Life Without Social Media: Pros and Cons

As many of you know, I gave up social media for Lent.

For those of you considering it (or wondering if you could ever live without it), I’ll give you a run-down on what I’ve experienced thus far and how it feels.

I primarily gave up social media because I found it was taking up huge chunks of my time. I’d get sucked in and scroll for hours, usually before bed. I was living for the future and recording memories, versus actually living in the moment.

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I’ll start with the cons, since I must admit, I do miss it.

  • You can’t cyber stalk people you meet (don’t act like you don’t do this). How am I supposed to know if you’re the guy on Facebook with one friend and a Myspace mirror picture? Hopefully my intuition leads me far away from those types to begin with….
  • I can’t remember anyone’s birthday besides my best friend and family members. It’s nice to have Facebook tell me when I need to wish someone a happy birthday.
  • I can’t use it to advertise my blog or promote things via Twitter or Facebook. I knew this going into it, but sometimes I’ll see that people have RT my posts via the blog and I can’t even say thank you! (So here’s my virtual thank you!!)

However, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the cons:

  • I’ve experienced better sleep because I’m not scrolling through my newsfeed mindlessly for however long before I’m going to sleep.
  • I’ve done a lot more reading, especially before bed.
  • I feel more present in the moment and can focus my attention on bettering myself and building my dreams, goals and ambitions.
  • I’m not sucked into the drama/jealousy that social media possesses (Ugh, what she’s doing looks so fun. Um, another vacation — why isn’t my life that exciting? Why isn’t my boyfriend that cute? Do guys like that even exist? haha)
  • It forces people to contact you via text or phone call. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been “hit on” via Facebook message. WHY IS THIS A THING?! Stop it!
  • Perhaps the biggest “pro” is that it forces you to become social. Sometimes we have this false sense of inclusion, like we actually have a social life when in reality, all we’re doing is sitting there scrolling through a news feed. Some of us (myself included, from time to time) use that in place of real social interaction, perhaps because we’re too busy, exhausted or whatever the reason. In turn, we just end up looking to social media to feel included, instead of forming meaningful friendships and relationships with those around us.

Unfortunately, as a society, we’ve grown accustomed to using social media almost like a barrier. We forget what it’s like to participate in real life experiences — actually touch someone, hug them or tell them how you feel IN PERSON. It breaks my heart to see people, kids especially, sit and play video games ALL DAY instead of going outside and experiencing what life has to offer.

When’s the last time you went outside and just looked up at the sky? Watched the clouds go by? Pondered the meaning of life?

When’s the last time you saw something beautiful and just soaked in all it’s glory, versus taking a picture of it to upload to Instagram?

If it’s been a while, I would really encourage you to take a step back and reevaluate how much time you’re spending on social media. I’m not going to lie and say I’m not looking forward to having it back in a few weeks, but I’m going to use it much more carefully.

I’m going to use it to enhance my life versus take away from it. 

We’re blessed to be able to document memories so easily, but don’t let that take the place of actually ENJOYING those memories.

beautiful-live-moment-wallpaper-favim-com-520574Of possible interest:

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Helpful Links for Newer Bloggers

So I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging is, in fact, a part-time job. It turns out blogging isn’t as easy as creating a post, leaving the computer for a few days and picking up right where I left off. I decided recently that I was either going to stop blogging (which was not a real option) or take it more seriously, so here I am! I’ve been doing TONS of research about SEO, self hosting, increasing blog traffic, etc. I’ve spent more time reading and commenting on blogs than I ever thought possible (WAY better than sitting on Facebook, by the way! You all are so entertaining :-))

I thought I’d do a roundup of some helpful links for newer bloggers like myself. This no where NEAR covers everything in the ginormous blogosphere, but it’s what I’ve started with so far.

Writing Engaging Content:
You started a blog. Now what do you write about? How do you get your readers to care about what you have to say?

Infographic[Source]

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic]
How to Create Compelling Content <– Lengthy but worth the read!

honeybooboo-seo-content-meme[Source]

For Search Engine Optimization:
OK, so your content is great. How will people find it? Learn how to improve your blog with SEO to increase traffic from search engines: 

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
SEO 101- The Basics and Beyond

dwight-meme[Source]

Increasing Blog Traffic:
We all know that commenting on blogs and interacting on social media is a great way to meet people and draw traffic. In my opinion, these connections should be genuine and thoughtful. I absolutely adore all the women I’ve met through blogging and I’m always so excited when I receive comments and Tweets! Here’s a great article about more ways to draw blog traffic from Slap Dash Mom.

All-around great blogging series are also featured on some of my favorite blogs:

Round-up of blogging posts by Melissa at Freeing Imperfections
Blogging tips and Q&A’s by Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers

These websites have all helped me greatly as a newly “serious” blogger. I’m still learning the basics, so if you have any recommendations or helpful links for newer bloggers, please share!

“I Dream… of Simpler Things”

“I dream… of simpler things.
I would like to return to the days when there weren’t so many choices,
distractions, and complications.” -Cori from OliveToRun

As I was studying catching up on blog posts this morning, this really caught my attention. Shout out to my girl, Cori — her blog is awesome!

People always tell me that I’m an old soul. I, too, dream of simpler things. I believe I was meant to be born into a generation that wasn’t so focused on communication and constant connection via technology. Yes, I do have a blog. Yes, I love social media. Yes, I’m on my phone a lot. So where do we draw the line? When does technology start impacting our personal relationships and quality of life?

I’d love to live in a world where if a guy was interested in you, he couldn’t simply “like” your picture on Facebook and expect something to come of it. Or “poke” you. (Just…. stop. So creepy.) If you’re interested in a girl… TALK TO HER.

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Hi. I’m right here. Girls aren’t that scary, I promise.

Or how about a world where we didn’t sit on our phones at the dinner table?

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(Bussssted)

Or the days when 8-year-olds didn’t have iPhones.

Or a world where you actually ENJOYED dinner instead of taking pictures of it. (Unless you can justify your addiction by having a health & fitness blog 😉)

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What about when you’re on vacation and want to capture every moment? That beautiful sunset, the gorgeous mountains, the breathtaking view.

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Or when self-worth wasn’t based on how many likes we got on our pictures?

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Oh my gosh I didn’t get 100 likes… *deletes picture*

Don’t get me wrong, I fall victim to these traps from time to time (which is why I have pictures to show you). I’m human and, frankly, I LOVE taking pictures. Obviously if a sunset is pretty, I’m going to take a picture of it. However, I try to live in the moment and enjoy my surroundings. I love having real, in depth conversations and I truly enjoy the company of the people I surround myself with.

Technology becomes a problem when we allow it to interfere with living presently in the moment. Must we capture every single second of every single day? Why can’t we just simply enjoy the moment? The pictures never do justice compared to our memories anyway.

Bottom line: There are times when technology is appropriate and times when it is not. It’s important to understand where to draw the line. Don’t let technology get in the way of your most important relationships. Take pictures, but don’t let it distract you from taking in your surroundings and enjoying the beauty that’s actually in front of you. If you’re at dinner, focus on enjoying the conversation. Don’t let the amount of likes you get on a picture define your self-worth. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and no one needs to double tap a picture to tell you that. If you’re interested in someone, approach them.

Life is too short! Let’s focus our attention on fully and presently enjoying it. 

Mental & Physical Rest Days

You’re at the end of the wire — your fifth cup of coffee, sore and aching muscles and extreme exhaustion seem to be looming over you like a dark cloud. Yet you still lace up your tennis shoes and head to the gym. Or go out for a late night. Where’s the YOU time?!

This is something I struggle with greatly. I give 100% to everything I do, so rest days (mentally and especially physically) seem like a step backward for me.

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Me, today, needing to take my own advice. 

Physical Rest

I am an absolute advocate of physical rest and I can name the countless number of benefits, including muscle recovery and repair. If someone were to tell me they worked out 7 days a week, I would be sure to advise them to rest. But why can’t I take my own advice? That seventh day comes around and I’m just itching to be in the gym. What ends up happening? I wear myself out. I either get sick or I feel so run down that I’m in bed at 7 p.m. and can sleep like a baby for 12 hours, which is what happened to me last night.

Word to the wise: You will never get the results you want if you don’t rest. Your body needs time to repair itself and build those muscles that you work so hard for. Give them a chance to show up! (Knock knock to hard-headed Julie — Take your own advice!!!)

Mental Rest

I’m the type of person that constantly needs to be stimulated. Whether that’s checking my phone, reading, watching TV, listening to music, I need to be doing something. Sound familiar? Well then I’m sure you know how I feel getting into bed at night — like all my brain wires are fried. But what do I do? Scroll through all my social media apps while lying in bed (as if I missed something soooo important…. Yeah. Right.) I never give my brain time to just rest.

Word to the wise numero dos: STOP. You’re not missing anything on social media, I promise. Go sit somewhere, alone, take a few deep breaths and just try to focus on your breath. This is why I love yoga so much. When you’re serious about your practice and really in the moment, nothing else matters. It’s refreshing.

Let’s remember what’s important here — OUR HEALTH. You are no good to anyone else if you can’t take care of yourself! Let’s all just take a deep breath, relax and enjoy what really matters :-). 

Romanticism… And not in the way you may think

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Social media exposes us to a world we would otherwise know nothing about. We’re berated with photos and Facebook statuses and Twitter updates that expose us to what used to be the secret lives of others. Any given day on these social networking sites, you come across posts bragging about accomplishments, cute pictures with significant others and the “perfect” family — the clean house, the cute puppy, the family traditions and cookie cutter siblings. We can’t help but romanticize these situations.

It’s human nature to want what you don’t have. We’re all victim to it. Whether it’s the skinny girl in the gym with the small spandex or the woman with the perfect husband and children who seems to have it all figured out, we’re left feeling a bit insecure. How can we not? Some days it’s hard enough to get out of bed and go to the gym, let alone apply make up and look super cute.

Let me remind you of one very, very important detail — People only put out there what they WANT you to see. There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. There isn’t a perfect family. There isn’t one person in this world who has it all figured out.

So how can we simply ignore these messages when we’re constantly bombarded with them? Well, unless you’re willing to delete all social media and stay indoors at all times, it’s nearly impossible. But we can change the way we think about ourselves. Just because the girl at the gym has a 6-pack and a to-die-for body, she is not any better than you. The couple who always posts the cute pictures? You have no idea the actual depth of their relationship. Stop romanticizing and start focusing on what you do have. 

Every one of us has a set of positive attributes. What do you like about yourself? Are you gifted at your work? Do you go out of your way to help others? Do you strive to be the best person you can be on a daily basis? All of these are amazing accomplishments. You are perfect the way that you are, just as you were made to be. Start focusing on the talents you’ve been given instead of those you have not and you will live a much happier, fulfilled life.

There is no person better at being you than you are. Shift your focus to what you do have: friends, family, a job you’re proud of. Having confidence in who you are allows you to break down the thresholds of comparison and ultimately, unhappiness. Being who you are brings so much joy to others. Stop comparing. Stop romanticizing. Stop judging.  You are incredibly made just the way you are.