I am exiting Social Media.
Let me explain why. I joined Facebook when I turned 15, and have slowly become more and more dependant on it and other social media outlets since then. Facebook, Instagram, and in a lesser way, Snapchat have caused too much damage in my mind and heart for me to justify continued use. Let me be clear: It is not that they are evil or bad creations! It is simply that I am not meant for these social arenas.
I am an artist. I am an intense person with intense convictions, feelings, hopes, dreams, desires, sadnesses, and fears. When I see beauty I am overcome with joy, and when I see ugliness I am overcome with sadness, anger, and sometimes that sadness and anger can begin to cross into the murky waters of depression and hatred. In the early Facebook days there was much more to enjoy on Facebook, and it was much more personal. These days most of my newsfeed isn’t even posts from my friends. Usually it’s posts from my friend’s of friends, and from ads, and from viral strings, which are usually filled with hateful internet interactions between people who don’t even know each other.
I have found that being addicted to scrolling social medias is not just a mindless thing for me. It’s very mindFUL. I see hateful social justice posts regarding racism, sexism, classism, religion, or politics, and it makes my head seethe with frustration at the world I live in. From the ignorance and folly, to the intentional hatred and violence, I find that the personality and heart that God built into me can’t handle such a constant diet of that well. Some people can! And I am grateful for their ability to present goodness in that world. But it’s not me. I’m not called to that. Over the last couple years I have found that I have less and less joy, and more and more worry and anger.
How did I get here to this choice? I did not want to make a rash decision to leave social media circles, just to re-enter them a week later, so I have spent months in prayer, asking God what I should do. I’ve been bringing my symptoms of depression, frustration, and cynycism to Him and asking Him to show me the true source. I felt sure it was social media, but I didn’t want to rule out other possibilities, which is why I took my time. I knew that just limiting my time wouldn’t work, because that’s not how to remove an addiction. That is what social media scrolling has become for me: an addiction. I knew that to get control back over my habits and my state of mind I had to go cold turkey and be done with it altogether.
After a particularly discouraging evening a couple weeks ago, I woke up early the next morning and couldn’t sleep. I felt the Spirit calling me to come be with Him, something I’d neglected for a bit. I got up and opened up my bible and the Psalm I was to read next was Psalm 37. As I read through it I found each next verse convicting me more deeply that I had to give up this addiction completely in order to restore the joy in life and the control over my daily habits. There were a couple things specifically that this Psalm addressed that I have struggled with the most intensely:
I find that whether I’m dealing with stupid drivers on the road, or observing hatred via social media viral strings, I get angry. I see ignorance, stupidity, folly, and evil and I feel worried, anxious, joyless, and sometimes even hatred. The very first verse in Psalm 37 says: “Fret not yourself because of evildoers.”
I find that the complicated busyness of life, feeling spread thin from being aware of hundreds of people’s lives via social media, and having just an apalling amount of useless information running around in my head makes me feel worn out emotionally all the time. The second verse in Psalm 37 says: “Trust in Yahweh, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
The more I read, the more I felt God leading me to make the final decision to eliminate social media from my life. After reading that Psalm I made that decision, and immediately felt such abounding peace in my heart. Peace like I haven’t felt in a long time. As I was driving David to work a bit later I told him my plan. The rest of the day was the most joy-filled day I’ve had in a very long time.
So here is my project: I’m deleting my presence from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat completely. Instead I am going to invest in more thoughtful and personal ways to record life and engage with people. The Pitman Corner. This is going to be my only widely accessible presence on the internet. I’ll use The Pitman Corner to document my family’s life, and to post anything I think would be constructive to share with you all! And second, I will create a private photo album with iCloud sharing to share with family and closest friends. Lastly, if there are any of my Facebook friends who want to stay in more direct personal contact with me, I will always be available with email and phone calls.
I’m excited about what life is going to look like from here on out! It has already become more joyful and peaceful, just knowing this is on the path I am on. I will have much more time for constructive activities, and life will be more simple.
So wish me luck! You are most welcome to follow this journey I’m on from afar by visiting The Pitman Corner, and keeping in touch personally! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like my phone number for phone calls or Facetime chats, just ask!
So, Goodbye social media. I won’t say goodbye to each of you, because I know this isn’t the end of our friendships. Tons of love to you all!