You might wonder why you can’t find me on social media. It's because I left social media for good last week. I had left Facebook a long time ago and I never could understand Twitter so really I just left Instagram. I didn’t like the constant comparison to others and obsessing over how many likes my posts got or how many followers I had. At times it made me feel not good enough, not important. Then there was the needing instant gratification. Posting and then waiting for the engagement. The gratification of seeing your likes and comments come through, watching your phone for those notifications, disappointed when you don’t get any. It’s a never-ending cycle. I don’t need social media to feel important, and I can find other ways to promote my books. I felt like I had to become someone else in order for others to follow me or be interested in what my page was about. (Don’t even get me started on the Facebook/Instagram algorithm where only a certain amount of your followers saw your feed.)
In order to keep followers, you are expected to post every day, making sure you use 20-30 hashtags, which don’t work anyway. In order for hashtags to work your post needs to have a high number of likes. I decided that my time could be spent somewhere else, on something else. Like my marriage, my friends, family, spending time writing.
I found myself scrolling for hours trying to find… what I don’t know, but I do know it was a waste of my talent and a total waste of my time.
I keep thinking about my childhood and even my young adult life, and I wonder why I was so much happier and content with life. We didn’t have social media when I was a child. Social media was introduced to me when I was an adult. My first experience was with MySpace, and I actually didn’t mind it, in fact, MySpace is where I met my husband! I only had a handful of friends and my favorite part was deciding on which song I wanted for my page. I liked the setup; it was easy to use and you didn’t obsess about followers or likes.
I miss the 90’s. Like REALLY miss it. We didn’t have cellphones, well my mom did but it was big and chunky and she was the only one who used it and it was only used for emergencies. For me it was calling your friends on the landline, hoping that they were home. We couldn’t text our friends, we never knew what they were doing, we minded our own business and we were perfectly fine with it. I was always outside, playing with my friends, riding bikes, building forts, climbing trees, falling in rivers, playing basketball or soccer with my siblings… we were constantly on the go. As I got older I spent some time watching television but it was usually at the end of the day after dinner with the family. We watched whatever show our mom was watching, until high school when we each got our own television, and thanks to my brother splicing the cable we could each watch what we wanted.
I remember when we first got the internet. Dial tone, remember that? You had to wait forever for that thing to dial-up and if someone called you, you’d get kicked off. I spent time in chat rooms, I got in trouble a few times but then AIM messenger came and it was awesome. I loved AIM messenger. I still remember my screen name: Liseah73. I remember I wanted my name spelled that way, the 73 was because my crush’s screen name ended in 73. I loved changing my profile. It mostly had my favorite song lyrics and if I was dating someone you’d put their initials at the very end of your profile with a heart or kissy face emoji, or your anniversary date. When you didn’t want to talk to someone you could put an away message up, saying something dramatic and you’d watch the messages come in on your que- “R U OK?”… oh the AIM language. BRB, LOL…
I didn’t get my first cellphone until I was seventeen when I got my first car. A cheap flip phone. If you wanted to text someone it took a while to figure out how many times you had to hit each number button to get to the letter you wanted.
Bottom line, if I need or want to talk or see someone I will call them and arrange to hang out. If I want to know what’s going on in their lives then I’ll ask. The same goes for them. If they want to talk to me or see me then they can call me. I feel like we get too involved in each other’s lives and we lose focus on what matters most. We see everything they are doing and some people go as far as criticizing others for the way they live their lives or the way they raise their kids, or how they do certain things. Everyone has an opinion and they need to have it heard. So this year I am going to ditch social media and do things the old way. My husband and I were talking the other night and joking that we should just go back to flip phones, but the more we talked about it the more appealing the idea became. Maybe when our brand new Apple phones are paid off we’ll trade them in for something less sophisticated.