I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen —political rants, cringe-worthy personal posts and adverts for whatever overpriced product people are selling [at that moment]. What I can tell you, is that none of these things would drive me to ‘unfriend’ a person. I like the fact that the people who comprise my Facebook friend list are diverse, and while I may not agree with their political leanings, want to see the play-by-play of a nasty divorce, or purchase their overpriced STUFF, none of this would lead me to abandon our online friendship. At the end of the day, I do want to know what’s new in their lives and see updated photos of their adorable children. However, I frequently utilize my right to “scroll on” when the fifteenth adorable child photo is posted in a day (making said child not so adorable anymore), or when I see another advert for a ‘special’ on the bags they’re selling. Let’s be honest, I’m a rubbernecker, so I typically don’t “scroll on” when I see a bad breakup taking place live.
Remember the days when your Facebook feed only showed witty third person one-upmanship amongst your friends with clever status updates? “Lauren is trying to figure out how to post a status that doesn’t fit in the present tense.” These days, I’m lucky if I even see a quarter of my friends’ updates, given the sheer number of Pages I’ve “liked”, likely from my drunk Facebooking days of old (sure _____ sounds fascinating, why not follow them?).
When I was pregnant with my son, and after he was born, I had a minor obsession with parenting pages on Facebook, blogs mostly. Once I became a more seasoned parent (read: worn out and caring less about how I was ‘doing’ the whole parenting thing), I found that many of these pages were downright obnoxious AND full of terrible advice or information. I had a run in with one of these pages on a bad day, fed up with the mommy wars, the infighting amongst mom bloggers, and the overwhelming misinformation being spread by parenting bloggers with an agenda. This particular day I decided to speak my own truths, not caring about the veritable shit storm it may create because a.) I didn’t want new or expecting moms to receive false information, and b.) so many people were agreeing with this particular stance like a herd of blind sheep. To summarize, the blogger in question posted that sleep training sabotaged breastfeeding (in response to an article promoting sleep training for babies).
The fact that my husband and I participated in sleep training with my son, and I shared openly about my positive experience with it (I’m no martyr), made waves in my little ‘natural parenting’ community and was a cause for controversy and outrage. I was accused of neglecting my son (not true) among other very false accusations, intimating that I was a bad mother.
This is how it went down on this blogger’s page. I shared that I had done sleep training with my son, and that it did not affect breastfeeding…at all. In fact, my sleep-trained son nursed until he was 21 months old AND slept 12-14 hours a night. BAM! How dare I? The blogger chimed-in, a midwife/lactation consultant threw statistics at me (none of which applied to my situation, as I had already stated). What they were doing was fear-mongering, just like the naysayers who tell expecting mothers that c-sections will sabotage breastfeeding (proved those women wrong, too – BAM!). The fear-mongers turned into cyber-bullies after I voiced my own experience, and remained firm in voicing the fact that sleep training with your baby does not definitively ruin breastfeeding. I should have known better than to open my trap and engage (something I typically do not do), but I really felt that I needed to chime in about the misinformation being disseminated, so that new moms wouldn’t be bullied into thinking that they had to enter into sleep-deprived-martyrdom. This encounter inspired my post, The Dark Side of Mommy Bloggers, that eventually ran on The Huffington Post.
You know that the only proven way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence, right? Well, that concept also applies to social media. When you find that social media is no longer fun or serving a purpose, and is instead causing stress, anxiety and even anger, it’s time to step away. But, don’t be one of those people who post a long rant about how they’re done with Facebook, or going on a hiatus, only to appear two days later. Just step away quietly, no one needs to know — it’s between you and your social media accounts.
I go through periods where I absolutely loathe social media, honestly, and often dread the act of opening my web browser when I’m at my laptop. But, the very medium that allows me to work from home, network, connect with “colleagues”, and find new jobs or opportunities is, you guessed it, through social media platforms. In fact, you’d be surprised (because I often am) by how many professional connections and employment opportunities I’ve unearthed through using Twitter. Absolutely amazing.
So, when I take social media breaks, I tend to stay out of my personal feed or account, avoid any groups that are bugging me and take care of business. And let’s be honest, Facebook can be an insane time-suck. You wouldn’t believe how many writers I see in groups talking about how they don’t have time to write, or that they’re obsessively monitoring email inboxes, bemoaning rejections, or just gabbing when they could be spending time…writing! Yes, it can get lonely working from home, and it is definitely nice to connect with other writers, but do yourself a favor and set a strict limit on your social media time…or else you’ll find yourself looking at the clock a few hours later, reflecting on the conversations you had about your favorite pens, what planner you use, and how you don’t have time to write around your children’s schedules.
How do YOU reduce your social media-induced-frustration?