Sunday, 11 October 2015

Quitting Social Media

I see it every day. At least one person on one of my timelines has had enough, they're considering (albeit publicly), giving up or quitting social media. Sometimes it's Twitter they're considering turning their back on, more times than not it's Facebook (the share if you care stuff gets old really quick) and oft times it's their blog they're considering shutting down.

So, what happens when you commit yourself to packing it all in?

Recently I had the opportunity to find out. The time has come to address the elephant in the room. My sudden disappearance (then subsequent reappearance) on social media and in blogging form.

Let's not waste our time on the why, I'm so very over the why. I'm done talking about people who are not worth the time spent on constructing such sentences.

The how? It was pretty easy. Well, that's a little white lie. It wasn't easy, and I'm not talking figuratively here, I'm speaking literally. It was like separating belongings up after a break-up. Each site wanted to know why? Could they do better as a site? I tried telling them all it was a case of 'it's me, not you' but really, sites do not make it easy for you to quit and be done, in entirety. Apart from Google.

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If you delete your Google profile, EVERYTHING gets deleted. This was how I mistakenly lost all of my email contacts and correspondence. In my upset state of haste I'd deleted my old blog, The Agoraphobic Fashionista, not only that but I'd also deleted my email accounts associated with that profile, my google plus (it still exists), my google drive.... everything. I guess if you're wanting to draw a final line under things that's the way to do it.

Deleting Twitter isn't as straight forward, they like to leave the door open for you. Like an ex lover who leaves the door unlocked for booty calls, Twitter know you can't quit a good thing. They give you 6 months to log back in and tweet again. I don't think Twitter know the meaning of breaking up.

I had made my decision though. I was done and so I deleted my Twitter. I deleted it hard. I hit that deactivate account button hard! Then they informed me that I could come back anytime. 'HA!' I thought to myself, 'AS IF!'. So sure was I that I wouldn't be returning.

Then I headed over to Facebook. First up was deleting the old blog's Facebook Page. Facebook gives you 28 days to change your mind, it's like these sites don't trust that we CAN quit them... *ahem!*

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Next was Instagram. Bye Bye pretty pictures that I'd spent a couple of years building up. Bye Bye any social following there that I'd put time and effort into curating. 'Sayonara lads' said I, so incredibly sure in the fact I was over it.

And so began, what I started affectionately referring to as 'Blogger Rehab'. I had indulged myself just a little, I couldn't quit every connection I had ever made, I had proper friends online that I wasn't ready to let go of, so I made my first mistake... I kept my personal Facebook. I left the door open, just a smidgen.

By the end of week 1 I was already considering coming back. It was like an itch that I just couldn't reach and boy was it infuriatingly annoying.

Week 2 I was already planning my next adventure online. I'd decided that the reason I'd quit wasn't actually all that valid a reason. Yes, it seemed as though the world was ending at the time and it felt as though it was an issue I couldn't come back from. I was affected. I let myself continue to be affected and I never addressed or confronted (within myself) the problems that were making social media so much less social for me.

Week 3 saw me address those issues. I talked it out with friends. I mulled it over, holding the thoughts in my head and swirling them around like a fine wine (I don't even drink wine but you get my drift!). I toyed with the idea of a social media reunion. After-all, even the sites I was subscribed to didn't want to see me go.... or so they told me (I bet they say that to all the girls though).

And so The Style Guide Blog was born as a vague maybe in the back of my mind during 'Blogger Rehab', I wasn't quite ready to hang up my (very stylish) blogging hat just yet. I had more to say, more to chat about and more people to meet over the ultimate chats online.

Considering all my favourite sites and platforms were so vocal about keeping our relationship flames alight, the reunion was set to be akin to those in the movies. We'd hook up online and all would be as it should, right?

Not so much.

Just FYI, Instagram doesn't want you back when you break up with it. They've moved on. They let you begin again but as for what you once had? It's lost to the void of lost social media, never to be found again.

Google? They're the same. They put up one hell of an argument when they're trying to keep you but once you quit Google, they've already found someone else to fill your spot in the warm side of the bed.

Twitter though, ahhhh my beautiful lovely companion... they welcomed me back with open arms. When I logged back in it was like being enveloped in a warm hug of social media love. They meant what they said afterall and so I found just enough of an open crack in the door to come back.

I began the arduous task of re-setting-up social media channels and I resigned myself to building from the ground up once more.

What did I learn from my time away? Not much more than the fact  I shouldn't have given up on my healthy relationships online. That sometimes the itch deserves to be scratched. I learned that the positivity online far outweighs the negativity and I learned what I wanted from social media and blogging, I learned that I enjoyed having the ultimate chats and that nobody should feel driven offline. If you want to leave social media, make sure you do it for yourself for your own reasons and not for someone elses.

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The biggest lesson I learned is that breaking up is hard to do, in fact this was the hardest break up of my life to date. It left my heart in misery, I think of all that we've been through so come on baby, let's start anew!

*All images sourced from Google

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