Log Off: Signs You Need To Unplug From Social Media
Social media is everywhere. It’s infiltrated our coffee shops and weddings and become a real everyday part of life. There are benefits as your network expands and opportunities can come, but there is an inherent dark side as well. How do you know when it’s too much?
A January 2013 Huffington Post article stated, “The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site [ Facebook] and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most.”
Personal observation would suggest that this is true for a lot of people on a lot of social media sites. If this is the case, how do you know when it’s time to unplug?
Too Much Time
Social media is only a career for some. If you spend more time on social media than your actual job duties or healthy life habits, it’s time to unplug. Especially if you are using the “I don’t have enough time to___” excuse for anything else in your life. If you live tweeted a TV show this week or engaged in an hour long debate, you have time for whatever is purposeful in your life too.
What if someone told you that every time they go to Mary’s house, Mary causes a lot of drama and says very negative things? You would tell them to stop going to Mary’s house right? Right. Imagine your social media sites as Mary’s house. If every time you log on there are people bringing negativity to you and causing drama, you may need to NOT log on for a little bit and let the haters find a new target. If you voluntarily log on to drama every day, you should probably stop.
Brings out your bad side
Keyboard courage is so real. People log on and because no one can immediately punch you in the face, you get beside yourself with comments. If you are saying anything on social sites that you wouldn’t say directly to a person or in a group of people, it is perhaps time to log off.
Make Believe and Pretend
Are you deceiving someone right now? Do they think you are someone that you aren’t online? This happens on a small scale like bragging about a new car you don’t actually own. But it also happens on a big scale where people make up entire lives and personalities. Unplug if social sites are causing you to perpetrate like you are someone or something other than your normal fabulous self.
Curse of Comparison
If you look at my news feed, you would swear I was the only single person of my hundreds of Facebook friends. I’m also the only one not on vacation right now, winning an award, or saving baby whales or something. The curse of comparison happens when you can’t just enjoy your life because you are busy viewing the highlight reels of everyone else’s life. If you start to feel bad about where you are in life because it seems everyone is doing so much better (often times they aren’t, it just looks that way) it’s time to unplug.
Perhaps you are checking Instagram on the computer so that your ex won’t see you double tap on that photo you’re looking at although you unfollowed him last week? Or you can’t get rid of your ex on Twitter because you blocked him but now all these “anonymous” accounts are following you? Stalking (or being stalked) is the tried and true sign that it’s time to unplug. Focus your energy on living your own life and moving on rather than peeking into the past. It’s also helpful to not give your stalkers a play by play of your every move. Log out for a little bit and get your life together. It will be there when you get back.
It spills over into reality
In no way shape or form should social sites impact your REAL life in a negative way. In the world of screenshots, being shady online just isn’t the smartest move. There are plenty of people getting killed, beat up, divorced, and “exposed” for getting out of pocket or being shady online. When you start having breakdowns in your friendships / relationships or creating real life enemies because of your online life, it may be time to step back and consider what you are really doing on there.
I escape into my Twitter timeline too. It’s funny and usually a bunch of shenanigans that can keep me distracted from my real problems. But if you are using social media to self-medicate and distract yourself from life’s real issues, it’s time to unplug. When it’s all said and done, you have to log out sometime and those problems will still be there. Don’t use social sites as a crutch. Be brave, log out, and face the real things going on in your life.
It is your life
Social sites are a part of your life, the sites were never meant to take the place of real human interaction. Did you really see the performance or were you too busy picking out the best filter to use when you post it? Are you actually enjoying the party or are you looking to see who ReTweeted your comment about “tonight is so much fun!” Unplug so that you can recharge and reconnect to the world around you. Actually talk to people who are in front of you at a table rather than being on your phone capturing the conversation.
When do you know it’s time to unplug for a while? Have you unplugged before? Did you enjoy the break? Comment below!
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss., a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss or visit the site at http://laughcrycuss.com.