Due to the closing of my publisher on Friday, my phone was being blown up by notifications from fellow Booktrope authors in our groups on Facebook, tags, and more. I was emotional, to say the least, and I was done with Facebook for a while. Being on social media was draining me even more, so I turned off notifications for Facebook. Luckily, my Twitter account wasn’t active, so I didn’t have to do it for that app, but I was emailing some people too. So I just gave up on social media/email/etc on Friday night. Even on Saturday. It was too depressing to be online, even though my Vox Dei (an imprint of Booktrope) group was being super amazing and supportive.
So, I turned off notifications, and I have yet to turn them back on. Why? I realized some things about social media – and my phone in general. I’m tethered to it. It’s become my lifeline, and that scares me some.
I used to think that I had to have all of my notifications on, be active on social media just because I was a writer and it was part of the job, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that although I do need to be socially present, it’s not important to spend 24/7 online. Since when did that become my mindset? And why did it matter?
I love my fans. I have met some amazing people through my books, and I have gained new friends, people I adore, but I don’t spend all day, every day with my friends in real life. Since when did my life become based on my social media presence?
I wasn’t raised in the time where we all had cell phones. I got my first cell phone in sixth grade and all it did was make calls. I didn’t text. I didn’t have Facebook. I didn’t have Twitter. None of that was even in play when I was in school, just MySpace, and that was when I was older. But I wasn’t obsessed with MySpace like I am my social media accounts now.
I realized something.
Social media is holding me hostage. It’s kidnapped me, and I have to escape.
I don’t have to answer people right away. I don’t have to email anyone back immediately (unless it’s work, of course). I don’t have to freak out when I’m not checking Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram. I don’t have to always post. I will always be here. Doing what I do. Being a writer, that will never change. Encouraging and empowering women, that won’t change, but in giving up a piece of myself just to be on social media, I can’t stay encouraged by that.
So, I believe that I need to step away. Not for good. I mean, I need to check social media at intervals. Deal with it later. I don’t have to make myself available all day every day to be on here. I have a family, a job, books to write. I can’t do that if I’m always trying to be “socially present”.
I love the friends I have, and I love my fans. I love being online with you guys, but I also have to remember who I am. I need time to work, be with my family and friends, spend time in the presence of God, and to write.
It probably doesn’t help that I’m terrible with time management. I let half of my day get away before I realize what I’m doing, and that in part has to do with checking everything in the mornings. Finding a balance is difficult for me, and that’s why I will no longer receive push notifications on many of social media apps. If you tag me or comment on something, don’t expect an answer right away but rest assured that I will get back to you.
I’m not giving up on my friends. I’m just learning to not let this side of my life control me.
Are you addicted to social media? Do you find you’re happier when you aren’t constantly barraged by notifications on your phone from apps? I’m curious to see how you guys feel about it as well.