes, I get so wrapped up in what’s happening in my news feed that I lose track of what’s happening in my life.
Do you ever find yourself scrolling…scrolling…refreshing and then scrolling some more…you hit ‘like’ a few times, you ‘comment’ a few times and maybe you even share something you think is cool. I do all the time and after a while, I realise that 40 minutes has gone by! Then 10 minutes later I think, well that was a while ago – lets see if there’s something new in the newsfeed and the cycle starts again and I lose another 40 minutes. These are the moments I’m talking about that make me feel uneasy about how much I use social media sites.
How useful is it to me to know that so-and-so had cereal for breakfast? Or that this person has gone to the gym or this other person feels bored at work? Not very…I can’t remember the last time that I rang up my friend just to tell her that the pizza I made for dinner was pretty awesome. I’ve never rung my Mum just to tell her that I found a big black spider in the bathroom and I’ve never emailed my friend overseas just to tell her that I bought a new teapot.
Sometimes I appreciate reading things like this because it’s funny or it’s cute, but for the most part these social media sites really hold a lot of mundane, unimportant and hardly significant information. Other times, there are really uplifting, encouraging or vibrant posts – Bible verses, awesome social movements happening, someone welcoming a new family into their home – but it can sometimes be outweighed by how much my eyes just scroll through the feed. Am I even paying attention to these more positive aspects of social media? Is trolling through what the world is doing at that moment worth it if I’m not actually picking up the good stuff too? I don’t know…
Which is why I took the day off. To see how I would feel and to literally just have a break from the digital world. And guess what? The digital world didn’t miss me and I didn’t really miss it either. I only had 1 Facebook message to read and 2 more significant notifications to look at. I didn’t feel the need to scroll right through the newsfeed and catch up on everything I missed seeing and I didn’t feel the need to update my status or upload a new picture.
When I took that day off from social media, I didn’t know what everyone else was up to unless they decided to send me a text message. I also didn’t use up my device battery life in half a day like I usually do which was a bonus! It was quite a liberating day, one that I had intended to fill with much more productive things (I was actually ill, so that didn’t happen quite as I had planned! Never mind).
Anyway, my time away from social media was an interesting experience. Even when I was overseas I managed to find wifi everywhere and still logon to everything. Ridiculous really seeing as I was overseas and should have been enjoying everything that I was experiencing! So it was a good to have a day here where I didn’t sit in the digital world, twiddling my thumbs, judging what others are up to and ignoring what is actually good and useful about it all.
If you’re feeling low and unsatisfied in your digital life – these people have more than me, that’s a nicer picture than mine or I wish I was healthy like her – maybe it’s time for a break. Step out of it, stay away and participate in this real world, the real gift that the Creator delivers to us each and every day. This world He has given us is here to be enjoyed, worked in and lived as a way of glorifying His name. Social media can be a great way of expressing your joy at what He has given you, but not before you express your joy to Him 🙂