Do you have any marsh where you live? It can be hauntingly beautiful. Sometimes it takes opening our eyes and minds to really find some clarity. I took a social media hiatus several weeks ago and I came back feeling renewed yet unsure of how to move forward with my own digital usage. As a professor who teaches social media and a blogger who relies on this to teach and communicate, I am in a semi-challenging position.
I have done digital detoxes on and off for a few years; but this time things feel different. Coming back, trying to figure out my place, my niche, my truth has been paralyzing in a sense. I consistently cull the media I follow and try to be ultra selective, but I feel overwhelmed by choices and information. So many accounts to explore, ideas to read, and media choices.
As a sensitive person, this can be too stimulating and overwhelming over time. Through researching this very topic in peer-reviewed scholarly journals over the years, I am convinced that overuse (and the majority are overusing it) of any digital technology can be detrimental to our health — ranging from downright addiction to depression and even altering brain chemistry and attention span.
Of course, I realize the utility of all of this and that to share this very message, I am using social media to do so. The irony. But this is important to me, because I know I am not alone here. I know there are people skimming feeds, watching videos, reading blogs, and the like, and you might be wondering how you can simplify all of it, how you can escape the labyrinth. What is real and of value, versus what is a waste of time?
We are all selling something — sometimes physical products, sometimes vanity, or the perception of perfection, sometimes narcissism, or sometimes simply knowledge or education. It’s not a matter of good or bad. It’s not a matter of black and white or this or that. It is a complex spectrum with many layers.
As for me, I am not sure what I want to write about or make videos about any more. I enjoy helping people with their health by way of healthier food choices and reducing unnecessary stress in their lives, but more often than not, I feel silly taking staged food photos in the perfect lighting. I enjoy just documenting my own journey at this point. I enjoy writing about minimalism and simplicity too, but to me, it is so much more than decluttering stuff and what is in my wardrobe. It has always been so much more than that to me.
I will figure it all out. But for now, what I will say is, I imagine a world where more friends and family call one another just to say hello; where leaving the phone behind during a vacation is normal; where giving people the play-by-play is taboo; and where not posting on social media “consistently” doesn’t mean that your website or small business will unravel. I imagine a world with more living, less photo taking, and more happiness and peace.
I am still navigating my way through the vortex. I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you feel consumed by it all and not sure of how you want to spend your online time, you are not alone. You can say “no” and “enough.” Because perhaps, just perhaps, we are the zombie apocalypse.