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On Quitting Social Media
Well, kind of quitting…. And no, it’s not because of Elon Musky
I write this with great dread and FOMO (fear of missing out). I'm quitting social media—at least for 2023. I don’t mean in the sense of departing from the internet. I mean the time-consuming scrolling timelines, commenting, posting, reposting, and liking online content. I want to see the beauty in this world. I know it’s all around me—in conversations with strangers, the subtle shifts in weather, sports, music—I just miss out on it regularly, because if I’m not looking down at my phone, I’m thinking about what’s happening in this immaterial world.
And the crazier part of it all is that the vast majority of the human population really cares what I have to say, nor what I think. Even the people with whom I share a close relationship or acquaintance with don’t really care. I’m wasting my time.
But I confess that leaving is hard since social media has been a part of the fabric of my social communities for all my adolescent, young adult, and adult life (remember MySpace?). Just when I got my social media usage under control (taking breaks, limiting interactions), the COVID lockdowns took place. Social media was where the small extrovert in me could connect with the outside world.
For two years now, I've maintained regular social media usage. It started for a good reason, but now it's an addicting distraction that distorts the world in front of me. So it's no shocking statement to say social media can be a dreadfully toxic space, and I find myself in the midst of it more than I'd prefer lately.
I don’t mean to can on social media platforms, but I’ve found them to be dark cavernous voids filled with nothingness for my soul. I’m primed to care about everything, which ironically makes me indifferent about everything. After weeks of contemplation, the thought that continues to come to mind is that none of this is real. Social media isn’t real—it’s an abstract reality that manufactures tangible consequences. And for the record, I'm not quitting social media because of Elon. Nor am I leaving because it’s become a trend. It's just time, at least for 2023, to take a break—for me.
With that said social media has beautiful elements that are but a small window to the world that I am longing to experience again. So for heck's sake, here's what I am going to miss and what's delightful and significant about the social platforms I participate in:
Connections with long-lost friends whom I otherwise wouldn't have heard from—dare I say—ever again
A treasure trove of information about events
Organizational efforts to substantiate real change
Connections with like-minded affiliations (#RavensFlock, religious circles, political and historical data, writers)
Comedic relief in severe and sad moments (see: Black Twitter)
With all of this great stuff I love about social media, I think the theme song for this article (and decision) is Taylor Swift's "Anti-Hero." "…I'm the problem it's me." Everything terrific about social media is the things that I've allowed to grab hold of my heart:
Too long of an interest with what people I rarely—if ever—interact with in real life are doing
Obsessions with who is winning political wars and the latest breaking stories
Obsessions with the impossible task of learning everything about everything
Obsessions with having an inside track on what's happening at events I'm not attending
Feelings of obligation to virtue signal about things I have no real knowledge about or experience with—a poor substitution for loving and serving my neighbors
Obsessions with searching for validation that I am not the only person with a problem
Habits of being connected and having my feelings and thoughts validated by people in the global community
Obsessions with humor in events I should probably be mourning
So with all that, I'm not really leaving social media, only kind of leaving. I'm not diving off the deep end and going off the grid because I can't as a staff writer for Christ and Pop Culture Magazine and a freelance writer. Both require me to stay in touch with editors, and it is a way to expand publishers' readerships. My full-time job as a coach also requires me to post achievements, accolades, and information about my athletes (among whom confessed to me they don't care if we post about them online).
However, the casual scrolling, retweeting, posting, liking, hot takes, etc., are coming to an end for me—for now. However, if we’re old friends who’ve reconnected or become friends via social media, I really do hope that you stick around and keep in touch! There are ways we can do this off social media! Hit up the links below or my DMs for any of my contacts below so I know it was real. Even if not, it's been real.
Ways we can stay in touch:
VSCO (it's like Instagram, but only grams. I love photography, and here is a space I can publish my photos without the competition of "likes")
Email (old school, but a back-and-forth correspondence provides pause for a thoughtful response before firing off a quick and remorseful hot take. Hit me up if you want my email!)
Phone/text- (If you already have my phone number, don't hesitate to text me! Yes, text. I hate talking on the phone, so please text me first before you decide to call)
SUBSTACK (This is my favorite, and you’re already here! It's an excellent substitute for sharing personal happenings, thoughtful opinions, educational exchanges, and much more! There is a subscriber chat feature, which is also an easier way to keep in touch. All you need to do is subscribe to my newsletter here or join my chat! Please, please, please subscribe! At most all you’ll have to do is delete my emails if you don’t want to actually read them)