rambling: what I learned from my social media detox part 1

My two week break from Social Media did exactly what I thought it would. It showed me just how much time I waste on Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I also realized that the negative affect from using these sites was not limited to a waste of time. I found that these sites were often making me much more negative and pessimistic. Maybe the pessimistic cloud over me came from wasting time and not accomplishing enough but I am not entirely convinced of that.

I really enjoy finding new and exciting information. I follow NASA and a variety of scientists and science publications on twitter to get the latest in space and science. I follow outdoor adventure publications on all forms of social media for new gear reviews and the latest news in outdoor travel. I follow a handful of comedians who offer a good laugh almost every day. And then I follow every one else: from inspiring bloggers to friends from high school. And somewhere in between there is the excess of over-sharing, sharing incorrect information, and jumping to quick judgement and bias without individuals really reading and understanding what they are sharing online. 

And it makes me sad. One of the reasons I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher was how sad and frustrated I would get when people stuck to opinions based on false information. I always found myself upset when someone's opinion could not be swayed because they believed in a falsehood and they could not bring themselves to do the research to prove or disprove that believe. It wasn't even that I thought their opinions on life would dramatically change if they could separate fact from fiction - it was that I knew the discussion would be more interesting, valuable, and beneficial for everyone if they did.  

Social Media has taken something that happened now and then and has turned it into a trend. Yes, there are a lot more things you could blame this on, we could debate education or news media for days but that's for another post at another time. Social Media makes it so easy to spread false information and stand blindly behind it without ever having to face the truth. It makes it so easy for all of us to stand on our soap boxes and declare that what we know is right and what we think is the best without ever having to be held accountable for those beliefs - even if those beliefs are false.

All of this has been discussed before, it's not really anything new. We have this incredible resource with the internet, most of us have smart phones that can answer almost any question for us if we put them to good use, but instead we look for the quick information: we love our top ten lists, our pin-worthy tidbits of information, our 140 characters. But when there is so much to learn and understand we have to stop limiting ourselves to 140 characters. That's good for sharing the headlines, sharing a joke, or posing a question but the real discussion and understanding needs to go further, we all need to dig deeper.



  1. Well said. I have had several close friends delete their Facebook accounts. While each of them have different reasons for leaving that form of social media, all of them agree that it has become a haven for false information and a breeding place for easy cynicism. Congrats on successfully finishing your hiatus!

    1. It is amazing how much cynicism is there. Taking a step away from it really let me know how easily I got sucked into it.

  2. Agreed x10. I try to just treat my Facebook as a photo album and birthday calendar, but sometimes I really let stuff get to me even though I know I shouldn't. And you are so right about the internet being a tool that we misuse as a soapbox when it should be a doorway to lifetime learning!!! There are SO MANY options! Have you ever heard of Coursera? It's free classes on pretty much anything - although if you wanted, you could pay for a certificate to add to a portfolio or something. It's amazing!