This is part 6 of a series documenting my journey into a life of minimalism. The highs, the lows, the wins, and losses of minimizing the amount of stuff in my life. If you’re just jumping in, may I suggest reading the introduction, part 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Having a hard time keeping up? May I also suggest subscribing at the bottom of this page to receive updates. You’ll never miss a post and be one cool cat.
Facebook. Twitter. Email subscriptions. Pings. Notifications. Likes. Tags. Messages. Friend requests. There is a constant technological chatter in the background of my life. I think everyone can say that the Internet is a black hole that sucks up your time, your brain, and your life. And I’m sick of it all.
Anyone familiar with Thoreau has heard his all too famous quote, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” We’ll leave the discussion of the contradictory nature of Walden for another time (proud owner of a BA in English right here), and we’re going to take this quote away from its literary context for the sake of argument, something I have been trained never to do, but hey, I’m all about breaking the rules.
With this whole minimalism thing, I’ve been thinking about how I could simplify my life even more. I’ve cleaned out my “internet closet” if you will. I started small. I combed through my Twitter and Facebook and unfollowed celebrities I don’t care to know about, defriended the people I couldn’t imagine myself saying hello to if I bumped into them on the street. I was following a lot of people on Instagram, half of which I didn’t even know so I cut them out. If I don’t know you in reality, you were out of my feed. The biggest and most freeing was unsubscribing from all of those random email subscriptions that collected in my inbox. Why on earth was I still getting updates from that wine club I never ended up joining?
Then I took it a step further and I deleted everything off my phone. Facebook. Removed. Twitter. Eliminated. Instagram. No more. Pinterest. Gone. Etsy. Deleted. Only my email remains for work purposes. I check everything once at the end of the day. I run through my feeds and then sign right off. I went from spending God-only-knows-how-much-time, to probably only 15 minutes. And guess what? I haven’t missed a thing. If anything, I’ve become aware of so much more. No longer am I tempted to check my phone while out with friends. I’m present. I’m free from the constant demands of virtual reality.
I feel a lot healthier when I’m not on social media. No more engagement rings with diamonds the size of asteroids being virtually waved in my face. Or feeling like crap when that guy I used to date is now dating so and so. Or [insert whatever life event we feel the need to put on the internet to garner attention].
I’d also like to point out that social media brings about a notion I like to call false intimacy. False intimacy is when you feel like you’re interacting on an intimate level but it’s really just static knowledge. I like to tell myself I enjoy keeping tabs on old friends, people I never see, and admittedly rarely think about, but maybe I should just give them a ring or grab coffee with them, instead of scrolling through their Facebook wall or Instagram feed to feel like we’ve connected.
Being more mindful of myself on the Internet has also made me second-guess when to post things. Why am I sharing this photo of such and such event or last nights dinner of my perfectly steamed broccoli? I’ve gotten pretty picky with what I post and my frequency has dropped. Flat out, I just don’t care to share with the web and I am caring less and less about whatever monumental, jaw-dropping, ho-hum, sparkling ring, baby bump, new car, new home, workout accomplishment, selfie, thing that is happening or happened in your #throwbackthursday post.
I don’t think Jesus would have cared much either. He interacted with people, face to face. Listened to them, ate with them, shared moments, real moments, with actual people. Sure there was no computer to hide behind back then, no smartphones either, but I think even if Jesus was walking around today in our technological overloaded world, he’d have no need for it. We need to be known and the only way is if we turn off our screens and see people face to face, hear their voice, share in a real moment.
Like the rest of my possessions, I’m not letting social media own me anymore. It’s all about balance and for me, less is more. I’m shooting for simplicity. “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”
Thoughts, questions, concerns? Tell me what you think! Let’s discuss! Leave a comment below. Get a little heated. Agree. Disagree. Throw your opinion out there. Hey, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m right. It doesn’t really matter, I’m just glad you decided to join the conversation.