The Social Media Experiment

Photo by Katka Pavlickova on Unsplash

My husband and I love 30 day challenges and experiments. We love to try new things and then reflect on outcomes. Sometimes we learn new strategies and develop new positive habits, but other times we learn something does not work for us.

In the fall of 2005 my husband and I were college freshmen. Facebook was new and only open to certain colleges, so we naturally joined when our respective colleges were added to the list. Within 6 months of joining we both deleted our accounts. We tried it and it did not work for us. It did not grow our relationship and did not make us feel connected to the people we loved.

We continued to stay off all social media throughout college, early marriage, having children, etc. Did we miss out on the occasional announcement or invitation? Yep. Did we truly feel like we were missing out? Nope.

Fast forward 14 years to present day. I thought maybe social media had dramatically changed, so two weeks ago I decided to join Instagram and give social media another try.

The first week was a big learning curve as I navigated posts, likes, hashtags, comments, etc. Once I got the hang of it, I started posting my own photos and thoughts. It was a fun extension of this blog at first.

But then it changed.

I started to have similar feelings to when I was on Facebook. I started to compare, I started to feel inadequate, and I become discontent. I wasted hours reading things that did not matter to me, while books on minimalism and other passions sat unread on my nightstand.

I disregarded these feelings at first because I did not believe it could happen so quickly. It had only been two weeks! But I saw my conversations with my spouse change and lose depth, and I found myself “performing” my life instead of “living” my life.

My spouse is amazing and gave me the courage to finally start this blog. And when I started my Instagram account he was supportive as well. But this morning on the way to work, as I shared these revelations with him, he agreed that he felt the changes too.

As my kids celebrate their first week of No Media March, it seems fitting that I delete the media that is detracting from our life. So I am saying goodbye to Instagram. It was a great experiment for me and a great reminder of why I stayed away from social media. I did enjoy catching up with people, but I am confident these conversations will continue through text, email and other avenues.

I am not advocating that everyone take this drastic step. It is the best decision for me and for us. But I always challenge myself and others to ask the hard questions and make sure their time is spent on high impact items. Always be true to yourself.

So I will continue to write here and only here because it is high impact for me and authentic.


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