I recently took a break from my social media without announcing it first. The reason being I thought I would have time to post as I normally do and I did not. I had family come in to town, and my husband took 9 days off from work and the last thing I wanted to do was be on my phone. I barely took any pictures because I was so mentally detatched from my phone. I have a great camera, I didn’t even think about bringing out my good camera, I just lived in the moment and it was great. I really enjoyed myself and my time with those around me and really had a carefree few days.
Here is the thing. I normally post on my Instagram once a day. I post on my stories multiple times every day. I respond to every comment, or if I get awkward and don’t know what to reply I heart every single comment. I LOVE the interaction on Instagram. I have a lot of internet friends through Instagram and it really is a large part of my social life.
When I went to post on Instagram for the first time in 10 days I felt guilty. Which is a weird thing to feel about not posting on social media right? I felt guilty that I hadn’t formally announced I would be right back in a few days. When I was in high school AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was huge. If you were at home doing homework, my friends and I were always on AIM and it was just known that if you leave your desk you say BRB so the other person isn’t just typing away wondering why the recipient isn’t responding.
I felt guilty I didn’t BRB, and then my next process of thinking was wow, that is really narcissistic to think that you have to announce to your entire social media that you are going offline. Do they care? Or do I think myself too important? Which I realize people do care, because I care when people go rogue unnannounced on the internet. My next realization was, the internet is a place where we show what we want to online and hide what we don’t. I shouldn’t have to explain where I was or why I was offline, except if I am encouraging you to follow me and be into the content I am providing, it is rude to just not show up for a week and not give you a heads up even if it was unintentional.
However, the people I follow I don’t think need to explain to me why they chose to not be on the internet so I guess I shouldn’t have to either. There is some conflict there for me. I think it is because I really value the relationships I have built online, and I don’t want anyone to think that they are anything but important to me. So I just genuinely felt bad. Like a betrayal… and that really seems so arrogant to me at the same time.
This has also brought up some other things for me to think about. The internet, like I said, has become a place where some of us have shared so much of our journey that when those people who have shared so much just leave and don’t come back, for me it is so hard not to be able to contact them and say hey! Are you okay?! I struggle with that part of digital relationships. I genuinely start to care about some of these stories of people and when they decided to just stop without reason for why it is hard not to wonder if they are ok and what happened when really it is none of my business. But, when you ask your readers or followers for so much of your life, I do think a goodbye is a nice sentiment. No reasons why for the goodbye is necessary but to know you are leaving is nice.
These are ongoing thought processes for me, but I thought I would share them because I doubt I am the only one having these same thoughts. <3