So, the topic of today’s blog post is social media. Although you can apply this to whatever social media platforms you’re on, I’m going to be talking about Instagram as it’s the platform I’ve been using the most lately.
I’m currently on an Instagram break which means no posting or active use on my personal account.
Why the break?
With my most recent account (I’ve deleted previous ones under the guise of being done with social media only to return again), previous thoughts I’ve had about the way I use this platform continue to crop up, e.g.:
I love Instagram, but why am I on it? Why do I spend so much time on it? Do I actually need it? Why do I obsess over the way my page looks? Why don’t I delete it again?
Basically, I don’t like how much time I spend on there (that new time update didn’t work for me because evidently I have no self-control) and I don’t like my motivations for posting sometimes. I believe that at times my motivations for posting are only fuelling the excessive need for attention and validation that I already have (and am working on). I think requiring these things is normal but there’s something to be said about seeking this in the wrong places, i.e. social media where it’s easy to conflate a “like” or a comment with something of substance or your self-worth.
I’ll post something knowing I’m happy with whatever that thing is but I feel like I place too much emphasis on likes etc whilst also knowing that, in the grand of schemes they don’t mean anything and yet I still feel anxious.
The same could be extended to blogging and obsessing over how many people have read my post or feeling disheartened when I don’t receive the reaction I anticipated.
We can discern the difference between affirmation and validation based on the source of the words we’re seeking.
How close are you to the sources you’re seeking? How much trust and history has been established with these people? For example, when I realize I’m looking for people I don’t know to let me know if I’m okay, something is off.
I also don’t like how anxious I feel sometimes when I use Instagram. And, in all honesty, sometimes it’s nice to not be plugged in to what everyone else is doing and not feel compelled to post.
“You could just delete it”.
Now, some may argue, “If it’s that deep, why don’t you just delete Instagram completely”? And I’ve asked myself that numerous times. I’ve also deleted my account numerous times like I said in the beginning.
But this is what I’ve realised. I think social media is a good thing. I like Instagram. I like the fact that you can access inspirational pages, meme pages, beautiful photos, fashion inspo, communities you’re interested in and more. I like the fact that you can connect with people you might not have been able to otherwise and the fact that you can share your work with others as well as content you believe will be beneficial to others. (All of this is not to say that social media can’t be problematic btw).
The other day, I was watching Youtuber Nathan Zed’s video on his four month hiatus from social media. Towards the end of the video, he talks about social media not being inherently negative and how it’s all about figuring out how to use it in a healthy way.
On a similar note, John Green, from vlogbrothers in a video detailing his experience with quitting social media says this:
The internet isn’t the problem. My internet is.
For my internet to change, I need to change.
My new perspective on social media:
Recently, I’ve been asking myself, “why take a break from Instagram if you’re going to come back and use it the way you used to?”
Once again, “For my internet to change, I need to change”.
I think the break will be good in the sense of detaching myself from something I believe is quite addictive and time-consuming. However, during this “time off” and even when I return, I need to be questioning the ways in which I go about seeking affirmation and validation because this is not an issue solely related to social media use.
Nevertheless, something has to change in the way that I engage with social media when I decide to start using it again. I don’t know what exactly that change will look like but I’m figuring it out.
One thing I like to remind myself of is that I’m not important as I think I am- not in a self-deprecating way but in a “stay humble and don’t attach too much weight to other people’s opinions of you” kind of way.
I love what this blogger, Daisha Olmeda says in her post entitled “Why You Should Stop Seeking Validation Through Social Media“:
In the grand scheme of things, unless you’re utilizing social media to promote your craft or business, your likes and follows have no real impact on your life, achievements, success, education or happiness. …Instagram is one very small fraction of your entire, amazing life.
Until next time.