The below is simply an explanation of my own issues with social media in general. It in no way is passing judgement on anyone in particular – it is just describing what makes me very uncomfortable about the direction of social media and certain SM outlets.
B and I seem to be rather in tune with each other when it comes to detoxing our lives. We talk quite often about the “noise” in our lives that interferes with our happiness. We talk about toxins that go into our bodies and how to best avoid them. We talk about the good things we’ll do to help detox our lives of all sorts of poisons and interference.
Moving into the Paleo lifestyle again was one of our joint efforts in detoxing our lives. When we do these things together, we are more successful. B tried going Paleo in January and I wasn’t there yet (I was still loving McDonald’s too much – truly) and it just didn’t work for him. When I came to him a few weeks ago and said, “it’s time for me to do Paleo again,” he was beyond thrilled. He asked me how serious I was, and I said, “very.” That’s all he needed to hear. Since that discussion, I’ve only spent 3 days off track and am doing better than he is (it’s not a competition, but I know I’m doing well when I’m sticking to something better than he is because he is darned good at sticking to things). The Paleo lifestyle has become so easy for me that I’m not logging my food intake anymore. I just know what to do – and how to get to my target of 1850 calories a day. It’s easy.
I stick to it. And I feel good. I feel clean.
Feeling this good in body makes me want to feel that good in spirit as well. This brings me back to my opening paragraph. B and I talk about toxins in our daily lives quite a bit and we know what types of things are poisons to me. It is very obvious to him and myself when negative energy is around me. I’m just… different. He hasn’t said anything at all lately about any negative energy, but I can feel it, which means that he can feel it. If he can feel it, can Matthew feel it too? One has to wonder.
One of the things that B and I have established as a major toxin in my life is gossip. This is why I can’t talk to my mother very often. Honestly. All she wants to do when I call (or visit) is talk negatively about other people, and she just goes from one topic to the next with very few positive things to say. It drives me crazy and makes me feel dirty. I am like any woman who enjoys a good chat – and yes, a good gossip session – but I don’t enjoy it all the time. I don’t like hearing about the ghastly things people I hardly know have done or said. I don’t like hearing about how un-cute my mom thinks someone’s child is. I don’t like being reminded of how negative my mother is. I don’t like thinking, “if she talks like this about so-and-so, what is she saying about me when she talks to others?” In all fairness, I don’t think my mom likes talking to me much either, because I usually chime in and say, “I don’t agree – I don’t think she meant it that way,” for example when she’s going off on something someone said to someone she knows that she didn’t hear first hand. 😉
So I just don’t talk to her much. And I feel good. I feel clean.
Another thing that we have noticed to be a serious toxin in my life is, what I feel, the “arrogant” behavior of others. I will read something online and tell B all about it when he comes home, and I’ll explain why what I read upset me so much. Faceb.ook is one of these things that can trigger lots of irritation in me. I hate FB – I always have. I think, for the most part, FB is used by people to make their lives seem much more awesome than they really are. There is nothing more irritating (to me) than someone posting some cutesy little anecdote in an attempt to gain attention. Or how about the vague posts that are meant to pique the readers’ interest in hopes that they’ll ask leading questions, again in an attempt to gain attention? Or, one of my favorites, the posts that toot the person’s own horn for something so incredibly irritating, that I can’t move past it soon enough? I often joke that FB was created for people who want their lives to appear shiny and fresh – and admirable – to all of their 5,000 “friends.”
I am on FB, but I’ve taken a hiatus or two because it just got to be too much. I’ve noticed that it’s not near as bad as it used to be, but there are still those posts that make me want to run far, far away for a very long time. I post photos to FB for my family and friends – and that’s about it. It’s the only way my family gets to see Matthew growing up. Beyond that, unless there’s some public awareness item I rarely post (like Keiko’s post the other day on Personhood), status updates don’t come from me much. I like it that way. I enjoy seeing everyone’s photos very much on FB – I really do – but status updates about what you made for dinner, or how awesome you are at your job (yes – I have seen these from “friends”), or how talented your kid is because he stood on one leg today – I don’t enjoy seeing that.
So I take FB in stride and only read updates when I’m in the mood. And I feel good. I feel clean.
I have noticed that Twitter has become a toxin in my life. Where FB is where people go to glorify their lives, I am noticing that Twitter is where they seem to go to vent all sorts of frustrations, big and quite small. I am not the type of person who likes knowing and reading those things. I don’t like reading complaints about marriages, or siblings, or parents, or friends. I don’t care what people put on Twitter, but I don’t want to “consume” it. I stayed away from Twitter for years because I just didn’t “get it” (and maybe I still don’t!). When I started blogging, I assumed that ‘Twitter was where it’s at’ and I wondered if I should give it a try. B encouraged me to try it out, saying it could be fun.
So I tried it.
And I’m over it.
Just like FB, Twitter is affording me a view of people that I don’t necessarily want to see. And I feel nosey reading it. There are so many posts that I don’t think should be out there – there are things being shared very publicly that people wouldn’t even share with me if we ran into each other at Starbu.cks. Posts about family being assholes (and believe me, my family is capable of being assholes, as am I!). Posts about fights that are currently happening with a spouse (and believe me, B and I can fight like cats and dogs too). Posts about other people’s TTC efforts not belonging to the author of the tweet (what, what, what? But wait – I actually did this once). I just think that some things should still be sacred and if those things are shared (which is perfectly OK), they should be shared with a limited audience – and maybe best in person or via phone.
What I’m seeing on Twitter sometimes is making me view people differently than I’d like to view them. I do think this is very much my own issue – how I want to view people doesn’t translate to how people should (or do) want to be viewed. I just like having positive images of people in my mind. If I’m going to hear about their fights with their spouse, family, friends, etc., I’d rather hear it in person or via phone than read it on twitter. If it’s something that the person wouldn’t share with me personally, then I feel dirty reading it on social media outlets of any kind.
So I deactivated my Twitter account. And I feel good. I feel clean.
I feel like my little detox effort is going to pay off in spades. My body feels good. My mind will feel good. I spent way too much time reading Twitter updates. I could have been spending that time with Matthew doing something fun and constructive for him. When I think of all the time I’ve wasted in the mornings, especially, reading Twitter while he’s played by himself, it breaks my heart. And let’s face it – I was one of the LEAST active Tweeps out there – so I can’t imagine the real time suck it would have been if I had really been into Twitter. It became a bit of an addiction and for what reason, I’ll never know. Maybe I didn’t want to miss out on anything. Maybe I was sickeningly drawn to other people’s drama. Maybe I wanted to have an instant connection to others whenever I felt the need. I don’t really know. What I do know is that it’s not good for me at all. It was time to step away.
I gave it a try. I didn’t like it. And I learned that Twitter, most certainly, is not where it’s at for me!
February 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm
Brava! Basically abandoned twitter months ago (though I wasn’t brave enough to delete my account–that is awesome that you did.) and I almost never go on Facebook–only to participate in a few groups that I enjoy but NEVER to peruse my newsfeed. Both those sites are (for me) negative things and I don’t mention either. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t like them–sometimes I feel freakish for abandoning them when everyone else loves them so!
At the same time, I think there is way more interaction on both those platforms than on blogs. Especially lately, it has felt like the blogosphere is an empty building and I’m yelling into empty rooms looking for another live soul. I’m sure Facebook and Twitter don’t feel that way and I wonder if some day us dinosaurs on our blogs will be left talking to ourselves while everyone else congregate on the plasticine platforms of Facebook and Twitter. I hope that never happens.
Good for you for your mind/body cleanse. I think it’s awesome.
February 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm
I wondered the same thing, if I’d be left all alone by getting of Twitter and just using my blog. But I don’t think so. I always have you, and you always have me. HA!
Thanks, E! I think it’s awesome too!
February 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm
I do feel a sense of alienation because I’m not on twitter. But I have zero interest in twitter.
February 20, 2013 at 3:11 pm
This is interesting to read as I just joined Twitter a week or two ago and I have quickly realized how much of a time suck it is. Same goes for blogging, but if I didn’t work out of the house and have time to tend to my “SM duties” while at work, I probably wouldn’t do any of it. That’s one thing that worries me about being a SAHM mom – I don’t want my blog to suffer. How sad is that? But what I really mean by that is my journaling. I don’t want it to suffer, or be any less for baby boy than it was for Chloe. I LOVE having my blog to look back on and see what we were up to at certain points in our life. That doesn’t mean I don’t live in the moment, but I have a shitty memory now and easily forget things.
I have thrown out a tweet here and there, but I haven’t quite gotten into the hang of things either with it. I feel like if you aren’t on it 24/7, you really miss out on the conversation and there is no point in chiming in 12 hours later, once the people involved have already forgot what the topic was about. Maybe I’m wrong? I’m a newbie remember. 🙂
I do like it for the instant connection you have with people though, especially during those times when so many are waiting on betas or the first ultrasound, or that baby to be born…that’s why I really joined so I felt like I didn’t miss anything. But I’m with you, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to stick with it or not. I get limited time with Chloe as it is and don’t need my nose in my phone trying to catch up on other people’s lives (as much as I love you ladies) and miss out on making memories with her. I don’t see me doing away with FB or my blog anytime soon, but as it stands now, Twitter would be the first thing to go on my list too.
February 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm
That was an issue for me on twitter too – being late to the party every single time. I only check it a few times a day, but would respond to things that were so old (that I never realized at first) that it was stupid.
I keep up my blog for the reasons you state, and if you stayed home, you would find the time for it. It’s therapeutic… and it’s a memory book. I read old posts and I say to B, “I forgot about that!” I am so thankful for my blog… and very thankful it brought me to all of you. Twitter or not!
FB is great for connecting with family and friends far away. And near and busy, I suppose. I like it better than I used to.
February 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm
I think this is great. My participation on both twitter and FB ebbs and flows. Some days when Raegan sleeps more, I’m on it more. On days where naps are not an option for her(based on striking) I’m on it less. I have learned because so many people are either trying to make their life look fabulous or complaining about it all the time, to just take whatever I read as entertainment. Most of it isn’t real. Hell, last night Raegan got a hold of my phone and checked me in on FB at the local Dunkin Donuts. I was in the process of making dinner so I didn’t find out about it until a friend texted me.
You should be proud of yourself for taking steps to better your life. I’m embarrassed to say I live for checking these things because I have so few friends in real life and the real time conversation on twitter kind of fills in that void. I’m glad you’re not closing your blog too, cos then I’d have to move a lot farther west than where I am now, though my family says I’m nearly in Iowa anyway. Good for you!
February 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm
I like your attitude – of taking it all as entertainment. Such a great outlook. Maybe I’d still be on Twitter if I’d read this sooner 😉
Sarah, I lived for checking things too. That was half of my problem with it. And let me say that you have real friends. I’m your REAL friend. So many others out here ARE your real friends!
You’re welcome in Iowa any time! But… it’s not that fun 😉
February 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm
I am guilty of all if the above where Twitter is concerned, and I don’t feel good about it. Honestly, I do it because in the moment I need a release and I go to where I know I can find someone (and an “I hear you”) right away. It helps me cope in the moment, but not how I feel overall I suppose. I can see how it makes me look. I have a lot to think about.
February 20, 2013 at 3:34 pm
SRB – this is NOT about you. This is about Twitter in general. I saw this from so many people. AND I DID IT MYSELF! You know that!
February 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm
It’s okay if it is, even a little! Honestly. Reading this was like looking in a social media mirror of sorts. I’ve been very negative lately, which speaks to some larger issues I can’t share on my blog. It’s all negative take with little give. I’ve been thinking about it already for a few weeks, believe me. 😦
February 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm
Well, we’ve all been there. That’s where I was which made me quit Twitter. I hate my negative headspace – and I was in it. And I need out. STAT.
Let me know if you want to chat.. on skype or meet at Starb.ucks. HA!
February 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm
I understand the “in the moment” thing. I did that just the other day about M’s nap strike. I needed to put it SOMEWHERE so Twitter (and all of you) got it. After I did it, I thought, “Oh, Courtney – this isn’t even a real nap strike. You look like an over-reacting idiot.” Truly!
Like I said in my post, I don’t care what others put out there. I just feel nosey reading it from people who wouldn’t tell it to me in person. You would (and have) tell me this stuff in person!
February 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm
I appreciate your efforts to get rid of negative energy. It’s about time for me to do a FB cleanse, based on this principle. Basically, every year or two, I go through and delete half of my “friends” — people who just write stuff that pisses me off — people who are very negative — people who are super braggy — they all get the ax. Basically, people I wouldn’t want to sit around and drink a beer with and chat IRL with… get the ax. It feels good. 🙂
Twitter…meh. I think you’re right, that a lot of it is negative. I honestly hadn’t really used it in a year or two when I realized all my chiBLOGo friends were on it, and I got back into it b/c I didn’t want to “miss out” on getting to know you all better. I have already felt myself stepping back from it lately though… it’s just too much of everything sometimes.
Balance… we’re all looking for it, aren’t we? 🙂
February 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm
You know, I need to do a FB cleanse as well. I just went through last week and marked all of you guys as “good friends” so that I see your updates more readily, and removed some people from that category who I don’t really care to read on a daily basis. The super braggy people upset me the most – one of my friends actually kept posting photos of his house while it was being built, and referred to it as, “the monster.” UGH. I like your rule about keeping people you’d sit around and drink a beer with – good thinking!
Well, I’m glad you got back on while we were planning ChiBLOGo – it wouldn’t have been the same without you!
February 20, 2013 at 5:45 pm
Wow, I can relate to so much of this!! Was great to read the comments from everyone else as well. I come and go with Facebook and talk about deleting it often but I am sure I won’t anytime soon for two big reasons… 1) We live so far from our family and friends that this really is an easy way for them to watch Lids grow up and so many of them tell me that they really love seeing her photos so I do try to post a photo every week or so. 2) I hate to say it but business reasons. With our volunteer program (the way our whole non-profit is able to function) works through recruiting volunteers from around the world and often Facebook helps us to find these people. I hate doing the annoying FB statuses for business reasons but at the same time our website gets soooooo many more hits on days I do so I find it can’t hurt. So that is FB.
Then there is Twitter which I joined a few months ago because I did feel a bit left out from the group of bloggy pals that were always one step ahead in knowing what was going on in eachother’s lives thanks to Twitter. It has been really nice to have that instant connection with all of them (and you) so there are definitely huge pluses in my opinion…. but at the same time, it does suck more of my time that I don’t have for the sucking… and I agree with you about it being a place to shout of negativity… which has been hard to stay clear of doing myself because it does sometimes just feel like that place where you can let it out in that instant… and for me, on Twitter, unlike FB, I only follow / have followers of ladies I actually care about and would want to open up to or have them open up to me… so I do look at it quite differently that FB in that regard as I would be shocked to hear the same things on FB as I do on Twitter.
I have thought about dropping Twitter too but I sadly worry about becoming left out again with just my blog to connect through. I actually love emails and would love doing more of that to connect with others personally in that way or even through group emails when major things are going on or when people want to vent about things. I was actually kind of happy to hear you had quit Twitter and the only reason being that it makes me feel better if I decided to as well… but will I?!?! Still unsure! I definitely still want to stay connected with all of you awesome ladies so that is something I want to make sure I don’t lose first.
Okay I’ve rambled enough. This post had me thinking!!
February 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm
I could NEVER delete FB – I like the connection when I feel like using it. And I do check it every day. It’s funny that you used it at first for business/volunteer reasons, because that’s why I setup my FB account too. I was running a fitness group and thought FB would be a good idea. Funny how that works!
I saw that you posted somewhere that you miss twitter a bit. I do too. I don’t miss it enough to get back on, but I miss it during dull moments when I’m looking for something to interest me.
February 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm
I never really thought about it but you are so right about the difference in FB and T. FB is all about showing off and people making their life look shiny and great, and T seems to be more about venting. I am on Twitter a lot, but just read the feed- I rarely post anything- have always felt like an outsider (my own fault for not really jumping in the conversation). BUT- I also know how much of a time sucker it is, and I really don’t have time for it. Good for you for following your intuition and cleaning out unnecessary stuff!
February 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm
I hated jumping into conversations because I knew I couldn’t STAY in them beyond my one comment – because I had other things to do. So why start? I do miss certain aspects of it, but not much. This detox is going well for now!
February 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm
The whole social media participation I’ve found to be a big time suck. now I only check FB about once a week. Twitter I check out every couple of days now. I’ve even cut back my time on WordPress. I’ll never give it up, but I’m sure making living my RL a priority.
Kudos to you fo recognizing what’s bringing negativity into your life and doing something about it!
February 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm
Thanks! I would be so proud of myself if I could only check FB once a week! WOW!
I have missed you on WP.
February 21, 2013 at 9:40 am
I am a huge advocate of self-care, and I love to see folks taking time away (temporarily or for forever) from experiences that do not benefit their wellbeing. It takes an admirable level of self-awareness and courage to filter out the noise, to seriously listen to your own needs. I think there is enormous value in social media–blogging, FB, and, yes, Twitter–but when you start feeling worse because of it? Welp, that’s a sign that something has to shift, for sure.
I took a very long break from FB during the hardest part of our IF struggle, and I only returned to it after my son was born. I do check it often, especially now that we’ve relocated out of state. Also, there are several groups I participate in–one for my moms group, as well as local STL groups for AP, LLL, and babywearing–and FB is the best and easiest way to communicate with those people. Even on the days I desperately want to give FB the finger, I would never leave it unless these groups were suddenly of no support/benefit to me and my parenting style. (Also, I have no issue blocking someone on FB–like, my youngest sister, for example–so that I do not see her crap in my newsfeed. Filtering out the noise, yo.)
I see Twitter differently than I see FB, personally. I have been pretty selective with approving friend requests in both places, but especially with Twitter. I feel like my IF peer group is a pretty intimate circle. I only follow people whose blogs I enjoy reading, people I feel I’ve established some level of connection with. And when I start to feel that connection waning or troubling me…I discontinue following both their blog and Twitter feed. Filtering again. Anyway, I take Twitter for what it is–an instant way to connect with people who know and accept way more about me and some of my baggage than most people IRL. I have almost always felt camaraderie and support on Twitter, but maybe that has much to do with who I keep in my circle?
February 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm
I think your last paragraph is a major reason why Twitter didn’t work for me. I was very selective at first, but then people would follow me, so I’d follow them back, not always even really knowing who they were. That’s where the problem comes in – hearing things from strangers that make me uncomfortable. I did have quite a few wonderful conversations on Twitter, but it was a lot of work to stay in those conversations.
February 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm
I really enjoy twitter and the group of women that I’ve gotten to know on there. I love it for the instant responses to a problem or question (whether it has to do with meds, childcare, etc) and it’s helped me get to know many women much better and to be more supportive to them and I’ve gotten a lot of support from it. But if you’re not feeling that, and you see it as a negative place, then it’s not for you. we all use social media in different ways (or step away from it). I have trouble finding time writing coherent blog posts or commenting as much as I’d like to, but I manage to keep in touch through twitter bursts when I have a few minutes, but I never am able to keep up with my feed, nor do I try to. It’s just too much. You have to find what works for you to enhance your real life, which is probably different than what works for others! I fully support whatever makes your real life happier or healthier.
Hope these new changes work for you
February 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm
Yes, we’re all different, which is why there are so many SM outlets! I couldn’t keep up with my twitter feed at all. I was always a few hours late to the conversations I wanted to take part in, which was usually too late to jump in.