Amber Lately: my thoughts on social media

Here’s the deal. I’m a social person. By definition I’m what some call an extrovert. I like people & without any interaction for too long, I feel isolated & get sad.

When's the last time you saw one of these bad boys?

When’s the last time you saw one of these bad boys?

But just to be clear, it doesn’t necessarily mean this:

ME + lots of people = I feel HAPPY

In my younger years, I probably was energized by large groups, but as I get older, too many people is too overwhelming.

I have become an ixtrovert <– yeah, I made that up.

I still love being with people, and am energized by them, but on a smaller scale. I crave depth to my relationships. Not the I’m-going-to-cling-onto-you-for-dear-life type relationship, but more like this:

ME + you + meaningful conversation  = One HAPPY Girl

Understand? Good. Let’s move on.

{Wait, what? you want to meet up for coffee? Heck yeah.}

So you can imagine, as one might, that a “social butterfly” would love social media. And you’re right! I do! Or did. Kind of. Well, I don’t know anymore.

At the beginning of last summer (2012), I quit Facebook. It was hard to do and I felt like such a loser for admitting that. I was embarrassed that my self-esteem was so negatively affected by a platform that’s supposed to connect people – which should be a good thing, right? At first, I was mad because:

  • I had to stand in the grocery line ho-humming & reading headlines from People & US Weekly while I waited (I know, right?!).
  • had to got to sit by the poolside and watch my kids swim…or get this – actually get in the pool!!
  • I had to sit on the commode without scrolling through pictures and updates (shut up, I’m not the only one).

But eventually I embraced it. No longer was I preoccupied with checking in on other people’s lives. I was living my life. Not someone else’s.

Then summer ended. And I got back on. It was fine. Until I moved.

And here’s the deal: when you’re one that moves frequently (I don’t recommend doing that, by the way), social media can be a wonderful tool to stay connected with friends & family. It can ease the pain of moving. Or at least, that’s what I told myself.

So in January when I moved once again, brand new city in a brand new state, of course I was on Facebook and Instagram (still not a huge Twitter fan). Being able to “see” my friends made me feel like I hadn’t left. I felt connected.

And that made me happy…for a while.

It was fun to see my friends take their kids to the park we used to meet up. It brought me so much joy to see friends have lunch together (without me) or take a fabulous vacation with their husband. And I really loved seeing the pictures of the amazing dinner they cooked for their whole family… who sits down at the table and eats…the same food, at the same time.  <— what?! people do this?

And pretty soon, I just felt like a loser again.

“Don’t do this to yourself, Amber.” That’s what I said to myself. Out loud. “Stop comparing. It’s OK to step away.” Again, me talking to me.

Then I said back to me, “But what am I supposed to do when I need connection because I don’t have any friends in this new place and I’m sad because I miss my friends and all things familiar and if I go online I can see those people and see them at all those familiar places I know. And that will feel better, right?”

And then I had the last word, “No.”

Recently I’ve read a few posts about the whole social media thing that totally hit home. This one from Lindsey Nobles who, get this – lives in Nashville.

Now let’s just talk about this for a minute, shall we? About the time I knew I was moving to The Ham (I think that’s what the cool people call it), I started discovering so many writers and bloggers in the Nashvegas area. I was like, what? Why am I just now finding these people? I like these people. I’m pretty sure they would like me. We could be friends.

But nooo, my story took me deeper south. And don’t tell me everything happens for a reason. I know that. But sometimes it just irritates me.

I digress. Back to her post. It’s called I’ve Forgotten Why and she says some really good stuff about why we join social media and what it’s become. Go read it… you can thank me later.

And then my internet friend Lara Blair who blogs at Modern Prairie Girl, showed up in my inbox with her Letting Go of Facebook Update today. And man, I couldn’t agree more.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. And clearly I stepped away from this blog. But the awesome thing about that is… it didn’t grow legs and take off while I was gone ;)

So what are your feelings about Facebook & other social media? Have you ever quit Facebook or stepped away for a while?

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7 Responses to Amber Lately: my thoughts on social media

  1. Sarah Sansbury says:

    Hullo!

    So I was cyber-stalking you this morning…

    Oh, my goodness! Do a Google search on FB and depression, and it will send your search engine spinning.

    I took the FB app off my phone. If I want to check in FB, I have to pull out the laptop or manually enter the website into Safari on the phone. I try to limit myself to just checking in on family or a friend who I have been thinking about (aka–cyber-stalking) or many times certain people who always post something thought-provoking or positive. Overall, I try to limit the time I’m on there. I’d rather it not be my default whenever I’m not focused on something else (or should be focused on something else).

    It really is a mirage though. We post what we want people to see. No one posts reality or the dirty truth.

    And, I agree, I am such an extrovert, but I get my energy when I feel like I have truly connected with someone.

    PS: Why do you live so far away from me? :P

  2. Angela Moore says:

    Great post, Amber!
    Angela Moore recently posted..Forgive Me If I Fold My ArmsMy Profile

  3. Welcome back, for however long it lasts! I have a love hate relationship with FB. And honestly, FB after moving was more painful for me. Seeing my friends get along just fine without me was worse that never knowing what they were up to. The truth is I will probably never see most of them again in the flesh. I am opposite, I’m introverted. I like deep meaningful relationships or online ones that don’t require much:-)

    I have been tempted to disconnect FB altogether many times. Maybe one day I will actually do it!
    From A Doctor’s Wife recently posted..Can a Doctor and a Lawyer be Friends?My Profile

  4. Jen says:

    I have thought many times about just deleting it all and walking away…but I can’t. It has nothing to do with not being able to live without it but I have so many people I love spread out all over the country…if I didn’t have, at the very least, Facebook, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them and see pictures and videos and all the things they share there that they may not otherwise take the time out to text me. But it does grate on me from time to time and I get frustrated. I do walk away…just never permanently. Love this post.
    Jen recently posted..40 Questions Everyone is Afraid to AskMy Profile

  5. Barb says:

    Holy cow, Amber!!!! Your timing is PERFECT (as I sit here composing a similar post in my almost-ready-to-deactivate-my-FB-account mind frame!) but wanting to make sure I have a way to maintain some connection (via email or blogging) with the friends who want to remain connected. Your words hit home in so many ways!! I would like to share your post on my FB wall as a lead in to my ‘Gone Fishing’ note! XoX

  6. Peggy says:

    Amber, I so, so get this! I am in the process of getting off FB and cutting back on IG, never did like Twitter. Isn’t it odd how the one medium we used to connect us, has allowed us to disconnect? i’m tired of feeling discouraged, disappointed, put out, tired of the comparison, to put it plainly, i’m TIRED! I guess that’s because it has begun to feel more like the whole junior/senior high/college comparison game again. trying to measure up by someone else’s standard… wanting to be liked. So I’ve cut back and I am doing the unthinkable… I deleting “friends” Yes unheard of! But it has to be done. I need to get back to the core friends and family… and yes the few “internet” friends. Do I create an all new account, “de-friend” or just drop off the scene completely has been the big question? Part of me wants to stay on but the rest knows how destructive it can and has been. The overwhelming desire to share but knowing it wasn’t prudent. I had to laugh at your description of being an ixtrovert!
    ’cause honey that is so me! ha ha! And do I ever get you about moving a lot… we have been here 3.5 years and might be moving again next year… a big might… its all so up in the air. but i find myself pulling back, putting up walls, hiding out so to speak. This cycle has to STOP! My “babies” are growing up, well basically grown up as the eldest graduated, the middlest graduates this spring and young one is a freshman…. so social media has/is taking a back seat! Do you know what, I’m not even sure I really miss it! (well maybe a little… at times.)
    Peggy recently posted..Summer recap & a sneak peakMy Profile

  7. Elaine Williams says:

    Great post, Amber. I feel very much the same way.

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