Social media, and just being 'social on the internet', has been a part of my life since I was in high school.
That's over 20 years. 20 years of using the internet to connect with other people. It started with getting my first email address and online chat rooms, then expanded into IRC, online text-based gaming and blogging. Now I've got accounts all over the place. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. YouTube. A bit of Pinterest and even Snapchat here and there.
I really love the connections I've made online over the years. Some very dear friendships have been made through those connections, and I even met my husband through social media (back before we called it that).
Social media has also been instrumental in building my business. There's no way I'd have the career that I do without it. I 100% admit that and am grateful for that.
But social media can also be a huge time suck. I find myself waking up most mornings and the first thing I do is check one social media platform or another to see if I have any responses. Are people into what I'm posting? How's my newsletter doing? Are people reading my blog?
And it's not just my own so-called 'influence' or 'reach' (and those are vanity metrics, really). I get lost reading a thread where people are pissed off about some issue or another and are bonding together over it. Or, I watch people tear each other apart over differences in opinion or ideology, or sometimes, just because it's the internet and they can. Those things are really hard to avoid on social media, because they're everywhere.
But ultimately, the real issue for me is the amount of time I'm wasting on social media. I use it to avoid working, to 'escape' from things I find challenging. I'll spend hours watching YouTube videos or surfing Facebook. I'll find myself getting really sad about how much people tear each other apart online, yet keep reading more and more of it because it's like watching a train wreck: hard to watch but you can't seem to stop.
There is a real addicting quality to social media, and I think I need to work on that addiction.
So it's time to take a little break. Take a step back and see how things change when I'm not thinking about how many followers I have, who is liking my posts, and the latest political argument on twitter.
It's summer, it's beautiful outside. I'll work more on my garden and get out for more runs. I'll go for a walk in High Park just because I can. And when I'm not doing work for my clients, I'll work on developing my podcast and doing some creative projects I just never seem to make the time for.
It might be exactly the recharge my creative batteries need.
I hope you have an awesome rest of your summer! I'll be back here and on other social media at the end of August. :-)
Addendum - Here's a recap of how it went and the lessons I learned.