Being kidnapped by social media

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?

SOCIAL MEDIA OBSESSION

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.

11 thoughts on “Being kidnapped by social media

  1. I loved this post and I can totally relate in the last couple of years I feel very tethered to social media while I am working on my computer. This is only during the day but still I am on social media what seems like 24/7 almost the entire week on and off. My goal beginning next week is to be off for a couple of days and not be on at all this Sunday. We will see how it goes. Thank you for being so honest and I wish you all the best as always. God bless you my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emerald, I go back to the days where I typed (using loads of Whiteout!) and sent my posts snail mail. I didn’t join Fb until 3 years ago and for a bit I WAS addicted. Now I feel that I have to check in often to stay abreast of writing groups and to reply to my work’s comments. Frankly, I need to cut back…Thanks for giving me food for thought and I truly am sorry about your publisher issues😦 XO

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use my phone for voice calls, taking pictures, e-reading with Kindle App, and an occasional text. I don’t even like texting because it’s such a waste of time. I can talk faster than type on a small screen. Push notifications? Never. No Facebook, no twitter, no instant messages, nothing. I still check in with my groups on Facebook by computer, and keep up with email, but no chimes and instant notifications. I’ve also been known to leave my cell phone at home or forget to check email for days.

    Sometimes, we just need to get away and be on our own. I grew up in the 60’s and we used to hang out with our friends in person, but you’re right. it’s definitely not 24-7.

    Sorry about the publisher, but I can see how even an overload of sympathy messages can become a deluge.🙂 Take care and have your quiet times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’ve realized that I don’t need my phone. I can walk away from it and be just fine. It’s sad to think I let myself get addicted to social media and my phone in general. I hate seeing kids now who can’t go a few hours without theirs. What is the world coming to when that happens?

      Like

  4. Ashlee McNicol

    Love this! I removed all social media apps from my phone for this reason, and only sign in on my Mac, which I try to limit or give myself specific times to be online. I love social media management tools like Hootsuite to keep interesting content active on my author pages, and try to pop in and say hello. But social media takes a ridiculous amount of time out of the day. I put a time waster app on my phone a few months ago to see how much time I dedicated to using social media, and it was crazy how many hours actually were spent on it!

    Like

  5. “I hate seeing kids now who can’t go a few hours without theirs. What is the world coming to when that happens?”

    A few hours? For some people it seems like their maximum is a few minutes. I see people crossing busy Manhattan streets looking down at their phones.

    I’m on FB, but I get no notifications. I use the browser, not the app. No Twitter or any of those newfangled things that I don’t know what they are anyway. 🙂

    I was sorry to hear about your publisher, too, but it sounds like you’ve got it in perspective. Plus, obviously, you’ve got a lot of people rooting for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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