I did it. I deleted my social media. I’ve had some form of social media since about 2006-2007 (Myspace counts, right?). It’s the day after, and I feel quite grievous. So much of my social life is via social media, isn’t it? Or is it not? I guess that’s why I did it–I don’t think it’s healthy at my age, with me as hermit-ic as I already am, to blur those lines. I need to know people, in person, love them and experience them loving me.
I’m thinking back on what spurred it on, and I realize now it’s all the diet changes this year. I did this long water fast in December of 2018–21 days on just water (hadn’t learned about electrolytes yet, highly recommend adding magnesium, potassium and salt to that regimen). I took that same amount of time, 21 days, fasting from social media (deactivated accounts, etc.), and when I got back on I became aware of how much my anxiety increased, how many advertisements there were, how eerily Instagram was reading my mind/ listening in on my conversations (yes, that’s a thing, when you “enable microphone” to post to Stories, you’re really enabling it). This year I’ve still used it…but with more hesitance.
The fast itself spurred on other diet changes in 2019. I eat a very, very minimal diet, the same food every day, and after seven months straight of just having that one food, I have realized just how many foods I don’t need. I go to the store now, and I don’t even walk the aisles anymore. I just beeline to the butcher, then leave. It’s simplified everything for me, and I’m better for it. Maybe the same could be true with my digital footprint?
I have to hand it to social media, though: It has created some really great relationships. Well….ok, in truth, the “entirely” digital ones it originated are few and far between, but it has kept me up to speed with my best friends in Colorado when I couldn’t have been otherwise. I have remained connected to my Iraqi field researchers, to beneficiaries in Sinjar, to friends from all over the world. But I am starting to let a lot of that work go, to let those times be those times–and am moving on. Without social media it really takes someone having my number and being able to text me to feel like they are a part of my life. (I made sure the most consistent international friends have my Whatsapp number, so they can text me)
Social media has also provided me with work–I’ve managed accounts for businesses and gotten paid for it. But I never enjoyed it. So much is based on metrics. You’re always trying to encourage engagement, and if people don’t engage, you feel like a failure. I don’t miss feeling like a failure. And I don’t miss engaging, really.
The problem is, I’m an artist at heart, and I want people to be exposed to what I’m doing, creating. But I haven’t created in a long time. A lack of social media cuts out a lot of the possibility of people seeing what I have created in any way. But I’m willing to let that go, to be invisible in the middle of the desert.
So here’s to a new year, social media-free. I wonder if I can even survive? And if I do, how my life will change?