In what seems like a bizarre turn of events, I did something that many bloggers will consider the un-boon of any modern-day blog. I quit my social media accounts.
Yep, I totally nuked my Instagram and Twitter accounts (Update: I’ve revived my Twitter account after much consideration, but am still not, in a million years, reactivating my Instagram account). And my Facebook fan page and personal account are on their last legs too. I kept Google+ only because I have ongoing client projects that require that and Pinterest because, well, it’s a source of sober and sprite inspiration.
Cue “Sugar, we’re going down”.
|Image from sarahpressler.com|
This began while I was creating a template for my daughter’s blog (yes, that 2-year old will be having her own blog), which brought me back to the ancient days of blogging, when all you really had to do to be heard was blog – and blog real good. Nothing else.
Readers found great bloggers by accident or by word of mouth, and when they do, it is like hitting a gold mine. Now discovering a “hidden blogging gem” is like finding a still unmapped beach. Which is highly unlikely with Google Maps and the legions of travel bloggers worldwide.
If only I can go back to those days.
On second thought, I actually can.
This may seem crazy at 12 am, but it’s kept me up for the next 4.5 hours in between coffee sips and finishing articles. It was, above anything, a move to declutter my life, one that’s unnerving and exciting at the same time.
I have always been a late adopter to technology. I joined Facebook only in 2009, only because my husband and friends were on it for years. Instagram was something I signed up for a couple of months back solely for a marketing project. That project is over and honestly, Instagram isn’t something I have any use for, nor am I overfond of the culture it promotes.
Lemme say, if you’re a fan of social media, that’s cool. It’s just not something that’s still working for me for many reasons, mainly the premium it places on aggregation and pack dynamics. It empowers quantity versus quality. It encourages the production of an ideal representation of oneself – good food, fab clothes, insecurity-inducing vacations, drama that’s worth eavesdropping on. Things that often distract me from more pressing matters.
All that to supposedly “enhance” social interaction. But in the midst of mindless scrolling through self-promotion, photos and articles; the scrambling for similar-agenda’d users; the automatic liking; the follow-me-I-will-follow-you pleas; and the wandering and gossip-mongering from one page to another, truth is, social media leaves so little room for genuine interactions.
You can even choose to shut off thought feeds from people you consider “friends” and in doing so, it eliminates two fundamental values in real-life relationships: trust and two-way conversations. True communication takes effort. That’s what makes it worth-remembering.
My life has never really been that cool. It’s one filled with home-bound pets, cartoons, milk spills, toddler tantrums, dirty laundry, and perpetual to-do lists. I am as average as any 30-year old mother whose days are split between chores, child raising, working on deadlines and paying the bills. I don’t fly out to places on a whim or spend nights with cocktails, perhaps except on Sundays. My life isn’t swell, but it’s also real as tiny embraces and conversations over the phone.
Social networks are an addicting, saturated, time-sucking market. A venue to promote opinions and earn approval for them. Often, there is only space for conformity, which at this stage in the Erik Erikson psychosocial hierarchy, I am just waaay too old for.
I am a writer, for crying out loud. My job is to write, not to brandish a lifestyle that will allow people to discover that I write. Yes, it sucks to blog and not be heard because your voice is drowning in the noise. But I don’t write for approval and validation either. I write to put food on the table, which in general don’t require social accounts. I write because it is a way of being – something I’ve established long before the rise of social media.
It’s not easy to sever ties. Surprisingly, I find it’s not so much about the friends I made online, but more on the fear of withdrawing from a lifestyle I have grown accustomed to for years. Change can be frightening, especially if it includes losing people who subscribe to your beliefs.
But do I really need to broadcast my life and upload a photo of my dog or a recent vacation to amass likes? What happened to enjoying privacy and just being? Ah, humans are an ambiguous lot. We complain about people invading our privacy and yet we openly showcase the most minute life details. Like how our plate looks like post-cibum.
I refuse to believe that the only way to effectively cope in this society and live a normal functioning life is to engage in a crapload of social media. It was okay while it lasted. But I have never been good at pack conformity.
leaving the pack to go live life as it should be. Less distraction, fewer digital clones, toned-down noise, #nofilter. You can
still find me here, where it all started, curiously embracing a new future where I don’t invest a massive, cringe-inducing portion of my time checking on what’s hip and trending.