A month ago I said I wasn’t leaving the social media world. 11 days ago I left the social media world. It was hard and unpleasant. It doesn’t matter why I left. I want to tell you what it’s like since I left. First though, in the spirit of transparency, I do still have Pinterest and MeWe. I am trying Gab but it’s just as much of an echo chamber as Twitter and I’m not a fan.
The first days after I left the socials I realized how bad I really was about them. Immediately the amount of time I spent on my phone was cut in half. I have been keeping track because I have felt it was a problem for a while. The time my problem was most obvious to me was when I would be sitting at my computer and a page would take a little too long to load. I would reach for my phone to fire up Instagram, remember it wasn’t there, then sit in confusion for a minute as to what I was supposed to do until my page loaded. (I have a slow computer. I promise, I’m not that impatient.) About the 4th or 5th time I realized that if my Instagram were still working I would have been sucked in for easy 10 or 15 minutes while waiting on something that took less than a minute. It is embarrassing and frustrating to me that a) I was losing so much time of my day to this app and b) it was my own impatience leading me to lose that time.
The time that I now spend on socials is different. It feels like the early days of Facebook when there was still an end to your timeline and no matter how many times you refreshed the page there would be nothing new to see. You would be forced to leave the computer. MeWe is like that, a chronological timeline that doesn’t rearrange itself to keep you scrolling. I have never spent an excessive amount of time on Pinterest so once I am done with those apps… I am done. It is strange.
I left on a Saturday and by the following Saturday I had nearly adjusted to being without. When my 3 year old got up in the morning asking to watch a movie (a special Saturday morning treat) I sat on the couch reading while she watched Sleeping Beauty. The one thing I always say I want to do more of and never had time for is reading. Suddenly the difference between “to have time” and “to make time” is glaring.
And it’s not just the socials I have cut out. One of my resolutions for this year was to watch less TV. As a family we were already cutting back on screen time before I cut the socials. We even had 2 whole days in the middle of the week last week when we didn’t watch an ounce of TV. My kid didn’t even ask for it. It was amazing. She actually plays with her toys. She colors and draws more often. She has a fantastic imagination. Our life with less media is as vast as I imagined it would be.
Finally, before you think me a budding Amish-type who’ll be throwing out my television all together, you need to know that I love movies. Love them. Musicals, animations, old classics. We have Hulu so we can watch TCM (and Motocross if you ask my husband). I love the classic Disney princesses, the Renaissance princesses, and some of the modern girls like Moana and Merida. I love the work from studios like Laika. On Christmas day, after gifts, the first thing we do is turn on A Christmas Story and have it playing in the background for the remainder of the day. I have a stack of movies that I can’t wait for my girls to be old enough to watch with me. I do not see myself removing movies from our life. The difference between movies and TV shows is that a movie is a few hours tops, where as TV shows feels endless.
Media will always be a part of my life and I am not trying to remove it. But I must find a way to restrain it.