A few months ago, I wrote this post about limiting your use of social media. Since then, I have had friends and clients ask me how I did it. It was a step by step process, and I didn't remove myself from one of my platforms overnight.
I do realize that my business still has a presence on the platform, however I do not use it personally. I don't have a private account where I interact with others. This article applies to personal and not business accounts. In today's world social media is a necessary evil in advertising, so I realize that some of my advice will not ring true for some of you.
First, pick a platform. Use the one that you are most attached to, and most unhappy with. I found that after years of seeing my friends and family, I was being spammed by news and ads, and seeing posts that were not good for my mental health. I have always been an advocate against abuse, and the platform was actively showing me abuse stories.
Decide to do something different in the world. Going against the status quo is the best thing to do if you are unhappy or if social media is bringing you down, instead of lifting you up. Throughout human history it has been well known that the act of voyeurism and watching other people's lives (keeping up with the Joneses) can lead to profound unhappiness.
My sister and I studied human tribes and other groups at the same time. She has a degree in Anthropology, and two Masters degrees, one in Urban Studies. Around the time that she was studying for her first Masters, I was studying breastfeeding behavior in other countries, trying to make sense of what we do to babies in the United States (hint, it isn't gentle parenting).
She said that over human history, in the lifetime of a person, our tribe has been roughly 150 people. We interact with that number of people from birth to death. Around 50 people are affected by our birth, and 50 people are affected by our death. Over our lifetime we have an average of 50 people that we are close to, family, friends, spouses, etc.
Social media has taken this paradigm and exploded it. We are forming artificial tribes in cyberspace. You will find, however, that you only have a select number of people that you interact with daily on social, even if you have 5000 followers. The effect of having more than 150 people in your social circle has had a few consequences.
Platforms breed false familiarity. We talk to people we normally wouldn't, and interact on a more personal level with people. We write things we would never say to someone's face. The written word has always been used by writers as a form of expression of those thoughts that they cannot say. The general public has taken this on as a form of communication.
When I decided to take a step back (and then off) of the platform that I used extensively, I realized several things. I understood over time that the people I was interacting with were not the people closest to me. They were the people with the poorest boundaries, who would share whatever was happening in their lives with anyone.
I had participated in this behavior, but over time I began to see in my clients, and then in myself, that this voluntary expression of everything that was going on in my life was leading to voyeurism of my life by people who didn't have my best interests at heart. In real life we do not talk about politics or religion. Online they are fair game, and extensively polarize people, to the point that some families no longer speak.
I also realized that the people I know and love, and interact with, were being left out. The people that mattered to me the most were being subjected to what felt like an email blast to a large group of over 900 people. I had forgotten about the notes we used to send each other, the chats, and the photos I used to send of my kids to the people who love them.
This took time. I pared down my list five times, starting with the people I did not know in real life. Because I had been hacked, I needed to be sure that whoever I was interacting with online would alert me immediately if something was amiss. The next list was people who have not personally interacted with me in the last five years.
The third list was people who have caused drama or conflict with me online. I understand this may sound unreasonable, but I wanted more peace in my life and I wasn't getting it from that platform. The algorithms were blasting me with bad news and abuse every day, and I had said enough. At that point I decided to try to understand better who my tribe was.
I included friends, family, acquaintances, and old friends who still interacted with me. In the end I was left with approximately 100 people. Again, this was my personal account and not my business account. I was surprised that out of 900 people, only five texted to check in with me and see how I was doing in the process. I was posting along the way, each time, that I was leaving the platform.
I realized then how far away I had gotten from real intimacy with the people I loved. I started texting my small groups of family and friends again. My kids' pictures were sent through texts, not blasted online. I created another account on another, less intrusive platform, only for family, friends, and my kids' close friends. That account has 20 people.
My Christmas card-like social blasts stopped. I stopped broadcasting my life, and after a while, it became a habit and I felt good about it. The people that mattered to me (and my kids) were interacting with me again, and the people who were left out stopped causing drama and chaos in my life. We had stopped vibing at the same level.
A few curious things happened. Two people who had not interacted with me in years contacted me to ask why they were left out. They had been watching my accounts (what we call lurking online), but never saying anything. This is the essence of voyeurism, and is not acceptable ethical human behavior. Any time we are watching others and judging, we are bringing both ourselves and others less peace.
When we see others online, and then think negatively about their actions or lives in any way, this creates negative energy. When we intentionally or subconsciously send others this negative energy or thought, that is considered a psychic attack. This type of energy can be felt by energy workers and seen by clairvoyants. Social media has been a hotbed of psychic attack since it began.
When I stopped using the platforms, after several months of stops and starts, I felt the negative cloud that had been weighing me down lift. This was not only because I was no longer participating in the barrage of media and news through the algorithm, it was also because I stopped feeling others' psychic energy.
The negativity slowly went away, as if it was being drained from my life. I got back in touch with the real people that were around me, and began interacting again in ways that I knew would bring me more connection, not less. If you decide to do something different in the world, start slow. Pare down a little at a time, use media a little bit less every day, and you will see a change.
Social media does have a place. If your favorite platform is a means of creativity and putting something beautiful out into the world, by all means keep using it. But if it has stopped you from being creative and sharing your unique gifts because all you are doing is watching others' lives, it is time to take a step back and re-evaluate.
Passive voyeurism has been known throughout history to be destructive. It wears away at our self-worth and drive. It prevents us from putting our creations out there, because we fear the judgment we are actively passing on others. It is human nature to judge- that is how the brain categorizes our lives. Remember though that what you give out, you get back.
If social media is preventing you from living the life you really want to live, it is time to stop. I now spend 5-30 minutes a day collectively, on all of my platforms. I create every day, and it has led me to be profoundly happy. Getting back in touch with what really matters and the real people that surround me has changed my outlook completely.
Social is a tool. We either use it, or it uses us. You get to decide every day how you spend your time. Choose wisely.
To work with me, book an intuitive reading or healing session.
P.S. y’all.. always remember that unless you need to call 911, those little red dots on your phone are never an emergency. Notifications are red for a reason. Red is the emergency color- so if they are stressing you out, turn them off.