I GAVE UP SOCIAL MEDIA FOR LENT AND IT WAS AWESOME
I wandered 40 days in the wilderness with no Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest or List App and am here to tell you about it.
- •At first it's really hard but you gotta go set yourself up for success with total commitmentI deleted all those apps from my phone, logged out from everything and deleted all the bookmarks and active logins on my web browser. Did my fingers still ghost over the absent apps like an addict jonesing for a hit? Yup. But after a few days it was a whole new world
- •Not having social media meant I had a lot more time on my hands. Most notably in the morning.I imagine I'm not the only one who looks at social media first thing when I wake up. Well, that wasn't an option the past few months and it was weird. Sometimes I just got right out of bed. Can you imagine? Waking up and not looking at your phone? IT WAS WILD!
- •I had to actively seek out the news I wanted to read, rather than use my social feeds like news aggregatorsIn some regards this was annoying, and I felt so appreciative of my social feeds, but it was also really nice in that rather than read random New York Times articles I just read the whole damn paper. And I realized that so many of the websites I "like" or subscribe to aren't actually delivering news and I didn't miss them at all.
- •There wasn't much that I actually did missThis is the second time I gave up social media for Lent, and just like before, I was reminded that all those celebrities, lifestyle bloggers, random acquaintances or friends of friends I met once, and all the other almost strangers I follow add very little to my daily life at the end of the day. It's easy to forget that when you're accustomed to regular posts from someone/thing/brand but when I removed myself from the regularity I realized how I didn't actually care about most of them.
- •I did miss my friendsAnd it's not like I don't see my friends a lot, I'm fortunate to have a big friend group in LA, almost all of whom live in a two mile radius from where I live, but we definitely don't spend as much time together as we used to and social media is a nice way to stay extra up-to-date on your friends, and definitely with my friends who live elsewhere. However, this did mean I had nice, non-social media related interactions with friends, which felt more personal and often more meaningful.
- •I'll never fully give up SnapchatLook, I know it's technically social media, but the way my best friends and I use it is as a messaging/communication tool. However, during my Lenten fast I didn't post or look at Snapchat stories, and that definitely made me feel out of the loop a little bit, but was another nice reminder that social media doesn't necessarily bring us closer together — individual interaction does.
- •Social media doesn't matter... It does kind of, sort of but also, really, it doesn't. Think about it. I'll say it again: social media doesn't matter.The biggest takeaway, for me personally, was that social media doesn't really matter because for the most part, it isn't real life. The emotional bandwidth we spend worrying about what we can or can't post, or who we should follow, or who didn't like that tweet or follow you back — it's all silly and doesn't matter and everyone should stop worrying about everyone else and just do what they want. Post three photos in a row if you want. They're all selfies? Even better. Do what you want, fuck it.
- •Giving up social media for 40 days was super awesome and I kind of didn't want Lent to endBut at the same time, I'm happy to be back and I do feel more connected to a community beyond my small day-to-day life. And that's when I'm reminded of the good in social media, and how it can bring joy and togetherness and new outlooks and opinions. But it's also nice to just remember that I have more control over my social media feeds. The first thing I did when I re-downloaded all the apps was immediately unfollow most of the celebrities, brands & strangers I didn't miss.
- •So now I'm able to look at my social media with a fresh perspective and a clear head and hopefully this liberated feeling is something I can carry with me for a little while longer...Or at least until next year's Lent. I'm thinking of making this a regular thing. Because even when I said I was giving up bread, I never really did.
- •In closing: Giving up social media is lovely and liberating and I highly suggest trying it out. For one day or four or forty. You might learn something about yourself! Happy Easter to those who celebrate and happy Sunday to everyone else!And did anyone else give stuff up for Lent and have any major takeaways or new perspectives? I want to hear about it!