Rev. Kate J Meyer, LPC
When You Think in Status Updates...
...it might be time for a break.
What about when you don't know you think in status updates? That was me just a few days ago.
This past weekend, after becoming increasingly aware of the amount of time wasted (yes, I said it, WASTED) scrolling through my News Feed and endless YouTube rabbit trails, I came to the realization it was time to part-ways with Facebook--at least temporarily. So, I made my final post Saturday morning indicating I wouldn't be back until at least Monday. Then, already questioning my decision, I put down my phone and got back to real life.
By mid-day Saturday (if you're keeping track, that's only 4 hours after the choice), I observed this disturbing tendency I have of thinking in Posts. A lot.
So, what does one do when one has a thought of a post but nowhere to go with it? Down a road of self-reflection that boils down to this one question: why do I think anyone needs or wants to know this?
Allow me to be clear. I am in charge of my decisions. I am responsible for how I spend my time. It is my choice if scrolling through my News Feed keeps me up an hour later than intended or delays getting out of the bed in the morning by a solid 30 minutes. Even when I regret the choice, I still am the one making the choice.
As with many things, Facebook starts out as a positive. You're able to connect with family who live in the Caribbean (this is a test, Peter ;) ), you reconnect with friends from school, and you have a way to stay in touch with those most important relationships that life threatens to steal with, you know, life. For these things, and many others, social media is a beautiful thing.
But, as with many things that begin as a positive, can soon become a negative. Before you know it, your News Feed is filled with updates from people you don't even know, you post and then obsessively check your notifications to know how people are reacting, and/or you're reading through comments with your anger/frustration/annoyance on the rise while you decide if you're going to engage. This. Is. A. Problem.
So, I banned myself. Now, to be totally honest, I did peek at my notifications a couple of times; but, I didn't post. I'm going to try challenge myself to stick to it for a while, too; preferably until I stop thinking in Status Updates.
Because, after all, who am I to think what I say is more important than anyone else? We are all consumed by work, family, and friends, so why does it matter what I had to eat or that I discovered just how truly amazing are cleaning erasers or that I had a fulfilling day at work?
Here's the thing (at least, I think it is "the thing"): when any avenue of personal social media becomes more about you and less about connecting with the other, there's a good chance it has taken over too much head-space and life.
So, I'll try for a while to limit my interaction to uplifting comments, no videos, and limited self-posting. Do I believe social media is evil? Absolutely not. Do I think it needs to be removed? Nope.
I do, however, fully believe social media has become the camera of our day.
Would you rather have an abundance of pictures with minimal experiential memory or a few key pictures that lead to full, vibrant memories? Would you rather have a Wall filled with regular updates that convey engagement and participation or infrequent updates because you're too busy living and doing to post about it?
When you discover you think in Status Updates, you might need to take a break. It seems like such a simple thing, but I can tell you that after only a few days I have gained a lot of insight into how much time and mental/emotional energy I put into Facebook. Most of it. Much of it. Okay, okay, some of it was positive and all about connection. The rest, though? I don't have anything to show for it beyond sleep-deprived and rushed mornings and/or obsessive thinking about how my last update was received.
Will I post this blog to my social media? Yes. Will I post pictures from my upcoming vacation? Probably--but I hold out hope I'll do that for me more and my memories, not for the approval of others.
And you? What is your time-waster? What have you or do you plan to do about it? Drop a note and let us know!