Every January, I like to participate in a little personal social media coliseum-style event I call,
“The Clean-Up-My-Friends Extravaganza,” (abbreviated as "The CUMFE".)
In past years, events have included “Re-Branding My Instagram,” “Designing a Hip MySpace,” and “Perusing My Friends Lists and Removing Friends That Aren’t Actually Friends.” Awards varied between pictures of goats and remaining on my friends list. For the first time, the 2019 edition of The CUMFE was completely social media free.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been fasting with my church. However, because of my ridiculously high metabolism, if I fasted food, I would shriven away into oblivion within a week, so I chose to fast something else completely. Social media. I’ve elected to completely disengage from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat because my endless scrolling and peering through the feeds seemed uncontrollable. I felt like I was unable to use them as proper tools of connection; instead I was being consumed by comparison and a desire for more. More connection, more knowledge, more sharing, more creation, more of everything. I heard a pastor once say “The devil may not make you bad, but he will make you busy.” I’m no spiritual expert, but I do believe that the biggest antagonist to positive growth today is burnout due to over commitment. I see it in all my peers.
I wanted to fast from social media because I thought maybe it would remind me of what's real in my life. I thought that it might give me some power over my own choices, rather than being swayed by comparison and advertisement. I thought that maybe, if it goes well, I'll learn not to overcommit myself to things and tire myself due to fear of missing out (y'all know FOMO, right?) During these past 4 weeks of The CUMFE I actually found my world shrinking. My “friends” became the people I saw every day, and my “news feed” was conversations with those people. Sure, it wasn’t as sensational, but it was a lot more relatable. And for some reason, I never once thought, "Man. I'm probably missing out on some really great events right now." I wasn’t getting lost in the hallways of my mind palace while searching for memories of where I met that one guy and reasons I should be creating more interesting content.
Yeah, sometimes, it was really hard to not be a part of the bigger picture. Today, a coworker walked in and someone else asked about her two-week vacation. I had no idea she was gone because I rarely see that person, but I felt bad not being able to say "Oh yeah, how was that?" So I did anyway. I played along because I thought I was supposed to know, even though there was no real reason. That did not sit well with me, and I don't want to be that person.
I have struggled coming to terms with closing the doors of my social media because I like to make things and share them. Social media has changed the way our world consumes and distributes content, and for a long time, I believed that I MUST be a part of that. I’ve spent many hours branding my pages and my website, hoping that I can show the digital world who I am. What I’ve come to learn, however, is that I am not my digital self. I am me, and the most real version of me that exists needs to stay in touch with the physical world. My emotions are far too easily swayed by beautiful imagery of friends and their wonderful lives, businesses and their branded content, and advertisements and their manipulative tactics. When I’m scrolling, I start to think that I need to be more like that, and I become out of touch with my personality.
That’s why I’ve decided to maintain this social media fast as a new lifestyle.
But wait! Social media is an important way to connect and stay updated! It's a great tool! Can't you still use it a little?The thing is, I’ve tried making rules for how much I use social media, but it doesn’t seem to help me. I think I need to be all or nothing. Unfortunately, my current job sorta depends on social media, and so I’ve elected to make social media a professional sphere, rather than a personal one. For now, the only purpose for my FB will be to post videos for my job at ACR Homes. For now, Facebook is not a platform that I want to use to create or share content of my own. It’s not even a platform that I wish to connect using, as it has become too consuming.
If you, my friends and family, want to get ahold of me or invite me to something, please do so via text, messenger, or email. Since I still like to make stuff, I will be sharing those things somewhere else; this website or in person. If you wish to follow my process or stay up to date on my goings-on, I do plan on updating my website and blog more often, so the best way to stay in touch will be to subscribe to my email list (below).
I believe that life is lived in the margins, and I’ve filled my book of life with so many words, my margins have been reduced to arm-hair length. This year, I plan to reclaim my margins and live again, not just through my work and creations. Perhaps when I get that figured out, I'll re-join the social media sphere.
So. In a strange turn of events, this year The Clean-Up-My-Friends Extravaganza has cleaned up the most unlikely friend of all. Myself.
See ya soon!