I went off of social media because it was overwhelming so many other experiences. Because I was losing time in it. Because it had become a really bad habit. Because it wasn’t making me happy. And because I didn’t like living in such a digitally-focused world.
Going off of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and dating apps for forty days helped me completely reframe how I spend my time. I learned more about myself than I ever had expected, as I’ve been journaling here. It felt so, so good to be off. I don’t really want to go back online. But staying off for an even longer period of time now would just be creating a new form of escapism.
When I started out on this cleanse, Ben asked me why I couldn’t just pull back from these platforms, or if I was worried about myself cheating. If I give myself a goal, I’m pretty good about sticking to it as long as it serves me well. And I needed a clean break because I can’t really change a bad habit unless I really cut it out.
And I did. I cut out the option to do the thing that wasn’t serving me well. I removed the habit. My desire for it isn’t the same.
But a lot of my work requires that I post, engage, check in, research, and curate through social media. It’s getting more and more inconvenient to not have those resources at my disposal. And I am missing sharing information that has significance to me, like a women’s group I’m a part of, or invitations to parties, or learning that a friend recently lost someone close to them.
And so rather than staying off for another fifty days because I don’t want to be a part of it in the capacity that I was before, I think I can return with a fresh perspective. I have the whole “no shopping thing” for ninety days to focus on, anyway. And more stuff coming. And a whole stack of books to get through. So I’m allowing myself to come back… with a few new fun rules, anyway, so that I don’t relapse into full, accidental, internet addiction again:
Jacqueline’s New Social Media Rules – NO BREAKING THEM (at least for the rest of the fifty days… I still like goals to hit…)
- No adding Twitter / Facebook back onto my phone. I did just fine scheduling posts and Tweets, and I really like not having too easy of a way to get online. My phone is a new kind of machine to me. I want to keep it that way.
- No checking these platforms online until my other morning routine is set. So not until I’ve done the dog walking / feeding, breakfast making, showering, vital email sending, grooming, getting my ass out of the door-ing.
- No going on out of boredom. Read your wall of books, Jacqueline.
- No going on without a purpose. Do your work, Jacqueline.
- No going on while walking the dog. Look up at the sky and talk to your neighbors, Jacqueline.
- No going on because I’m in bed and lonely and sick again. Engage with what you’re feeling and what’s in front of you, and reach out to a real person if you need someone, Jacqueline.
- If it’s someone’s birthday and I care about them, I have to call or text them. It meant so much more to me to get those texts and phone calls on my birthday, and I didn’t hold it against anyone who didn’t call or text. So I’m giving FB friends the benefit of the doubt that they won’t hate me if I don’t shove two words on their wall.
- If I’m really curious as to how someone is, I have to call them. No scrolling their feed.
- If I’m curious as to what an ex-boyfriend or lover is up to, I’m not allowed to look them up. I’m an adult, dammit. And it doesn’t make anything feel better. Face being single when it doesn’t feel good. Because most of the time, it does.
- No dating apps for the rest of the fifty days. Cause I don’t wanna.
If at any time I find that I am breaking these rules or slipping back into habits that do not serve me, I will give myself a new timeline or reset the parameters. Without fanfare.