Opting out means more than unsubscribing to that annoying daily newsletter in your inbox. Some people might feel opting out of social media is opting out of life itself. I disagree- and I think knowing to when opt out actually allows you to “opt in” to something even better.
I’m not putting you down if you choose a life led by Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. But in clarifying my shift I hope to help those who might identify with me even just a little bit.
How many times have you said “I wish I could just delete my Facebook?” If you were me, countless. I threatened myself with deleting my account for the same reasons over and over:
- Too much stuff I don’t care about
- Distractions all day long
- Unhealthy relationship with knowledge I shouldn’t possess that finds it’s way into my hands (I should not know about my friend’s boyfriend's roommate’s sister’s latest outing).
And yet every time that notion came out of my mouth, I shivered a bit inside. “Nah, that’s impossible. People would forget I exist or even my birthday”.
Truth is, anyone who would forget about you or can’t remember your birthday without Facebook isn’t a friend at all.
I think the reason we all shiver a bit inside when faced with the thought of deleting our accounts is because we’re afraid of the possibilities. Also, most people get their “satisfaction” from stalking other people, knowing about other people, and thinking about other people. What would your life be like if it didn’t involve thoughts about a celebrity’s new home or your friend’s latest vacation? A bit emptier I would imagine. But also, full of things YOU care about instead of things other people tell you to care about. Social media turns you into a follower and your worth becomes how many people “follow” you.
For me, all of this clutter cluttered up my brain. It prevented me from being my most productive, creative and all around happy self. I know just as well as you that most of social media is fake. It never shows the sweat blood and tears leading up to or after a perfect party shot. No one advertises the friends they’re with are just friends when it’s convenient. No one advertises how many hours they worked to buy that new car. No one advertises how shallow their morals are to get free stuff and be promoted. Why would they? You feed into their perfect life, perfect product and perfect feed.
The psychology behind social media is so interesting. But this is about my decision, so let’s get back to that!
Bottom line: I became a zombie to my phone. I was never one to post a lot, but was giddy that I could follow my favorite brands, learn about sales and even check out my fave movie stars. It’s also impossible to go on Facebook and NOT see everyone’s posts. All of which I truly didn’t care about. The term “friend” is used a bit too loosely, and I can guarantee you 99% of your Facebook friends would not be welcoming to a 3am crisis call should you have a meltdown/car trouble/need a ride like a true friend would.
While some of the people I am friends with on Facebook are lovely human beings, the day to day goings on of their life just isn’t worth my time. Anything important I find out from them directly, which makes the "sharing" of an experience that much more intimate. Social media in theory is great but I think it’s used wrong. As of now, it’s self-promotion tool #1.
Everyone is in a race to the finish.
- Fabulous job? Check!
- Hot boyfriend/girlfriend? Check!
- Chic apartment in fabulous town? Check!
- Engagement ring? Check!
- Proposal to outdo all proposals? Check!
- Engagement shoot? Check!
- Wedding of the century? Check!
- Honeymoon broadcast to all of your 900 closest Facebook friends? Check!
- New house? Check!
- Baby on the way? Check!
- Baby shower? Check!
- Announcement of birth of baby? Check!
And what’s sad, is I have literally seen people write things like this. As if life is a checklist and you need to have everything as fast as you can.
Those who practice this kind of “Keeping up with Joneses” lifestyle are most likely insecure and feel the need to justify and prove their life to everyone and anyone. I’ve ran into people I haven’t seen in years and the first thing they do is shove their new engagement ring in my face. While I’m happy for them, their motive to do so came from a place that’s anything but genuine. Btw, getting married isn’t an accomplishment. But that's another conversation entirely.
Having a significant other doesn’t mean you’re in a happy relationship. Having a house doesn’t mean you’re better than Sally who just got a house last week.
I’m tired of the online rat race and have chosen to opt-out. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself.
And neither do you.
“But why can’t you practice social media in moderation?” This is a valid question however as many of you understand, it’s near impossible. Once you’re on Instagram, chill, take a seat, and drink some tea because you’ll be on there for another hour endlessly scrolling. My self-control when it comes to that is nonexistent, and therefore I do better when things are taken away completely. I have no choice but to do something else!
I’m looking forward to a life with less noise. I am confident I’ll live without knowing what Karlie Kloss ate for dinner the second it’s happening. Ultimately, if it’s that important then you will find out one way or another.
I feel like I’m gaining so many more hours in the day!
Obviously, not being on social media means that you’re not seen by the people who are. As helpful as social media is for potential customers to discover you, it’s not the end-all be-all. Plenty of people Google things or seek out listings elsewhere. For me, I have links to my site floating around the internet and lots of indexed content. Also, sign up for my newsletter (at the bottom of the page!) to keep updated with Too Chic for Meat. I rarely send one out but will try to be better at notifying you of new blog posts and deals etc..
Being that I have so much more time, I intend on blogging more. Both on here and Sticky Nikki.
Essena O’Neil, the Australian social media star who quit it all to shed light on the truth behind being a “business” and the negative impact of social media on her life, is quite the inspiration. If you read this Essena, I would love to help you build a website for your new book when you’re ready :)
Obviously much more high profile than myself, Essena left because it’s “not real”. And it’s not. It’s just really really fake.
So now I’m going to really enjoy my real life and wish you the same.