Last week, I (along with many, many others) was forced to take a bit of a time-out from Facebook and Instagram because they were down for about a day. I know there were tons of jokes going around about how much people were able to get done without the distractions of social media, and honestly, part of it is true! It’s so easy to get sucked into these apps, and spend way more time that you meant to just scrolling and scrolling.
On the whole, I think social media is more of a positive thing than a negative one. I wrote a post about it before (here) – I think social media offers the chance to build and connect with a really amazing community. Especially for people with disabilities, whose voices might not be as heard or welcomed otherwise – social media can be a real democratizer. I’ve connected with some amazing people, and I’ve been connected with people – all of whom I would never have “met” if not for social media.
But that’s not to say that I don’t see the downsides of social media, too. It can fuel the comparison game – when you’re mindlessly scrolling and all you see is happy faces and pretty handbags and stylish outfits, it’s hard to not compare yourself. That can get unhealthy really quickly! And even though we know that people only post the good things – and we know this because we do it ourselves – it’s really easy to lose track of that.
So I think the key to social media, as with all things in life, really, is just balance. Balance that allows us to keep up with our online community, but keeps us from constantly comparing ourselves to everyone in that community. But I know… easier said than done. It’s hard to force ourselves to take time off from social media when it can seem like there are new posts every few seconds, and we always feel like we’re missing out on something. Finding balance on social media is no easier than finding balance in “real life” – balance is always hard.
All of this to say – may the forced time out from social media last week wasn’t such a bad thing!