Watch this video or keep reading for 5 tips to stay sane with Social Media (tip 3 is my favorite).
Six months ago I quit social media.
Facebook and Instagram seemed to chain me to my phone, people’s approval, and the constant need to know everything.
So I quit.
My goal was a year. Then the novel coronavirus swept through our world. My newly liberated life found itself in a new cage: isolation. At first I was grateful that Facebook wasn’t influencing my perspective on the crisis. But, as more of the world turned to social media to connect, I found myself extra lonely.
So, it’s only April and I’ve returned to the wonderful worlds of Facebook and Instagram. Still, 6 months taught me a lot!
There were days I felt so free. But most days, I just didn’t think about it. I didn’t feel pressure to post or to document every activity. I connected more in person than ever before. I lived life for life’s sake, not to impress anybody.
The Not So Good:
My need for people’s approval did not go away. I just wasn’t quantifiable without likes, comments and shares. But it was still there.
Also, I was still judgmental, opinionated, and compared myself with others. These are pieces of my old-self, my flesh, that will stick with me as long as I live on this planet. Avoiding social media didn’t kill my selfishness, it just concentrated it in other areas.
To be or not to be (on social media):
Here’s what the Bible says. In 1 Corinthians Paul exposes the people’s carefree attitude about their selfishness.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
I think this principle applies to social media. It would be legalism to say “No Social Media EVER!” However, social media is not always going to be healthy and good for us—body, heart, mind and spirit. And even though Instagram starts as a get-to thing, it can become a have-to thing, making us slaves.
Boundaries keep social media a healthy, good thing that serves us, not the other way around. For me, this looks like:
1. Media free Mondays:
I am avoiding all social media on Mondays (and maybe more days). I want to start my week in meditation on God’s word.
2. No News:
I will not read any news on social media. After 6 months of freedom from viral and fake news, I do not plan to go back. I am actively pressing the “unfollow” button on Facebook to keep my news feed free to connect with family and friends. I will search reputable news sources via a private web browser so the algorithms don’t think I’m an easy target.
3. Hired Help:
I have reimagined all my social media apps as my personal butlers. For years, I was serving social media with my time and attention. Now, I’m the one in charge.
Like a good employer, I won’t have all the apps serving me in the same way.
- Facebook is my family and community connection butler.
- Instagram serves up inspiring food for thought—like having brunch with my friends every day.
- Pinterest is my personal assistant, keeping my recipes, design ideas, and plant puns organized.
- Twitter is like the eye-roll employee, peppering me with a mixed bag of helpful and unhelpful tidbits.
- I haven’t hired Linked-in yet, though he’s sent in a 1,000 resumes.
- I might hire Tiktok soon to be the in-house joker.
Yes, sometimes my butlers share jobs. In general, though, I’m in charge when I open an app.
4. Sacred Sharing.
Instead of posting public pictures of my kids, I now have private albums to share with only my close circle (it’s less than 12 people, don’t be offended if you aren’t in it).
Before, I shared everything. Then I switched to a lot of “backs of heads” pictures to protect my kid’s privacy. Then I stopped sharing anything about our kids at all. It’s like they disappeared.
After 6 months off, I realized just how precious the “on this day” feature is Facebook. Thankfully, it works for private photos and albums, which gives us freedom to document our memories with our kids, especially now that we are doing foster care.
5. Evaluate Every Season.
Today, social media is benefiting my life. But I’ll probably need to split from social media again, for my health or just my joy. So I’m holding this whole thing loosely with open hands.
That’s all folks…
Thanks for being a part of the journey. It has been humbling and liberating. I have updated my social media break manifesto articles, both on the blog and on instagram, to include my new discoveries.
May we all establish firm footing in Christ…
healthy boundaries in our screen time…
and a hope-filled momentum to share HOPE with the world around us…
…including the world at our fingertips.