This blog post is likely going out into a peculiar sort of vacuum.
Recently I discontinued the use of all social media. All of it. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram(though I hardly used that) and am trying to live my life separate from that Charybdis. So it will be a curiosity to see what happens here, if anyone, literally anyone, sees this post.
But here’s why I did it.
1. Social media is not healthy for me.
Maybe it’s okay for you. Maybe it’s okay for the vast majority of people out there. For me, it inspires depression, anger, disappointment, and wrong desires. When I’m surrounding myself with authors, I tend to want to be a successful author all over again. I am tempted to go back to that idol and pick it up, dust it off, and bow down again. Conversely, when I’m interacting with pastors, I tend to want to be a pastor. And I am in the process of laying that aside just as I did my authorial ambitions. Recently I was rejected for a pastoral role. It hurt. But it was good, too. I got to hear “no” and watch that part of me cringe and cry and shrivel in angst. And that may sound bad, I realize where my heart is when I am denied anything.
2. Social media consumed my time.
Often, when I was in the process of writing a book, I would have to fast from distraction. Distraction was ridiculously easy with social media. I could find something to be outraged over. I could find something to laugh at. I could talk with strangers. I could pretend that I had more friends than I actually have. And that leads me to my final point.
3. Social media provided me a false sense of community.
As of this writing, I can say without a doubt I have 3 very close friends, 6 casual friends, and probably about 3-4 acquaintances in my life. On Facebook, I had 200 or so “friends.” On Twitter I had right at 1500 followers. Of those, I interacted regularly with about 100 of them.
So those top three? I text them at least once a week or interact with them in person about that much. Those six casual friends? I text or email them once every two weeks or so. Those acquaintances? It’s on an “as-needed” basis. Worse, when I am attempting to live in community with people, I often claim I’m doing so based on my proximity and ability to keep up with them in a digital way. This is toxic for me. Why? Because it means I am basing my ability to shepherd and disciple 90% on what they present me with. And 99% of that content is bragging or complaint. So I am never really working towards helping their hearts, just sorting their garbage.
And getting out of social media means that I get to stop pretending. I get to stop feeling badly for not “keeping up” with folks. Will I miss some people from social media? Probably. But the fact is, most of the people who really interacted with me have my email. And those that don’t want to keep up with me, won’t. So instead of pretending at relationships, I will know, effectively, who really is my friend and who just wants the proxy and my time and attention.
I’m a horrible monster, I know. Will I ever return to social media? Maybe. But in killing off my dreams, I think this is an important step.