It seems more and more common these days when I login to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or (insert other favorite social media here) that I’ll see a post by one of my friends announcing to the world that they are “leaving Facebook.” Usually, along with this post, they will also describe all the bad things they perceive about Facebook (or Twitter, etc.), how it was taking up all their time.
Unfortunately, it all comes off as very judgmental towards those of us who stay connected and even when it isn’t preachy, I always wonder about a few things:
Why broadcast that you’re leaving? If things sucked that bad, why not just go. Life goes on in social media world with or without you. Presumably, you are broadcasting a farewell message because you have some friends that you care about still on the site but then why leave in the first place? If you’re going to go, then go… If we don’t see any more posts from you, then we will know you are not active on the site and life still will go on.
Do you not have self control? If Twitter is taking up too much of your time or you are spending too much time looking at Facebook, why not just close the site, remove it from your favorites, take the app off your phone, etc? Maybe set aside a time for only a few minutes every week to give it a quick glance. Why cancel your whole account and cut off one of your easiest access points to all of your social friends?
Are you doing social media wrong? Try this, don’t login or access the social media site for 72 hours. Block it on your browser if you have to. Delete the apps off your phone. Remove the favorite link. Just do whatever you’d like for 72 hours and don’t even think about social media. Then ask yourself this question, did the world continue to turn? Did your day still happen? It sounds ridiculous but I’ve known people who freak if they miss a status update but then feel overwhelmed trying to keep up. Bottom line: life goes on even if you miss a post.
Did you know you can block posts? If constant political posts or negative spam are driving you crazy, did you know you can block posts from a specific user. Both Twitter and Facebook allow you to do this. Also, you can always unfriend someone.
Why I Choose to Stay
I get a lot out of staying on Social Media. There are weeks that are so busy I might not even login for the whole week but here are some reasons I stay and what I really enjoy about social media:
1) Keep in touch with friends & family
This is by far, the biggest reason. Facebook is especially good for this. I have accumulated a large collection of friends & acquaintances over the years and being able to see a little update about something that is happening in their lives here and there is just awesome. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t have any contact with a majority of these friends and even some family members if it weren’t for the power of social media. So valuable!
2) Latest news & reactions
Before even the big news and info sites break stories, I usually already know about them because of social media. What’s even better, I not only hear about important news, I also get the perspectives of my friends as they post about the story, it’s personal implications, their thoughts, etc. It’s truly personalized news.
3) Deep conversations
In my busy life, a lot of times I just don’t have the time I’d like to engage in deep and meaningful conversations, especially with extended family and long distance friends. While I constantly hear how shallow and trite social media is (and there definitely is some of that), I’ve had some great, thought-provoking conversations and in many cases, these discussions have influenced my opinions on all kinds of topics.
As with a lot of things in life, you get out of social media what you give into it.