Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Social Media Time Out

Facebook for me is usually a happy place.

I've managed to surround my digital self with lots and lots of like-minded individuals, and so my Facebook world tends to run towards liberal ideas, cat videos, and teacher-loving puns.

When people post about all the negativity they see on social media, I think, Ha! Not me! Will you just look at this adorable puppy going sledding?

I also have friends who don't do Facebook.  They avoid it for entirely reasonable reasons:
"I just know I'd get sucked in and never get anything done."
"I'm not comfortable with putting myself out there on the internet so much."
And I think, I hear you, but I'm pretty good about not getting lost in Facebook land, and I understand the privacy stuff so I'm pretty well protected.  Plus I never publish anything too personal.

And so, periodically throughout my day, I take a spin through the latest info on my Facebook wall.  (Do we still call it a wall on Facebook?  Or is it a feed like Twitter?)

Speaking of Twitter, I've got one of those accounts, too, though I use it a lot less.

But since the election....oh the election.

The election broke my heart.  I, like many, many others, walked around in a fog for days and days, and often, when I wasn't staring blankly off into the distance, I was staring at my phone.  My Facebook World was mourning too, and I was glad to have the company.

And then the article sharing started.  "The President Elect did What?"

And before I knew it, I'd spent too many minutes to count chasing stories down rabbit holes, only to emerge more miserable and foggy than ever.  I wasn't finding solace.  I was finding heartache, anger, and dismay.

My husband kept saying, "maybe you need to take a break" when I'd look up from my screen all weepy or shell-shocked.

As Inauguration Day and the Women's March on Washington neared, I made a big decision: I needed a Social Media Time Out.

The last straw snapped when I cruised through Trump's Twitter Feed.  When he didn't include an apostrophe where he should have, I nearly sobbed.  It wasn't so much the missing apostrophe, of course, but that's what tipped the balance.

I've been grumbling a lot lately about a lot of things: no time for reading for pleasure or exercising, no time to just relax, and I've been blaming it on work, which has indeed been busy.  I've had more essays to grade than ever this year due to my combination of classes and student numbers.

But I began to wonder just how much time I was wasting with my "quick peeks" at Facebook, etc.

So I decided I had to be part of my online community for the Inauguration, and then I was eager to see the turnout for the Women's Marches all around the world.  I'm glad I made these decisions, as I could cry in the company of my electronic friends on Friday, and then "LIKE" a million posts on Saturday showing the strength of women around the world--and also the awesomeness of their signage.  Take that, you nasty old apostrophe abuser!

Woo. Ok.  So ast night I checked Facebook for the last time, and I'm going to take a break for a while now.  Probably not forever, but until I break some bad habits, at least.

By midday today, on Day 1 of my Social Media Block-Out, I had reached for my phone, thumb extended toward the little blue square, at least six times.  So I removed the shortcut from my home screen.

I'm a bit alarmed at how often I reach for it.

Instead, when the urge strikes me, I think of what else I could be doing: playing music, reading a book (I'm taking a break from my online news outlets too.  I've probably spent countless hours on articles that I could have spent on novels.  I haven't read much fiction at all lately.), doing some stretches.  I even downloaded a meditation app.  My friends who know me well know that that is a crazytown move for me.  I don't meditate.  Like, ever.

So here I go.  We'll see if this break has the effect of freeing up time for healthier pursuits, both mental and physical.

And lest you fear that I'm putting my head in the sand at a time when we should be extra vigilant, please note, I will still listen to the news on my rides to and from work.  That will be enough for now.

Maybe I'll even blog again.  Seems I stopped when school hit.

If we're friends on FB, I'm sure I'll be along again sometime to see you there.  But I can be reached in an abundance of other ways if you need me.  Until later, Friends.

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