Last week, I got into an argument with a Facebook troll.
It was a typical run-of-the-mill argument about why protecting the environment is important and pollution is bad. But what bothered me about this argument is he said he clicked onto my profile to find out more about me.
Obviously, every person who regularly uses social media has been guilty of looking people up and going through their public information, whether it’s scrolling multiple pages on your favorite Instagram or intensely reading someone’s About page to find out who they’re dating. We’ve all done it.
Which means other people do it to us.
And in this particular situation, he used what little he could tell from my Facebook profile (and to clarify, we’re not friends) to make assumptions about me.
If you know me, I don’t post often on any of the social media platforms I use. When this person commented about my profile and assumed things about me, I was baffled. I hardly post. I can’t remember the last time I uploaded a photo. How could anyone possibly figure all these things without asking?
Watching this Facebook frenzy unfold became a downward spiral of anxiously checking back to see how many likes my comments were getting and who was replying to them. And when you’re engulfed in social media like this, if you’re not seeing results within 10 minutes, then it’s embarrassing.
When social media turns from a casual hobby to an endless black hole that pulls you in further the more time you spend on it, it’s time to unplug. Turn off your notifications, delete apps, shut your phone off for a day and detox from the social media.
Three months ago, I turned off the Facebook app’s notifications. I had a notification every day at 9 a.m. to remind me it was so-and-so’s birthday. And every day at 9 a.m., I would feel my phone buzz in my pocket and felt this need to check it immediately. I have no need. I don’t really care about the 10 birthdays coming up or the event that my friend in another state is interested in.
After changing my notification settings, I noticed I was checking the app significantly less. My phone wasn’t going off every hour to remind me to click on the app! But I was still getting caught in that loop of constantly checking my notifications, now manually, any time I did make a post or a comment.
So a few days ago, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone.
Now that it’s gone, I’ve become so aware of my habit to wake up, look at my phone and start opening apps. And for what? Because maybe someone tagged me in a photo and maybe this person is doing this and Buzzfeed posted a new Tasty video? And while that’s all fine and good, there’s no reason to feel anxious over what’s going on in a virtual cloud.
I’m going to unplug from social media this week, and instead, I’m going to treat my boyfriend to a fantastic birthday, catch up with some friends and enjoy life in the real world.
I’m not going to worry about the Facebook troll or how many likes and comments my posts about this blog will get. Social media is a great platform to get your thoughts and opinions out there and connect with people on a global sphere. But don’t forget that people exist beyond the screen you’re looking at. Sometimes you just need to look up.