There are spaces built into our lives, small stretches of time between tasks where we used to take a breath and think. I started to re-discover these spaces this past month when I deleted Facebook and then Instagram from my phone.
If you’ve been reading my posts, you probably know that I’ve had a long-term love/hate relationship with social media. I’ve thought about it a lot and I’ve written about it a lot. Honestly though, I have a love/hate relationship with just about everything. How much I love it or hate it depends on my mood of the day (or hour), but in the long run there is little that I truly abhor.
Ultimately, I love the concept. I love being able to stay connected through the internet with friends and family. I love being able to share pictures, books, and articles I find interesting with whoever wants to listen. No more losing addresses or phone numbers. No more having to print and send pictures of the kids. No more photocopies of articles tacked to the bulletin board.
But there are downsides, that’s for sure. We all know them well.
With all the hubbub in the world, I found myself needed to put a little more distance between my home and the online world, so I decided to take the apps off my phone so that I couldn’t just unconsciously scroll. I didn’t leave the platforms, I just limited when I could interact with them. That’s when I discovered the spaces.
Once the apps weren’t at my fingertips, I found myself daydreaming more often. And it’s so nice. As I finished my coffee, caught my breath after a walk, waited for the dryer to finish; whenever I had a moment, I sat there thinking instead, staring out the window, or doodling on a piece of paper. I found a few epiphanies to write about. And I relaxed.
Over the course of a few weeks, I realized that, with the apps right there in my hand, I had been filling those quiet spaces with other people’s thoughts and I was losing mine.
I’ll admit, I have considered leaving social media completely, but I just can’t seem to justify it. I can’t think of a convenient way to stay in touch over long distances. I want to be there so that my people can find me, so I stay.
I now have two social media accounts, Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, I get on the computer and share a few things each morning. Depending on my mood and my availability, I chat with a friend or jump over to a friend’s page and see what’s up. You, my sweet reader, can “follow” me there if you like. I post many things publicly.
Instagram is different. You can only post to your page from the app. I can still follow interesting pages and comment from my computer, but I can’t post my own. I tried having the app on my phone and self-limiting my time there so that I could post, but I kept inadvertently filling in my spaces, so it had to go, at least until I can develop a stronger habit of not scrolling.
My social media use has evolved once again.