I spent a lot of time over the last year thinking about the role that social media plays in my life and to identify why I am increasingly growing in my dissatisfaction with it. I do not really feel like I have to justify my action, but I thought it might be helpful to share some insight about what lead to this moment of choosing to officially shut down both my personal Facebook Page and my Jlynn Frazier Photography Facebook Page.
In a nutshell, I felt like Facebook and social media overall was too much of a burden, expectation, and that at the end of the day it really wasn't a value add to my life. So, just pull the plug, right? Ah yes, that would make sense but it was a process of thinking about it, and talking about it, and finally deciding to dip my toe in the water... well out of the water, when I took a complete social media hiatus in December.
My concern was that I would not be able to stay in touch with the people that matter to me. Yet, I felt like social media was not really serving me in my quest to stay in touch with those that matter most now. That might not make sense, but that is where I was at with it all.
Let's be honest. My Facebook account had 297 "friends" and most of those are not really my friends. By this, I do not mean that I don't care and wish them well with so much love and joy in their life. I totally do. I wish this for everyone and send vibes out into the Universe every day. BUT, almost everyone on this list is not in my circle of friends and family that I want to stay in touch with on a deeper level. I mean the people who really give a shit about me and who I would drop everything for and be there is a small inner circle of people. I believe that is true for all of us.
What I yearn for, and I think we all do, is to feel really connected to that inner circle of friends and family. The rest is superficial, disconnected, and doesn't serve me (nor does it really serve others). I use the example that my parents love to see pictures of my face all the time, but the rest of the world doesn't love to see my face that much. It really is a small group who really care to know the inside scoop and the intimate details.
Facebook was set up with the best of intentions but it has really turned into a space that has become a substitute for a phone call, a lunch date, or a personal letter/email. It has also led to a lot of wasted time comparing your highlight reel to someone else. When I am having a bad day, social media is the last place I need to go. I usually need to go for a run to get connected to the earth, a big hug from someone who is in my inner circle, or to curl up with my pup and take a nap, read, or write to give myself some much-needed self-love.
I often heard from family and friends things like this: "I know what you are up to, I follow you on Facebook;" "Don't you know, I posted it on Facebook;" or "How can I stay in touch with you, you are never on Facebook anymore."
I have been having an inner dialog about social media, particularly Facebook, and chatting with a few close friends (in person) about social media, the role it plays, and my disdain for it. I finally asked myself what is the worst thing that could happen? Then I decided that I would take the month of December off from all social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my blog) to just see what happens. I figured a break would be good and I could test the waters by giving myself some distance from it all.
I have to tell you I found so much relief and it grew throughout the month. My worry that I would not be in contact with friends and family was both true and not true. There are people I would have loved to hear from, but I didn't reach out to them (at least not yet) and they didn't reach out to me. BUT, overall I REALLY DID hear from those who matter. I got a text, or an email, or a phone call. It was so lovely.
I still love print and I love getting mail. YES... the mail! That box or cubby type thing that sits at the end of your driveway or in the lobby of your building or the slot in your door. Oh good, you remember the MAILBOX! Ha!
Seriously, I enjoy writing handwritten notes, licking the envelop, attaching a stamp, and sending it off to my friends and family. I will never give that up because I think it means a lot to get a note that someone sat down and wrote. There is an intimacy that I cannot duplicate any other way (at least not that I have experienced so far). It's just personal and direct in a way that no Facebook blast will ever be able to bring into my life.
So, Facebook is no more. I have closed out my accounts and it feels oh so good. It feels right for me. This is not to say that it is right for you, though I would suggest being thoughtful about how you use Facebook and the time you spend passively scrolling through news feeds. Also, remember that just because a friend posts a smiling picture does not mean that they don't have bad days. Perhaps that picture is the one moment that day where they did smile.
So where does that leave me in terms of the rest of the social media world? Ah, I thought you might ask me that. Well, I have slowly crept back into the world. First, I am focusing my time here on my webpage and blog. I am back on Twitter as a source to send my work out into the world since I am and will continue to write a lot more. It is more of a newsfeed and not really a place where I will spend a ton of time or plan to interact though. LinkedIn, which I didn't mention, is mostly a professional channel and online resume and that will stay the same. I do not post there or engage in public conversations, but enjoy the chance to reach out and connect with people to get an email or phone to further connect.
The other biggie for me is Instagram. I have been torn on this one, but I do enjoy the visual of it all. So I am creeping back soon and will be making changes to follow far fewer people. I am hopeful that the increase in advertisements (or what felt like a huge increase to me) will feel better when I cull down my list of who I follow. Otherwise, it might just drive me out this year. Regardless, I am going to be on it far less and consider it a space to ship my creative work out into the world, not a space to procrastinate or "take a break."
I will share more about this journey as I go, but I just want to say that I am feeling so calm and just feel like I am in a great place and so glad to return here to focus more on writing. Believe it or not, writing for me continues to be one of those endeavors that I just can't let go of doing. I have tried and my ego has thoroughly enjoyed the process of trying to talk me out of it. You know the "who are you to write about that," "you're not really a very good writer," "no one wants to read your work," and one that has haunted me since I was a young child "you're a terrible speller." Well, I am letting all of that hogwash go. It's time to write because that is what my inner self-wants, not to mention it is exhausting fighting against it. The rest of the what will people think or will anyone read it. I just have a feeling it is all going to take care of itself and is far beyond my control.
A final note for now about staying in touch. If you want to get in touch with me... I would love that! I hope you will start by subscribing to my blog and consider sending me an email. I look forward to connecting with friends, new and old this year and to continuing to find ways to maintain deeper relationships with my friends and family.