As a blogger, you would think that this is taboo for me and to be honest, it is. As someone who seemingly wants to make a living for themselves within the digital world, taking a break from social media is pretty much a no no. However, needing to cleanse your mind and heart of everything and start fresh is a necessity.
When I started my freshman year of college in 2005, Facebook was the IT site. It was exclusive to college students and it was a way to keep in touch with events going on around your campus, friends that you’ve made and friends from different schools and branch campuses. I had no idea about this new world and my older cousin, who had already been in college for 3 years, raved about it. I absolutely had to join.
When I made my profile, I became hooked. I was befriending people I didn’t know, joining groups, uploading insane pics and making constant status updates. It was fun to me. If I wasn’t in class, I was on Facebook or talking about it. Myspace came next. It started to be a big deal. Having people in your top 8 was pretty serious. If you weren’t in the top 8, you weren’t that important to that person and that’s the way it went. The digital world kept growing and I was going right with it. It was the thing to do.
Facebook opened to the public and my family and non-college friends started to join. It was completely different. Things were changing and another social network was on the rise, Twitter. I was very against Twitter because I had already been a part of two social networks already and getting a third seemed like a job. I refused to make a profile on another site. That was until I decided to try my hand in blogging after graduation.
When I started According to Candace Ray, it was just an idea. It was something to do until my dream of becoming editor in chief of a major magazine came through. I just wanted to keep my writing skills sharp. Little did I know that this idea would turn into a passion and a need to fulfill. According to Candace Ray was born in 2012 but it was raised in 2014. I had gotten serious and needed to succeed in this dream. So, Myspace became a thing of the past and Twitter and Instagram profiles were made to gain momentum for the blog. I always kept Facebook. It was my first love.
Within these 3 networks, I started to master my strategies. Facebook was my diary. I had more personal connections there so I gave much of myself and the blog. Instagram was my acceptance oasis. Everything had to go great in a picture because I needed everyone to like it and possibly repost it. Twitter was all about the retweet. I would be extra funny or sassy there so that someone would catch my banter and retweet it for others to see. It was all about validation. Not of my own, but of those who were watching me. I needed that button pressed to know that I said something worth it. Snapchat came next and those short videos were just as much of an addiction.
I had no idea how much time I was taking scrolling through social media and not even to promote myself. What I thought was taking minutes was literally hours. I would post something and then spend the rest of my time looking at what other people had going on. I would read relationship drama, news articles, celebrity commentary, friend memories and everything else that other people were sharing that had nothing to do with my own life but I was a part of it. It became a routine and I hadn’t realized the negative toll it was taking on me. I began to feel overwhelmed and didn’t actually know where it was all coming from
One typical day, I was scrolling through Facebook and almost everything was negative. There were random acts of violence, racial banter, videotaped fights and arguments, and angry statuses. I’m not a fan of anything negative so I went onto the next network. Typical of all things digital, the next network was doing the same thing. Everyone was reposting, retweeting, talking and discussing and everything seemed to be horrible or tragic. It was taking a toll on me so I decided to just let my phone rest for the day. I didn’t want to keep seeing the same things over and over and I needed some peace mentally.
That day turned out to be one of the most peaceful days I’d had in a while. I read a book instead of reading a status, I watched a movie instead of watching a vine and I called a friend instead of commenting on their status. The change was refreshing. The next day, I had a few notifications pending so I went back into my normal routine and checked my networks. Shortly after logging in, I realized that nothing had changed much from the day before. Something needed to change. At that moment, I knew what needed to happen.
I made a status on my networks announcing that I was cleansing and wouldn’t be available via social network. I could only be reached by calls, text or email. Any other way someone could find me, besides social media, was acceptable. I didn’t want people to think I had gone missing (which people tend to think if they don’t see a status update) so the announcement was necessary. After that, I began my journey and logged out of each app. At first, I felt like I was missing something. I always felt like I needed to do something and I wasn’t. I knew what it was but I kept with what I said I was going to do.
By the end of the week, I felt peaceful and productive. I had written two weeks worth of content for my blog (I post twice a week typically), I knew what was going on with my friends by phone call instead of status update, my conversations were more meaningful because I was actually listening instead of scrolling at the same time, and my mind was more clear because my thoughts were my only influence. The nostalgia of going back to the life I knew without apps and status updates was euphoric and for that, I’d do it again.
I would never say that social media is the worst. Its a great resource in many ways. However, it can be extremely distracting and consuming. Anything done in moderation is a good thing. Over indulging can turn negative rather quickly. You have to experience life on the end of not being plugged in at all times. Get free! Know that there’s more to life than scrolling. Think of it this way, while you’re scrolling and watching people live life, you’re goals are passing you by and so are they. If an hour has gone by and all you’ve done was liked pics, comment on stats, and watched 8 snap stories, you’ve done too much. Limit your time scrolling to maximize your time winning. You’ll thank me later.
*You’re welcome for the memo*
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