Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the deep life and the private life. As you may know, I got rid of social media a while back and have been immensely happy with that decision ever since.
One aspect of quitting social media that I find a lot of value in is the taking back of one’s private life. I don’t think I was ever an over-sharer on Facebook or Twitter when I still used those services, but certainly I shared a lot as everyone with such accounts does.
But what are the benefits, if any, of all that sharing? I’m not sure. Certainly the argument can be made, more for Facebook, that sharing important life milestones and what not can help you stay connected to your family and friends. But I’m not convinced by that argument because it seems better to me to actually reach out to those people that you want to share news with. This strengthens the relationship on two fronts: one, you’ve personally reached out to that person so you’re directly continuing the relationship; and two, you’re sharing some news with them that involves them in your life, again serving to strengthen the relationship.
Posting some happy news to your whole network might seem like a great idea, and make you feel great when you get all those likes and comments underneath the post, but it seems to me something is lost in the personal conversations and relationships that you’re now no longer having with people.
So maintaining family ties and friendships are one benefit, I think, of not sharing too much on social media, and instead actively taking back control of your life/private life.
Another associated benefit is simply having a private life that not everyone knows about. And I don’t just mean in the “Thank God there are no embarrassing pictures or videos of me on the Internet,” way. Rather, I mean cultivating family and friendships such that those are the people who really know you, that you share your ups and downs with, and who are your support network through good times and bad. Not even a million followers could ever substitute for that real human interaction. And not even a million followers could ever give you the quiet satisfaction of being a whole person in that way.
It’s hard to describe that feeling. Perhaps it’s something like not being constantly eroded by sharing so much of yourself on social media, and instead keeping yourself to yourself. Keeping yourself whole and intact and not giving yourself away just for a couple of likes and clicks. It’s something like that.
Of course, this is not to say that talking about your life publicly is always a bad thing, for example if you’re being interviewed or something like that. Just that there’s a tangible benefit to maintaining a bulwark around your life that is just for you and your friends and your family.
Anyhoo, these are just some of my latest musings on this subject.
That’s all for now!