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Why I Left Social Media. And Why I Came Back.

Why I Left Social Media. And Why I Came Back.

Why did I leave social media? For the sake of peace and rest. Ever feel like there’s always stuff coming at you, demanding your attention, or needing something? I did. I’m a teacher, and I have a lot of students who need attention, copious volumes of daily emails needing replies, texts, calls… And then there was social media. I liked the attention I received from it but hated the attention it demanded. I felt the need for a season of… quiet. More time to think, to heal, to rest. And so while I couldn’t turn off my email or phone or hide from the world, I could turn of my social media world.  So I did – for a month. And here’s what I found:

  1. I was less stressed. I really could tell the difference in the volume of communication “demanding” my attention, and I felt I could better handle all my other “stuff” without being as overwhelmed.

  2. I wasn’t tempted to go on social media during my devotions. Confession time: this was a struggle for me in the past. But without social media, my morning and evening devotions weren’t interrupted the same way. Especially in the evening, I had more time with God because I wasn’t checking my social media first.

  3. I suddenly took interest in my LinkedIn. Ok, ok, I guess didn’t cut off ALL social media because I did still leave my LinkedIn up. I reasoned that it’s more work oriented. It was never very interesting to me, and I honestly went on there about once every couple of months. However, with other media options gone, I found myself actually checking it more and reading its news feed… Yeah, social media withdrawals, I guess? You know it’s bad when… haha.

  4. I would sometimes feel kind of lost while standing in line at the store or waiting for something else. Because previously, how did I kill my wait time? On social media! But I actually learned to prefer NOT feeling compelled to pull out my phone during any period of lag time.

  5. I was happier and less anxious. I wasn’t worrying about what else was going on, what people were up to, what I was missing, how people responded to me, what I might see, what I might not see… Did I realize that I previously worried about this? Maybe not fully. But without it, it became more clear that social media carried an expectation for me to “keep up.” And with it off, I didn’t feel that. It was easier to be calm and satisfied with my life.

  6. I couldn’t use social media as a crutch if I felt a bit lonely or down. But to be honest, it was a lousy crutch anyway! Social media doesn’t give the same kind of connection as “real” life. It can sometimes leave you feeling more empty. But without it, I became more comfortable just being… quiet and alone. Or I began to bring those feelings to God reach out and connect with people directly.

  7. It was a good month of personal growth and healing as a person. How much of that was directly related to the absence of social media? I do not fully know. There was definitely a lot else God was doing and bringing me through during the time. But I do know that it was one less thing in the way of that process.

  8. I did miss out on stuff. I didn’t know my friend got engaged, I didn’t know certain things were happening, etc. I’m sure there are tons of other things I missed that I still don’t know I missed! But overall, I think much of what I missed wasn’t terribly necessary (or even beneficial) for me to know.

  9. I did feel a little bad about not connecting with some people. I kind of felt like I was hiding myself from friends. I didn’t wish them happy birthday, didn’t watch their major life events, didn’t interact with them at all. On one hand, it was nice because it effectively decreased my social circle to a more manageable size! But on the other hand, there are people I care about who may not fall into that smaller circle. They still matter to me. And I didn’t want give up all contact with them.

  10. I felt like I was neglecting an avenue to influence people for good. I DO have a broad social media network, and there were numerous times I wanted to share an inspiring quote or thought, or something good people could get involved in, but I couldn’t because I was off of social media. I also missed the blessing of seeing friends’ encouraging and uplifting posts.

So why am I back? Really because of the last two observations on the list. I came back because I wanted to connect with people and share in a way that’s hopefully uplifting and encouraging. But I’ll also admit something: even in the short time I’ve back, I see some of those old issues cropping up again. Is it worth it? I don’t know yet, but I do know a few things:

  1. I want my social media to be less about me.  Less of the selfies and fun activities I’m doing and more things that will encourage others and promote good.  We paint a life and identity on social media that can make others feel their lives are sub-par when really we’re all just putting our best foot forward. Or we can garnish sympathy and support and try to fill our own neediness on social media. I want to learn how to be real, yet not trite, to give more than I take, to shift the focus away from me.

  2. I need to watch my quest for attention and approval on social media. I want to ask myself, even with good things, “Why am I posting this?” Am I posting because I really think it will be a blessing? Or am I looking for attention? Am I seeking validation in the form of “likes?”

  3. I need to be able to set and keep boundaries surrounding my social media use. For instance, shutting it off at a certain time each night and not checking it again until AFTER my morning devotions! Plus, I need boundaries around getting on all throughout the day… And if it starts becoming too prevalent again, it would likely be best to let it go again. “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off,” right (Matt. 5:30)? A hand is a very useful thing, as is social media. But if it’s dragging me down, it needs to go.

So there you have it. A month without social media. A good month… And to be honest, even with all my good intentions, I’m not sure I’m ready to do this again or which is best for me. So if I disappear again, be happy for me. If I don’t, pray for me…haha… And maybe, you’ll also want to try your own social-media-break experiment. In my experience, you won’t regret it.

Guest

Hello. My name is Kermit. I don't actually write for the Haystack. In fact, I have never eaten a haystack. I eat flies. I think those are unclean. And I date a pig too. Miss Piggy. She's nice.

On any note, just remember that this is a guest account and that all the views expressed within are those of the guest authors and do not necessarily represent thehaystack.tv. Bye-bye!

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