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Millennial delete that facebook
Have you ever thought about quitting social media? You’re not the only one.
Did I say it? Yes, I did. You should quit social media. Before you x out of the post, hear me out millennial. This one’s for you.
Let’s start out defining our terms. Social media platforms I will be discussing: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. I am not including Pinterest as it is not ‘social’, but more of a search engine like Google. I also will be excluding YouTube, as it is sharing different types of information all across the globe.
I’m not talking about places where you could post a random comment and not care if you get a response. I am talking about platforms, that indeed can lead to this “social” interaction of two “humans” behind screens. Facebook groups, Instagram pages, twitter, etc. If you’re someone to get attached to YouTube in this way, then I suppose count it in there for you as well.
I was never hip enough to get on Tumblr or LinkedIn so will not be diving into those platforms. From what I gather, Tumblr is like Facebook meets Pinterest, and LinkedIn is a network of businesses/individuals promoting their businesses.
www: world Wide Web
Shall we begin. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the rapid changes that are occurring in our society due to technological advancement. The biggest advance, the world wide web, and all that it has opened up. To take it a step further, we now have the iPhone, feeding the brain images and sensory overload with the screen forever calling us to take a look.
I’m a part of the millennial generation. I grew up knowing my “friends”, yes I am referring to Phoebe, Rachel, and Monica off of the tv show, just as much as my classmate. We were really the first generation from birth, that the screen was totally embraced. What do you mean family time without a movie and a bowl of popcorn? I thought I was weird because I didn’t have a tv in my bedroom like everyone else I knew. Although now, I am so grateful for that.
I remember MySpace when it was cool. I drove to an apple orchard while it was in bloom to get the perfect shot taking selfies for ‘MySpace’ on the web. The #selfie wasn’t even a ‘thing’ yet. Yet, there I was in this millennial generation paving the way with those headshots we all know about.
On the contrary, I was, however, one of the last to join onto Facebook. There was a couple of year period where I was working ALL the time, so getting to a computer wasn’t possible. And this was pre-smartphone time. So, a computer was necessary for Facebook back then.
I didn’t get the Facebook thing, until I met someone from another country, and she convinced me it was the coolest and best way for us to remain in contact. So I signed up and my mind was blown. This was when Fb groups weren’t even a thing yet, but there were pages. I was “friends” with people I “thought” I connected with all over the world, because of my ideologies at the moment..
facebook I’ll tell you my thoughts
Then I moved halfway across the globe, and the platform allowed me to post pictures of my life and still ‘chat’ with my friends back ‘home’. Then the groups came out. I was part of a private group and this was a catalyst in my disdain for Fb. Yes, I literally have a disdain for Fb.
I was ‘connecting’ with all these individuals in the Fb group. I even flew to meet them at a ‘training’, and my mind was blown again. It was so confusing. I put myself online very transparent. I didn’t even think that others would not do that. The woman who started this ‘group’ was practically the opposite in person as she was online. Granted she lived in LA, so Hollywood culture I suppose. A few months after that encounter, I decided I would take a break from Fb for a while.
You know what happened? I went through withdrawals. Don’t laugh. It’s a literal brain chemistry thing. I had been addicted to other substances in my past, and it was nothing comparative, but enough to notice that the psyche is being affected and at what cost? So did I do the intelligent thing and just stay away? Of course not, hello Instagram. This new platform, what was the # all about.
Raising my own children, it hit me one day at the park-like a ton of bricks. They are the first iPhone generation. I will forever remember this moment. They are the first generation with their own pages, or at least photos online from in the belly today 1 birth pics. It will be interesting what happens as time continues and they mature into adulthood. Most 2-year-olds know how to pose for selfies and use a phone to take pictures.
The iPhone generation
Back to this moment at the park; if you’re a parent, I bet it’s happened to you too. “Mama look. Mom, watch. Mama! MOM! Mama, stop looking at your phone and look at me.” That simple phrase, yet so complex when you unpack it.
Never before has a generation existed that the phrase, “Put your phone down, and look, ” was a thing. I mean at least when we were kids, we would turn the tv off to get our parents’ attention, or just go dance in front of it until they told us to move.
But now, the screen is everywhere you want it to be. It’s only a matter of time until virtual reality is the reality. Praise God we can make the choice what reality to participate in.
At that point in my life, I was not in the best mental or emotional state. I was having issues, like many, not willing to admit to myself or to others. I was caught up in the #documentmotherhood and #blessed. Yes, the famous hashtag. I remember the day I thought nothing was cooler than the #. Like any millennial hip to the #, I loved it! #loveit #instadaily #luckywelivehi, etc. I would put my life into these little boxes, and so desperately want to connect to others. I had faith that the # would connect us. Someway somehow. Yes, small exaggeration, but you get the idea. Since my Fb was on break, I dove headfirst into the Instagram.
Are we socializing or communicating with bots?
And then, I realized I was communicating with bots. #saywhat. Yes, automated bots liking my posts, following me, and commenting on my posts. It took a while to understand this, and if this is a new concept to you; there are automation social media ‘services’. They are essentially programs that follow/like/comment on posts. I understand many social influencers where social media has become their business use these services, just as businesses would place ads in a magazine for marketing.
However, what about the real human with integrity. These influencers, I’m sure say there’s nothing wrong with my business. I get paid through online marketing and strategy. That’s fine. But let’s think about the human emotional psyche for a minute.
For example, said social influencer uses these “bot services” with a generic, ‘love it, keep posting this!’ The only problem is maybe the 1 out of 1000 decided to be ‘real’ on their Instagram and post that they were going through a hard life scenario.
They have no clue said influencer has an automation service and now they are wondering why someone with 20k followers is liking their bad situation. It warps the mind, and wreaks havoc on the heart. It is changing the way humanity interacts with each other, and it is not ok.
With the main form of communication coming through that of boxes. We’ve even started to text through our phones. Sure is it convenient? Of course, but when it’s so easy to hide behind the screen, where is the transparency? Where is the truth really?
You text your friend, “how are you?” Little do you know, she says, “great!” But, just what if she’s not. At least a phone conversation, it’s much harder to pretend through tone. But with a screen it almost becomes the new common courtesy to text with ‘manners’. It is as though, some millennials are running from truly being transparent to themselves and to each other.
Let’s dive into the brain for a moment. They are starting to do major research at the correlation between serotonin levels being released into the brain while looking at a screen. There’s a reason why hospitals and nursing homes have TVs in every room running 24/7.
Research has found huge spikes in serotonin levels, when one looks at their social media accounts and sees likes/follows/retweets/messages. Just like a drug that spikes the brain in an unnatural way, so have these social media platforms. So with spikes, there’s to be downs as well. Which is why anyone suffering with mental health issues should quit social media.
Social media damages mental health
Like I said previously when I was engulfed in social media, I was having issues with anxiety and depression. My brain was not functioning properly. Correlation, perhaps. I had a neighbor who decided to quit social media. Her response in her final post, ‘I’ll be living in the real world, feel free to join me.’ That seed planted, through time, took root and blossomed.
I quit social media. Canceled all my accounts.
I went through withdrawals of the continual scrolling, but in hardly anytime at all, I was so much happier. As much as I didn’t want to admit to it, there was a continual subconscious comparison of my boxes to the other boxes. And at the end of it, were those boxes actually legit? Or, were they shot to a photoshoot and edited to their ‘following’.
Were they actually real, or was it only real to the same sense that a movie is filmed purely for the intent of entertainment?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am talking in extremes but to really get a point across so that as millennials, we can take a hard look at this reality. It is rapidly changing around us, and is it truly for the better?
So what happened after I completely quit social media? I found Pinterest. Let’s be real y’all, I had to get my fix of scrolling somehow. But at least there were major benefits coming through. There’s only so much time one can be on Pinterest, whereas Fb and the instaworld can suck you in like a boa constrictor wraps around without the person even noticing.
I took up learning how to bake sourdough. I was able to find valuable information that helped me with homeschooling my children.
Isn’t this why we have the internet? For sharing of information that is of use to us, instead of tearing us down psychologically and emotionally?
are they really friends, or just followers?
I thought it very interesting when you look at the definition of a friend. A friend is defined as a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. The definition includes other forms, and in our ever-changing reality, now actually includes the following:
A friend is a contact associated with a social networking website. Interesting. Period.
You may ask, what about all your ‘friends’ and ‘followers’. Good question? I truly don’t know, because, they weren’t actually my friends according to the first definition. We weren’t actually doing life together the way God designed friendships to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that there are people out there who have truly connected with other people in a healthy positive way which has led to a real genuine relationship. But if being honest, it’s fewer and farther between than we all hope for.
Besides food, clothing, and shelter, all humans desire love and connection from other humans. I would like to tell you how once I quit social media, my real-life friendships have bloomed and I have gained even more friends. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It has caused much contemplation.
What I have come up with, is that the interactions have so utterly changed due to these platforms, that if one is filling themselves “socially” with Facebook groups, Instagram story comments, and the occasional text from the circle of friends you keep in contact with that way, there isn’t even a recognition for the social desire is being ‘fulfilled’. But is it really?
I remember a day when friends really had each other’s backs. A time, when people actually noticed and cared about individuals and whether they smiled. I remember a time when friends would truly do life together through the good and the bad. This new reality is that it is changing the perception of individuals in our country.
life gets messy
This life has lots of hiccups. Life gets messy. It isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. It has always been like that. And with the ever-evolving new technological reality, it seems as though people tend to not want to work through the mess anymore. It becomes, “I’ll just unfollow them, or stop texting them.” And then time continues. And there’s all of these undone fragments of connections and friendships. I praise God He is my rock, redeemer, and best friend, or else I would be quite lonely.
So I promised you 3 reasons why you should quit social media:
- Improved Mental Health and Clarity
- More Fulfillment in One’s Own Existence and Life
- Extra time for real-life relationships, hobbies, and the like
So you may say, I have healthy screen time limits, and I only use these platforms in a productive way. They have only ever aided my life instead of taken away. Wonderful! I do believe that somehow, someway, certain people are able to actually connect in healthy ways through these platforms.
I personally have not actually met someone with these limits, and I can tell you, that as one of the few without a “page”; when I go to the park, I’m normally the only mom not scrolling my phone, not always, but most of the time. When my family goes to a restaurant, we’re typically the only ones in our age group without looking at the screen. I’m just throwing it out as thoughts, knowing that there are others out there like me who have seen the change and have jumped out of the boat or never got in it all together.
You may also say, well you have a blog. What’s the difference? Some may say none, but I can assure you that brand building is not where my business plan lies. Transparency, truth, honor, and integrity is my foundation in Christ and Him alone. It is for purpose.
I believe if someone truly wants to connect, or get to know me, they will send an email. We will actually correspond, instead of just categorizing into little boxes of judgments, without even recognizing the judgment has been made.
Because, although I love a clean house, my sink still fills with dishes, the bed gets the clean laundry dumped on it, and the grass grows yet again needing to be cut.
And really, the beauty of my youth will fade all too quickly, so why capture it with nothing more than a memory or a photo in a frame on a wall, then looking back at my “reality” of staged photo shoots and picture-perfect moments.
Because really when you disconnect, you start to see the beauty in it all.
Fulfillment in God’s creation
God’s creation is beautiful, and the flower that blooms will yet decompose back into the earth. The house that is clean will yet become unclean, and an appreciation for the diligence required to upkeep develops. Watching my boys get bigger not through boxes but right before my very eyes.
The simple treasures of everyday living, recognizing that each moment is a moment further in time than in the past.
This life is but a vapor. So savor it, and use it to the fullest potential that God gives you.