The Curse of Social Media
I just realized that it’s been over a month since I last wrote a Reflection. The absence of regular Reflections was by no means intentional, but it was rather collateral damage from an internal war I’ve been fighting with social media.
Ever since I opened my first social media account back in 2009, I’ve gone through phases where I consciously avoid it, and that’s been the case the past several weeks. While I love the engagement with family and friends around the world, social media challenges a side of me that surprises many people when I tell them about it: I can be terribly shy and introverted. Sometimes I want to disengage from everything and everyone and live by myself in an isolated mountain retreat, or on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific.
The desire to get away from everyone was a rare occurrence, but I find that ever since I joined Facebook (and then Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest), I find that want to “hide” more frequently. I go through periods when I’ve very “social,” and then I go silent for a while. When I do go silent, I start to panic when I think about how long I haven’t active online. I should be spending time every day liking and commenting on posts, right?
That panic I feel gets worse when I think of how many social media platforms are out there and how little I’m engaged on outside of Facebook. I’m a virtual ghost on Instagram and Pinterest, and the only reason why I’m more active on LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter is because I’ve linked my website to those accounts and any Reflection I publish automatically feeds into the other platforms. My point is that I can easily spend all of my waking hours on social media. If I did, I would forget to live my life.
And that’s where I feel the conflict. I love social media, but I miss the days before social media existed. Social media can be a force for good, but it can also be a source of stress. Here are some of the thoughts that go through my head when I see the Facebook app on my phone:
“OMG, I haven’t liked anyone’s posts today! What kind of a friend am I?”
“I forgot to wish [friend] a happy birthday yesterday!”
“So much is happening in all of the groups I’m a member of and I can’t keep up! How can I be part of those communities if I don’t engage with them? I’m such a slacker!”
I know I’m not the only one who has those thoughts, but I may be one of the few people who is willing to publically admit to having them. Am I a bad person because I have a love/hate relationship with social media? I don’t think so. If anything, I get a sense of relief when I admit that for me, social media is both a blessing and a curse.
I’m looking forward to the day when I can hire a team of people to post and like stuff for me, but until then, it’s just me. I’ll engage when I feel like it and I won’t stress out if I don’t. I prefer personal interaction anyway, and those who have met me in person know how much I care for them. I don’t need Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anything else for them to feel that. And when we see each other again, we’ll pick up right where we left off and continue to have an awesome time.
I feel much better now that I got my opinions about social media off my chest. I’m feeling better still now that I’m writing Reflections again, because this is how I love to stay engaged. Meanwhile, I encourage you to enjoy your lives, my friends. Savor the world that you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Don’t make that your sole focus, but definitely savor it and experience everything you can. That’s why we’re here anyway, and here is one helluva fun adventure.
Until next time. Love and peace.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and self-described champion for living joyously. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, and the daily experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.