I decided to try an experiment by taking myself off social media for a week. I recently posted an angry rant on Facebook about not being serviced by a company when I wanted them to. I was mad. Social media was there as an easy vent, to let the world know how mad I was. It felt good to type away the characters that substitute for letters that form words I don’t normally say.
After a few hours I took down that angry post, feeling ashamed that I had let my anger get the best of me in the first place. Then I decided to take my profile down for a week just to see how I would feel about it.
Here’s what I discovered.
I don’t miss being on Facebook. A few times I went to check it, forgetting I wasn’t on it. But I realized Facebook isn’t the first thing on my mind every morning. It’s actually refreshing to not look at it every day.
I discovered I actually have more time. More time to clean the house, more time to take longer walks with Truman, time to go shopping and out to eat and go to the movies and not be glued to my PC inside, or to my phone checking the status of people who are my “friends” but not really my friends.
I discovered that Facebook is an easy outlet to say things one wouldn’t normally say to another person behind the blanket of a keyboard. It’s an easy outlet for angry rants and an outpouring of foul moods, when in reality, nobody really cares. How many times have you rolled your eyes at someone’s angry status and clicked off their page or deleted them as a friend altogether? How many times have people read my status and rolled their eyes at me, or deleted me altogether, because of something I said?
Don’t get me wrong. Social media definitely has its place. It’s a useful and beneficial and an amazing tool. I also think it has too much power over our emotions and can lead to an addiction, much like gaming or gambling might feel to someone. Collecting “likes” can be like a game, and a disappointment if you don’t receive as many as you thought you should. It has the potential to truly damage someone’s fragile emotions. I find that incredibly sad.
What a delight it was for me to not be “connected” for an entire week. It was like taking a vacation. And now, I vow that when I do use the power of social media, it will be for reasons to make someone feel something good, either about themselves or the world.
Oprah Winfrey recently made a statement that stuck with me. She relayed a story about a conversation she had with Maya Angelou, who said to her, “Your legacy is every life you touch. Every story you ever told. It’s everybody who ever heard that story. It’s every person you spoke to with a kind word or a negative word. Your legacy is every life you touch.”
I don’t want my legacy to be that of a person who used social media as a sounding board for a pity party, or a place to justify my negativity. What a liberating lesson I have just embraced.