Since I moved to London a few months ago for my Masters degree, I’ve been laying low on social media. Now, this can be construed in ways that can seem negative, which is why I’m penning down the actual reasons for being social media MIA.
Look, the amount of academic reading I’m having to do for my Masters is 10x more than I’ve done throughout my undergraduate years. These academic papers are not simple to read, not by a long shot. Plus, these papers are about subjects and concepts that are very new to me. SO you can imagine the information overload I’m having.
Now in the middle of all this I go on Instagram (@sunayanasen) and see all these beautiful pictures of people traveling, or Masterchef-like food, or gorgeous selfies and some not-so-gorgeous (in fact, they’re quite ridiculous) bathroom selfies, or some celebratory pictures with family and friends, or (the worst kind) engagement announcement pictures. ALL OF THESE are then shared on Facebook, so next when I go onto Facebook I see all these AGAIN but this time with a lot more information attached to it – comments, unrelated banter, others tagging each other, and what not. And as great a tool Facebook is, you have to sort through a big pile of content trash to find content that’s relevant or useful to you. To make matters a bit worse is the element of jealousy that comes from seeing all the life event / accomplishment kind of posts, particularly when you don’t feel you’re on your A-game. (Don’t kid yourself by shaking your head at that and thinking you don’t experience the same feeling at times! It happens, it’s normal; accept it!)
I hope you can imagine how all of this content would fry my brain. And then, there’s Snapchat. SNAPCHAT. As I was moving to London I had told my friend who wasn’t on Snapchat to join Snapchat so she could see what my life in London was like because I was going to Snap about my glorious life everyday.
Eventually I stopped using Snapchat too because people vlogging with dog ear filters are my absolute limit. But hey, if it floats your boat go for it! Plus, posting something and getting responses to it leads me to a whole other spiral that takes an unnecessary amount of mental space.
I would spend a good 45 minutes to an hour going through all my social media and I realized I was feeling tired by the end of it. Sometimes even my spirit would feel low. So slowly and steadily I started reducing the time I spent on social media, sometimes not even looking at one or two channels, and I realized I was no longer starting my day with low spirits or tired. I was reducing the volume of content that was coming at me and even controlling the kind of content. I even created a new Instagram private account for myself to simply be able to control, to the very last like, who could view my content and vice versa. There are even days I go without looking at any social media.
This is has definitely brought me some much needed peace. But it has had some side-effects. For example, I’ve been missing important updates about friends. I keep in touch with my close friends through chat so I’m up-to-date with their lives, and thankfully they’re up-to-date about others life so I get to hear about others from them! But because I don’t ‘like’ or comment on people’s updates, it can come across as me being… I don’t know, cold maybe? Basically, it looks as if I’m not happy for them. But I promise you, I generally am happy about your life’s updates (Unless it comes while I’m PMS-ing, then I’m not happy to see your life progressing 😛 ). #honest #brutal
However, my career has been built due to social media and the rest of my career will include social media in some form or the other. I mean, my Masters dissertation is about the use of social media in emergency response so I have to embrace social media. So I’m starting to come out of my annual social media holiday and post a bit more regularly. The same goes for my blog 🙂
It can’t be just me who needs to take a break from social media occasionally right? Do you?