Breaking Free From Social Media

Breaking Free From Social Media

Every morning I get a notification from the app Timehop to tell me what I was doing on social media one, two, or maybe three years ago. Anyone else using the app might have posts dating back six or seven years ago, but I don’t. However, I’ve been using social media since I was thirteen.

 

Two years ago, I made a decision that I will be thanking myself for years to come. I made the decision to delete all of my social media accounts and start again.

I used to use social media to vent very negatively. I know that some of you will disagree with me but in my opinion, social media is not the place for that. It is healthy to get things off your chest and release pent up feelings and emotions from time to time, but Facebook and Twitter are not the places to offload this negative energy. It’s not useful, it’s not constructive and nobody wants to read it. I certainly cringe when I see these types of posts and have to remind myself daily not to do the same.

I also used to use social media to indirectly tell people things that I was not brave enough to say to their faces. In one particular instance, I got myself into a lot of trouble trying to deal with my feelings towards conflict with a close friend via Facebook, and I ended up hurting her as well as myself. If you are not brave enough to deal with conflict face to face, you should not be alluding to it via social media. But I really believe that you should never write anything that has the intention to hurt somebody on social media. It is not kind and it is embarrassing.

I remember being spoken of as one of those people and it hit me very hard when a friend once asked me to think of an indirect tweet they could share so that their ex-boyfriend would see it because I was the queen of indirect tweeting. That is not the person I want to be recognised as.

Thirdly, when I was crippled by my depression and PTSD a few years ago, social media was my outlet. In particular, I used Tumblr. None of my friends or family followed me there, so I was free to write whatever I wanted as a plea for others to sympathise with me. Apart from a few very beautiful instances, it was very unfulfilling. I dared myself to write horrific things and the more I wrote, the more I couldn’t stop but the more I became ashamed. I was certain that my friends, family and boyfriend would find what I had written there and looking back now, I hope they never do.

I’m hoping to speak about my experiences with depression later on in the year, but for now, I simply want to highlight how destructive it was to use social media to vent my negativity.

Back then, social media had a strong hold on my life. The way I used it made me feel worthless and dislike who I was; it was destructive and unhealthy.

I created The Happy Journal to encourage myself to think positively and more optimistically but it would be naive of me to ignore that negativity still exists. Just because I’m trying to live with a positive outlook doesn’t mean that I don’t experience emotions that make me feel pessimistic. Of course, I do; I’m human and I have imperfections. I’m just choosing to channel my energy into those emotions that really fulfil and satisfy me. There are other ways to release pent up emotions: I can do this with a friend over coffee or journal about it in a notebook.

So at the start of 2014, I deleted my Facebook account, my Twitter account and my Tumblr account. I no longer have to see what horrific things I wrote about my friends, my depression and myself. I have a clean slate and the opportunity to be more intentional about what I post and what I share with my small circle of influence.

This topic was on my heart today and I wanted to share it with you for a number of reasons:

  • to encourage you not to deal with conflict via social media
  • to urge you to careful what you say via social media
  • to remind you that social media can be a good thing, should you be intentional about what you share
  • to show you that I am also a flawed human being and I make mistakes too
  • that because I’ve taken the step to wipe the slate clean, #IAmStigmaFree

 

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  • For the looks of your blog you are sharing many encouraging words now. It’s great to see that you are doing better with social media. Social media can be such a burden to us even though it was intended for good.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this, Emma! You are SO right and I think a lot of people fail to see that and starting afresh is sometimes the best way to start again. I think the obsession we have with social media is getting to be a bit ridiculous, and it’s important to be able to take a step back and take a good hard look at things like you have. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • I love social media but I do think I use it too much, especially since I have to for blogging. I’m all for starting afresh!

  • Becky @Disney in your Day

    It sounds like you really learned a lot in the past couple of years – not only about social media and how you want to be using it, but about yourself too. That’s really awesome! And I love your goal for making your blog a place of optimism 🙂

  • Good for you, not an easy thing to do in this day and age. Glad you have made this step for yourself. Social Media is so much more powerful than we realize !

  • I see things in Timehop and It always surprises me how much my life has changed from different points in the past. We’re all flawed but what allows our character to shine is how we combat our issues and attempt to better ourselves. You made the right change for you and you created something meaningful and positive in the process.

    -M
    violetroots.com || Custom Artwork Giveaway – goo.gl/k8FPPs

  • Christy Fleener

    Great post! I was just thinking about this the other day. It’s interesting to see what I used to post on FB in comparison to nowadays. Lets just say I matured a lot since Highschool and early on in college. I definitely agree with you with not venting and posting negative things. I see a lot of that from friends and it can be very concerning and sometimes depressing when that fills up your newsfeed. Social Media is a great tool when used in a good optimistic way!

  • Sweet Discord

    Awesome post! My word of the year is positivity and I started my blog to help encourage myself and others to be more optimistic. I love finding other blogs like that, too. 🙂 Good luck with this!

  • I think this is a really powerful thing to do, as you do need to surround yourself with the things which help, and bad reminders definitely aren’t the case. I don’t use timehop and rarely use my facebook, only keep it to talk to people who are on the other side of the world. Social media is definitely something which can be so positive or negative so really interesting to hear this!

    Jasmin Charlotte

    • I definitely don’t use social media as much as I used it. If it were not for blogging, then I wouldn’t at all!

  • I’ve never used Timehop. But I have been on social media for 10 years now. It’s interesting how I did the exact same thing you use to do, during those first few years of blogging. Mine caused a lot of family fights but it also allowed for things to be heard and changed and got me to be brave enough that now, if I write it I would totally say it to your face. I tend to just be a nicer human being now.

  • Excellent move. I absolutely agree that social media is not the place to vent your negativity. Here’s to sharing positivity.

  • That was such a smart move! So glad you were able to start fresh and start thinking for positively!

    Keep smiling!
    Molly | http://www.stylemissmolly.com

  • Taylor Smith

    Way to go!! I always think about this. Great post.

  • Good for you for being strong enough to stop the negativity. I think even more lately, I notice that people try so hard to show such ‘positive’ things in their lives, they never want to share the struggles and then it gives many a false reality of how life truly is. Not many share on social media their money problems, fertility issues, family feuds, etc.. but we all have experienced it and/or know someone who has. We have to just learn to take social media as it is – social… and media. Like TV and movies. It’s not always a documentary. 😉

    • Good on you for saying that, Steff! I’m all about being authentic and intentionally positive, meaning that I am acknowledging the good and the bad and trying to be positive about it!

  • That’s a really great idea! I roll my eyes and/or laugh at some of the things I posted going back over the years on social media. Any negativity I’d try to roll into cryptic song lyric status’ lol.

  • Lindsay Katherine

    Oh amen to all of this! I recently had an article go viral and dealt with a lot of very rude, nasty comments, including someone calling me a butterface and selfish. I never give into bullying, face-to-face or online, and always think you can stand up for yourself kindly. Well done with this post!

    • Oh wow, which post was it Lindsay? I might have read it! Bullying online is cowardly; we have to let it wash over us and remember that we have a purpose to be real and authentic on the internet! Thank you.

      • Lindsay Katherine

        It was about keeping my name after marriage. I agree about online bullying being especially cowardly : )

  • Kate Walton

    I’m with you. I never air my laundry on social media! Not my thing.

  • I totally agree, social media is not the place to try and work out conflicts with another person, it hurts both parties.