I know that might sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is, it's just one example of why I absolutely LOVE technology. Unfortunately though, technology is far from perfect. Sometimes there are as many detriments as benefits. In my first year of law school, I started to notice some of these detriments of technology, espeicially with social media. Now you might be surprised by this. After all, by nature of being a blogger, I am very active on social media. I love Instagram, Twitter, and my Snapchat streaks mean more to me than my actual friendships at this point. But at a certain point, something about social media seems too invasive.
As you might know if you've been a reader of my blog for awhile (or just creeped through my posts), during my first year of law school, I had some mental health difficulties. The truth is, for a duration of my 1L year, I was not doing so great. And by being active on social media, I had to make a choice from two options:
1. Stay active on social media, and give everyone an inside look into a dark period in my life
2. Leave social media while I work on feeling "normal" again.
And out of these two choices, I chose a mixture of the two. If you're a twenty-something like I am, you probably understand that different forms of social media have different functions. For me, I use Twitter for human, Facebook to maintain connection and relationships, LinkedIn to be professional, Instagram because pictures are pretty, and Snapchat for communicating with my best friends And of course, I have this blog to talk all things law school. So therefore, I chose which of those to keep and which of those to get rid of. While I kept most social media and just decided to stay moderate inactive for some time, I did decide to make one drastic change.
I deleted my Facebook account.
Facebook was the first social media platform I ever used (unless you want to count a short stint on MySpace that I abandoned after about 6 hours because I was afraid of my parents finding out). I registered for my Facebook account when I was 13 years old in eighth-grade, the day after I won the state science fair, because I wanted to share pictures of my awards (yes - I was really cool in middle school). Ever since then, I built a network of family, both extended and immediate. There were friends from school, dance, work, church, clubs, etc. People I met on vacations, or at conferences. or friends of friends were all added. You know how it goes.
About halfway through college, I did a major friend purge and limited my Facebook friends to close friends and family. I used Facebook as a fairly personal social media platform, and wanted to limit who saw my posts. As I went to law school, Facebook became one of the go-to ways for my friends and family from back home to keep up with me. But as I started dealing with depression and anxiety, I wanted to shield all of my friends and family from that side of me.
So I made a decision to cut Facebook out of my life. At first it was difficult. What was I supposed to look at when waiting for class to start, or when I was bored? To be quite honest, I probably looked at Instagram and Twitter more than ever before during this time. But after awhile, I noticed myself enjoying it. I would hear friends have conversations, saying things like "Did you see what so and so posted on Facebook? So immature!" or "I scrolled through Facebook for three hours last night!" And every time I heard something like that, I realized I was so happy to not be dealing with that.
It might sound cheesy, but my relationships got more authentic. I didn't have to "check in" online with friends any time we did something. I didn't know about what was going on in my friends' lives from their posts, I knew because they told me. And I didn't waste hours of my life mindlessly scrolling. And more than anything else, I didn't feel like I had to keep up my own social media facade.
As time has gone by, I've dived back a little deeper into social media. Admittedly, I love Twitter and I have three accounts on it: my personal one, one I keep for professional/school tweets, and one for Caffeine and Case Briefs. But I don't base my relationships on my Twitter friendships. I also still love Instagram - who doesn't love sharing pictures of their life (I even posted a picture of my post-yoga Happy Meal). But for some reason, I feel no draw back into Facebook.
We live in a world where it's so easy to become consumed by social media. But it also can be a wonderful tool to connect. Like anything else, balance is key when it comes to a social media presence. If you find yourself spending too much time or being overly invested in one platform, I highly recommend taking a step back. Every day I am thankful that I did.
But don't worry - I won't give up blogging any time soon.