Thursday, November 30, 2017

Throwback to normal lives, limited access, and no DMs

I seem to reach this point every few months. I get fed up with social media and want to unplug- at least from the platforms where I’m overstimulated. I can always tell it’s time when I feel one of two ways: 1) Annoyed because everyone seems to excessively post the same thing or 2) Inferior because I feel like I don’t have anything meaningful to contribute, at least compared to my network’s highlight real.

This week alone I’ve mentally edited about a dozen status updates in my head: something amusing or anecdotal; maybe something inspirational for #WellnessWednesday or #ThankfulThursday, because God-forbid I miss a chance to use an alliterative hashtag. I even thought about a no point selfie. Like truly no point. Just wanting the world to see my face to remind everyone I’m still here. ‘Cause honestly, in a world where everyone’s shouting to be seen, it’s easy to feel invisible. Does anyone really notice who posts or not? Does anyone miss you when you’re gone?

Then there was an interesting line on TV last night. The characters were in the music industry and they stopped recording to do a video for social media. They remarked what a grind it is to always think about posting online so their fans are happy and their brand stays relevant. I found that to be so true to life. It’s not just celebrities and artists though. We all have brands these days. Whether we have a business or not, we have an image and we have to be mindful of what we communicate as well as how often we communicate. But sometimes I wonder, how valuable is a brand (in the eyes of others) that’s only gained a couple of hundred followers in four years.

Then there’s the global village dynamic of people sharing the highs and lows of life. This is particularly on Facebook. In the last couple of months, I’ve witnessed tragic deaths, sudden separations, and whirlwind love affairs. This, of course, is on top of the usual litany of news stories, enraged commentaries, and advertisements for products, goods, and services. I don’t observe all this from a seat of judgment. I take part in it all too- more so the advertising and self-promotion than the histrionics, but still…Perhaps my network is tired of my content. Lord knows I get tired of worrying about whether people appreciate it.

So yeah, when I get like this, feeling over it all, I know it’s time to take a break. It’s not social media’s fault. It’s not even people’s fault. No one is to blame. That’s why I take ownership of my wellness and occasionally unplug to restore my balance. Usually, it doesn’t even require a long hiatus for me to recharge. Maybe just a couple of days. But when I question if my work matters and if I matter…when I check back too often to count likes and views (even with this blog post) …when I’m tempted to post for no other reason than to be seen, then it’s time to step back. It’s time to revisit my why. It’s time to check out of the mountaintop of greatness in the virtual world and get grounded and meaningfully connected in the real world. Remember when people just lived ordinary lives and were content to do so? Today I want to throw it back to that: privacy, low key living, and peace of mind. Good times.

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