When I quit social media, the most wonderful thing happened. I stopped thinking about posting any and every mildly interesting thing that I was doing online: a meal, a song, a scenic area.
The internal dialogue of how to capture a moment and what to caption it, or how to word a thought into a perfect tweet that occupied much of my thought process went away. And with it, the thought of how it will be received by followers vanished too.
I quit Instagram long before Twitter, so I rarely took pictures anymore, and if I did it was often one or two just for memory sake. Yet, I was constantly thinking about sharing my thoughts via a tweet, as well as some pictures too.
The inner dialogue often went like this, Ooooo, girl, this would be a bomb picture to post on Twitter, or this song lyric speaks to how I really feel, must tweet, OR most often than not, must share all the oh-so-funny-and-interesting-and-tweet-worthy thoughts I have. And boy, did I have some thoughts to share.
Then I quit Twitter, and social media.
A year or into it, yes it took about that long, those thoughts to post things online just stopped. I noticed I was doing things without thinking about sharing them online, and that was it.
For about two years, I did all kinds of cool things, all the cool things everyone does to feel like their life is interesting, adventurous, and has meaning, and it rarely, if ever, crossed my mind to share anything online.
That was my norm. Do things, take a couple pics for memory sake, and keep it moving.
One time, a friend said to me if she was me, she’d so want to share on social media of finishing my Masters. I remember thinking, I guess it would be nice to share my accomplishments online, but not sharing it didn’t feel that much different, either.
That was my norm. I lived life without posting about it on social media.
Then, I went back to Instagram.
And, guess what happened? Just take a wild guess.
The internal dialogue of how to capture the perfect picture, what to caption it, and how it will be perceived by my followers, started creeping back in and occupying my thought process.
And for the first few months, lord knows I took those pictures, and lord knows I posted them, and lord knows I zoned out and thought about the best caption while my husband asked where to go to eat after taking pictures; Sorry, babe, what was that?
Even worse, since I was on instagram to share the message spend less time online I was mostly sharing in-nature, offline activities, all the while consumed by taking the perfect outdoorsy picture for Instagram.
So, I decided to stop.
I stopped stopping for pictures. I stopped taking pictures until I got the perfect picture. I stopped posting on Instagram, if rarely. And I made some rules to live by.
Take a couple pics, not a million to find the perfect shot. And, post on Instagram if there happened to be a picture or video worth sharing. This is a candid shot my husband took while camping, and this one, he said, hey I’m taking pictures.
I prefer it.
Last week, I discovered a beautiful trail to walk on my commute home; where I work is surrounded by gorgeous parks and trails. I was elated. I couldn’t help myself but think to share it on Instagram, so I took a couple of videos.
I still haven’t posted any.
That’s another rule I have, take a couple pictures and/or videos, and wait a day or two before posting. That way I’m not consumed by which picture to share, what to caption it, how many likes it’s getting, replying to comments, and not enjoying the actual moment.
It helps that I have turned my phone into a dumb phone.
Some things are harder to work around, like listening to the perfect song, and having those intrusive thoughts like, this would make for a great caption on Instagram. *Sigh.* I hate it here. I just want to enjoy Kanye. *Tears*
Maybe I will delete Instagram, and social media, again if I feel it’s worth getting to enjoy life without constantly wanting to share it on social media; worth enjoying nature, College Dropout, and overpriced meals without Instagram hijacking my brain.
For now, the rules help.
Until next time…
Sign up for my curated weekly newsletter on life-tech balance and digital well-being. Five ideas delivered right to your inbox. Every Tuesday.