As some of you may know, I recently (and accidentally) got Facebook back after disabling my account for over a year. I deactivated my account last February after feeling like I was wasting too much of my time Facebook stalking people and caring too much about what I learned from my newsfeed. When seeing photos from a girl you went to middle school with’s birthday party makes you feel like a loser because it makes it seem like everyone else is out partying and you’re there, sitting at your desk on Facebook, it’s time to quit, because that is bullshit. So quit I did, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent memory. No longer did I debate whether or not to friend someone I’m not necessarily friends with in real life. No longer did I have to dodge Facebook messages from people I didn’t want to talk to. I had more time to actually enjoy experiences and time spent with others when I wasn’t thinking about whether or not I should take a photo so I could post it on Facebook later. Ugh. I never thought about how many people “liked” one of my posts; that abstracted form of social validation no longer applied to me. I feel like I’ve matured a lot since then, but still, it comes back every now and then.
Nothing much has changed about Facebook since I got it back, but I’m no longer as reliant on it for my digital entertainment as I used to be. Now, though, there’s a different beast: Twitter.
Yesterday I found myself feeling the same way about Twitter as I did about Facebook right before I quit. Here is the state of my life, and maybe you can relate:
Any time I’m bored during the day, I scroll through Twitter and Instagram. When I wake up in the morning, I check my texts, emails, Snapchats, Twitter, and Instagram, all before getting out of bed. It has gotten to the point where I go onto Twitter, see that there is nothing new on my feed, then tap the “Me” tab and read my own tweets. I realize I am familiar with them already (since I WROTE them), then check my Favorites, which I am also familiar with for obviously reasons. Of course there would be no new ones, because I haven’t favorited anything new. I don’t know if anyone else shares this social media behavior or if I have an addictive personality for these things, but I recognized this as completely unhealthy and a waste of my time. I get a lot of news from Twitter and follow a lot of funny and entertaining people, but checking it so much overwhelmed me. It’s gotten to a point where yesterday I found myself beginning to feel annoyed with people I hadn’t seen in weeks–months, even–just because I was so consistently aware of their presence from their tweets. And it wasn’t their problem, it was mine.
SO. I deleted my Twitter, Instagram, and Vine apps from my phone. Twitter and Instagram were in the bottom right corner of my first page of apps, and in their place are now MyFitnessPal (I really wanna lose three pounds!) and a blank space, respectively. I’m not going to go on Twitter until I feel like it’s no longer a perfunctory part of my daily routine that actually makes me miserable and, rather, a beneficial, fun tool. (If you’re reading this because you saw a link on my Twitter, I’ve set it up so that WordPress automatically publishes my posts to Twitter.) Instead, I’ll do things that will still assuage my boredom, but hopefully educate me more than Twitter will–or, at least, provide me with some sort of novel form of entertainment that isn’t under 140 characters long and written for others’ approval. And deleting these apps made room in my phone to download last week’s New Yorker and take more pictures. Winning all around!
For the first couple days at the monastery when I was getting my bearings, I would think of something “clever but devastating” and save it in my Drafts folder. Then I got over the need to send something out to impress ~150 people on the Internet because I was doing something better and more enriching in real life. So even though I’m hanging out at home and not with Greek Orthodox nuns in the mountains of Serres, I’m still going to try to stop wasting my time online and start being more present in what I’m actually doing and with whoever I’m with. And, at the very least, diversify how I waste my time.