On and Off the Grid

Social media is everywhere, and has pretty much taken over our lives in my opinion. Ever since the World Wide Web was born, the internet has infiltrated into every home and business in the world—making it hard to live without.

I was first introduced to social media in middle school, when the big craze was Myspace…and I loved it! I got to choose my profile picture that I wanted all my friends to see—hundreds of mirror pics later of course—write my own ‘About Me’, choose a special song for my page, which always depended on what was going on in my life, and choose a Top 8 of my very closest friends. And if you got in a fight with your bff, you better believe being moved down a spot was no coincidence! Did I mention I spent way too many hours at night on Myspace looking at people’s pictures? Well you probably could have guessed that on your own.

Sounds a bit immature and childish right? But it was the site to be on and it was how you connected in middle school, for me, and I’m sure in high school for older kids. As I was graduating high school though, everyone started ditching their Myspace for a Facebook. We finally started getting in the big world of Facebook, which I was surprised to find had actually been around several years. At first, I thought Facebook was weird; it wasn’t cool and hip like Myspace. Of course my thoughts changed and I grew to love Facebook and find friends from the past I could connect with.

Basically Facebook has taken over everything, I don’t need to tell you that, but in some ways I feel like it took over my life a little bit. Your page became who you are and other people’s first impression of you. If you didn’t have good pictures, not many friends or uninteresting posts, you weren’t going to make a great first impression to the rest of the world. It also became a competition. Who has the best pictures? Who has the most likes and comments? Who seems like they’re having the most fun in life? These are things we shouldn’t take the time and energy comparing to others, but we do by human nature. That doesn’t make anyone who’s compared things a bad person, because I’ve done it with people I know and people I don’t, but I don’t like those people any less. I just realized it’s taking away the joy in life instead of enriching it, and that’s not how it should be.

I’m not trying to bash Facebook because I think it can be used for many great things as well. I love being able to connect with old friends and distant family members. Great causes can also be spread and supported through Facebook, as well as important news. Facebook is a useful tool for many businesses to create awareness and build an audience through. But so often, Facebook creates negative feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness deep down that aren’t healthy.

My husband and I had a revelation over the weekend as we were talking about Facebook and Instagram (my other favorite social media platform). I could do a whole other post on Instagram, but I came to the same conclusions I did with Facebook—it just became a competition full of negative feelings. We realized how much time we spend on Facebook (him) and Instagram (me), and what we could be doing with all that time if we weren’t so enthralled with what other people were doing—like focus on each other. So we decided to take a social media hiatus indefinitely. Crazy right?! This meant uninstalling the apps on our phones, and for my husband, deactivating his Facebook account (we’ll see how long he lasts!). My account is still active because I manage social media for my company, which I love because it’s centered on getting our mission out to others, but I barely check my personal page anymore.

Who knows, maybe after a week we’ll realize we really do need social media in today’s society, or hopefully we’ll feel better without the constant distractions it brings to our lives. For me, it’s more of a personal trial to see if my attitude and outlook is better without comparing my life with other’s on social media. I think it can be a great tool and shouldn’t go away for good, but I have a feeling I’m not the only person who has felt like this before.

I’ll be sure to let you know how our social media break goes, and if you decide to join us then let me know and we can go off the grid together!

xox Aurelia

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