Random Ramblings

The One Where I Went Off The 21st Century Grid

10-31-2013
Let’s be honest… Facebook, Twitter and Instagram RULE. Social Media is fun and everyone uses it. Even employers check your Facebook before they look at your resume! Each social media site provides great pros that make life and connecting with people easier. But as I took a look at my life I realized these sites were causing more personal damage than good. Lets start with why I specifically loved these sites then delve into what became the cons and eventual reasons why I “went off the grid”.

Facebook:
Facebook is great and (unless you include Xanga) was the true beginning of social media. I mean, they even made a movie about it! Facebook is great for keeping up with people you don’t talk to on a regular basis. You can see what people from your high school are up to and watch as your childhood friend who lives 4 states away begins a marriage and a family. You can post your thoughts, funny YouTube videos, or photos from your last family vacation.  And you can customize your profile to be a resume and dating profile all rolled into one.

Twitter:
Not gonna lie, I like Twitter better than Facebook. I like it because, for me, it is how I keep up with things that are going on in the world. Whether it’s my friends world, the entertainment world, or the real world, one scroll through my Twitter feed and I feel like I know everything that is going on for the day! It is how I found out we got Osama Bin Laden (New York Times Twitter account), where I learn which studios are picking up new tv pilots (Hollywood Reporter Twitter account) and where I found out we were getting a snow day at school before I got out of bed (20+ friends Twitter accounts). Plus, as an introvert, it is the easiest place for me to send my thoughts out into the world, in 140 characters.

Instagram:
Hi, my name is Katie and I am a photoholic. You may think I am exaggerating but I have 9,726 photos on my phone and 2 hard drives FULL of pictures because I have too many to store on my computer. So naturally I am obsessed with Instagram. I can take a photo of anything, do some tweaking and vuala! show the world how beautiful my breakfast is… Just kidding, I don’t actually “insta” my food (although half of the people I follow do). Now that I have moved to LA, I “insta” a lot of the fun things I do and see out here! Instagram is great for seeing what fun places your friends are visiting or what is happening behind-the-scenes of your favorite tv shows (I’m talking to you NCIS: LA).

But here is the kicker. Of all the good qualities these sites posses, I realized I was measuring too much self worth by them. I was comparing my life to the lives of my Facebook friends. I was putting too much pressure on myself to create the perfect witty tweet. And I would delete my Instagrams that didn’t get enough “likes”. The problem with these sites are that they generally only show the best parts of peoples lives, the beauty not the struggle. So when you yourself are struggling, it is the worst possible thing to compare yourself to.

So I decided to delete these apps off my phone. I did not delete my accounts because truthfully they are good ways to communicate with people. And when moving to a new city, it is a great way to network! But by deleting the apps off my phone it has completely transformed my day-to-day and my overall happiness. I used to begin each morning by scrolling through my feeds on each site. Which unknowingly led me to compare myself before I even put my feet on the floor in the morning. And by not having these apps on my phone it has caused me to barely log on the sites on my computer! In the 3 weeks I have been off the grid I have probably spent less than 1 hour total on all 3 sites combined. It is incredibly refreshing. I will say, it has not been easy. Every time I take a picture I fight the instant urge to edit it and show the world. I also feel like I don’t know what is going on in the world and in some of my friends lives. But it has forced me to get back to good ole fashioned face-to-face communication and reading the morning paper. Yes, the newspaper.

I ultimately found out this was one of the best decisions I could have made to improve my wellbeing and overall happiness. When I deleted these apps, my mornings began to start off in pure joy and I asked myself, why would I want to start my day any other way?

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