The Introspective Salon
The last time I think I truly enjoyed social media was back when I had a MySpace account. I used to take a lot of pride in designing my page and I would actively seek to learn how to use the interface so that I could make a really cool looking page. I also truly enjoyed taking pictures and sharing them.
Shoes. Very interest. Much intrigue. Many aesthetic.
I miss those shoes, actually. Those loafers were pretty magical.
I found a lot of gratification in taking and sharing these images. It was fun to share a hobby.
The older I've gotten, the more I have used social media in a much less engaging way. I have nurtured the horrible habit of mindless, passive scrolling. Ever since I made the switch from MySpace to Facebook I stopped engaging with the platform and started merely using it to zone out. That's why I ended up getting rid of Facebook for years and why I now use it very, very moderately. For me, mindless scrolling was contributing to mounting anxiety and feelings of shame and then there's that whole comparing game. That's always fun. I'm sure I played the comparing game with MySpace, too, but I always balanced it out by engaging with the platform more. I would message my friends and fill out those little surveys where you actually had to copy and paste and type your answers - those surveys that predated the infamous BuzzFeed click and pick quizzes.
I'm not trying to muster up some flood of nostalgia for MySpace, here (though I do think those surveys are probably more beneficial to the young users of social media than Buzzfeed quizzes). I'm finding, though, that I've been missing that element of engagement.
A 2015 American Psychological Association study found that passive Facebook use contributed to more negative feelings and feelings of envy (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25706656). Wow! It's no wonder that scrolling passively was making me feel so terrible.
I pulled back from sharing as much on social media in college. I started to feel very embarrassed about anything that I would share and I would constantly think about what I could share, even though I knew that sharing would likely lead to me feeling bad. In fact, the act of thinking so much about what to share made me feel bad! It was such a vicious cycle. I would share something and then get no response and I'd feel embarrassed. I'd see other people sharing and get a lot of responses and feel shame. I have such a negative track of thoughts laid out in my brain associated with Facebook that I don't think I will ever go back to using that platform regularly again, but I have been trying to engage more on Instagram because I use that platform at least once a week, if not every day, and I don't seem to have the same negative cycles with it that I did with Facebook. I've been sharing more personal stories and expressing my interests through Instagram and I'm trying to get better about engaging with other peoples' posts beyond simply liking them. I don't want my process with Instagram to ever match the process that I created with Facebook. That was misery making.
Social media can be such a great tool for an introverted person like me who struggles to make relationships in real life. I could really be using it to my benefit, but I've been using it for so long to my detriment. Since I've started working on engaging more with social media, I have felt much less frustrated with it. I am now even kinder with myself when I slip into using it to procrastinate, and because I don't beat myself up about it, it's easier to log off when it's becoming a problem. It's also easier to keep it from becoming a big distraction because when I engage it feels like I've done something productive and I can then move on to the next productive (or not) task!