Three weeks ago, I decided to take a social media break. I was uninspired by my blog, and I found that my nights were filled with endless scrolling through Instagram and Facebook wishing something would intrigue me enough to dream bigger; but, alas, my usually over-inspired mind felt empty, and I knew I needed a break.
So I took one.
…so I thought.
The first thing I did was move my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest icons from the front page on my iPhone, to the last (and scarcely used) page, and promised myself not to touch it. I don’t typically go on these sites on a real computer because, admittedly, my laptop is super slow and it’s not worth my time. To me, this would insure I wouldn’t click on the apps out of habit.
Then, I went into those apps and turned my notifications off. I knew if I was notified that something was happening on Facebook or Instagram I would be tempted to check out what was happening. By turning the notifications off, I was certain I was guaranteeing my success and would not be tempted to sneak a peak. (I was impressed with my cleverness on this one!)
Next, I had to deal with my blog committment. I had committed (mostly to myself) to write 2 posts a week. I know I don’t have a huge following but there are some that read my blog regularly, so I thought I had to let them know about this break. In light of this, I created a picture with an accompanying text that explained my departure, and pre-scheduled it to post on Instagram and Facebook the next morning.
Then, I wiped my hands clean of social media, and went to bed.
My pre-scheduled post was scheduled for 10am on a Monday.
Around 9:30am Monday morning, I started to get excited about my post going live. By 9:40am I couldn’t wait anymore, so I told my pre-scheduling app to post it immediately.
Then, I remembered that I had turned off the notifications for my Instagram and Facebook; therefore, I wouldn’t know what people had to say about me taking a break.
Seriously, I sat there looking at the Instagram and Facebook icons on my iPhone conciously willing myself not to look.
What were people saying about my post? Was anyone really upset that they wouldn’t see my posts for a week? How many likes was my post getting? Did anyone care about my post? Would it be reshared? Who was looking at it? Did people like the colours I picked for the picture? Did someone call out an typo I might have made?
So…I caved. I looked.
The fear of missing out is real. At this point, I realized the strong hold social media has on my life, to the extent that I was anxious about all the things that were happening and being said on it that I would not know.
I wish I could say I was stronger than this. I wish I could tell you that I completely cut out social media and led this marvellous life without the feeling of having to share it, and without knowing exactly what’s going on in everyone else’s lives. The reality is, cutting out social media made me feel like I was missing out on new knowledge, happening trends, and potential opportunities.
I had checked my Instagram and Facebook scarcely that Monday morning, and vowed that over the next 2 weeks I wouldn’t let my fear of missing out prevent me from achieving my goal.
Stay tuned next week to see how cutting out social media might have, actually, made me more social.