I obviously spend a lot of time on social media. It’s kind of my job as a blogger – but that’s not to say that it can’t be soul destroying at times. The ever changing algorithms of Instagram, the rumour that Facebook will be abolishing pages and we now all need groups, the utter bewilderment caused by Pinterest planning – whilst it’s undoubtedly key to successful blogging, I can’t honest say it causes much happiness.

I am therefore slightly cautious to share this guest post with you. Whilst I adore Megan’s take on Social Media, and can honestly see the benefit of her actions. If you all follow her advice, I’d be worried that my readers would vanish overnight! But it’s right to share this, it’s right to provoke discussion and to get thinking. I’d love to know what you think…

Switching Off Social Media

by Megan Friend

“I left Facebook because I’m a weirdo and I think the internet is watching me”.  This is what my husband said I should write on the subject of my first ever blog post!  That’s the kind of supportive relationship we share.

I decided to deactivate my Facebook account just under a year ago and surprisingly, that was not my main reason.  I should say though that I began to feel a bit disillusioned with Facebook when they wouldn’t let me change to my married name because it did not sound real and they wanted evidence such as our marriage certificate to prove it.  This was at the time when editorial pieces began to be published on the fast growth of Facebook and its increasing influence within society.  I did not feel all that comfortable at the thought of sending in more personal information just so that I could change my name on a site I barely used for anything more than looking at other people’s photographs.  I realise now that they are trying to reduce the possibility of fake accounts but still, I just did not want to give them any more, particularly when I wasn’t sure if it was actually doing me any good.  I would waste hours on it and so I decided to re-evaluate my relationship with social media overall.

It is not just Facebook, I no longer have an Instagram account nor subscribe to Bloglovin’ (obviously, I love Edinburgh with kids popping into my email inbox but that’s it ;)).  I have always been a dreadful procrastinator and I am easily distracted and so I would say that is my main reason for cutting it out.  I was not a particularly active member of any of these social media platforms.  I am definitely more of a silent observer/creepy stalker.  I enjoyed them but not enough to account for the amount of time I spent endlessly scrolling through feeds.  I wasn’t sure that I would keep it up for as long as I have but I must admit that, almost a year on, I feel so much happier and I wouldn’t go back.

The main difference I’ve noticed is how much more space I have to think.  I feel calmer and my mind is less frazzled.  I use my phone a lot less.  I think I had become really attached to it and I admit I would check Facebook in front of my children.  I can’t imagine that urge now and it was a habit I am pleased to have broken.  I don’t know what I was hoping to read that couldn’t have waited until the kids were in bed. I know that when they are older, I’m going to struggle to get their attention when they finally have devices of their own and so I feel I need to set some kind of example early on. (I have no idea –  maybe they’ll have fixed the internet by then!) Now they only see me use my phone to make a call, send a text or take a photo.

There are some drawbacks.  It is not so easy to keep up with friends without having Facebook as an easy way of checking in.  I have missed loads of baby photos and wedding announcements.  At the same time, I think the platform has changed in recent years.  My friends don’t update their statuses as frequently.  Much of my wall was filled with shared articles and memes.  Strangely, I didn’t feel it was as sociable and I was just clicking on the app out of habit.  I still need to make more effort to keep up with my friends and hear their news offline.  It is always way more enjoyable.

Many commentators are writing on the negative effects of social media and people comparing themselves to others.  I think it is very easy to become caught up in this.  I love catching up with friends and hearing all their news – fantastic holidays, promotions, family successes.  In real life, it’s great to be able to share their joy.  In contrast online, such feelings can be tempered by a sense of personal inadequacy.

I’m trying to be more productive with my time and I’m not there yet by any means but I do read more books and there are still website and blogs which I enjoy visiting.  The Pool is fantastic and I love listening to podcasts.

I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on anything right now.  But who knows how Facebook will develop.  I don’t have my own business and I’m not promoting anything. I don’t need followers but if I ever did, I’m not sure I’d be able to progress without it.  I’ve deactivated my account but it is still there….

Thank you, Megan!

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