Imagine yourself in a crowded room, enjoying yourself and having different conversations with friends and acquaintances.

You laugh, tell stories, maybe get into a friendly debate. You have a nice time and then it’s time to go and you step out of the party and into the quiet, still night air and you marvel at how loud it was inside. Your ears might even be ringing a little and yet, inside, you didn’t feel like it was that loud. It’s only when experienced next to the silence that you recognize the noise.

That’s how social media has felt to me lately.

I’m very much an introvert. What I love about Facebook is that I can engage with people on my terms. I tend more towards private conversations over messenger on in private groups and spend most of my time just “listening” as I read other conversations.  I think carefully about the words I type, wanting to say the right thing. Also, I enjoy hearing about my friends lives and sharing a little of my own. Facebook allows me to stay connected.

But, lately Facebook has become more of a loud and raucous party and I’ve never been one for those kinds of parties.  It’s like there are a bunch of overly loud, obnoxious, possibly intoxicated people shouting out anything for anyone to hear. I’m sure you’ve all encountered someone like that in the real world. They’re not awful but they can be hard to take in and you would never want to host a dinner party with 10 people all acting like that.  Instead of it being a place where I can enjoy quiet conversations, I’ve found myself looking for ways to avoid people and issues, primarily politics.

It’s too much and it’s not just my Facebook “friends.” The ads constantly showing up in my feed. My friends’ friends that Facebook believes that I want to know about even though I am always clicking the hide buttons.  It’s fake news, alternative facts, word porn, inspiration porn.  Even the kitten and puppy videos have just become added noise (except for cat curling, cat curling will always be pure entertainment)

It’s the tone of the conversations in groups and on walls. It’s like I’m walking through the rooms of a party, looking for a nice conversation to join in only to find that every group is full of individuals yelling horrible things at each other with a crowd around just echoing their point of view.

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Looking down from the top of Multnomah Falls, Oregon

I didn’t hear the noise until I stepped into the silence.

I deactivated my account and I removed the app from my phone. Immediately, I noticed a huge difference.

It was quieter, more peaceful.  I felt quieter and more peaceful.  It was freeing to not have the noise of photographer drama, political anger and mean spirited humor.  And more importantly, after being away, I realized that it was okay to not know everything that everyone wanted to share.

Now to be completely honest, I haven’t entirely stepped away from it all. In order to maintain my active business page, I needed to still be on so I created an alias. It’s an alias with only a few friends- my husband because he rarely posts anything to Facebook anyway and 2 others, each for very specific reasons.

Over the course of this short experiment, I’ve realized that I don’t want to completely cut myself off of social media. That’s not the answer because we are now living in an age where there is value to connecting through social media.  And there are people that I really miss and because of distance we only connect on Facebook anymore.

But I do recognize that it is imperative that I establish more definitive boundaries for social media.  Facebook crept into my life and started out as this little part but grew and grew over time.  I’ve recognized that I need to have those boundaries to model for my kids.  There’s been a lot of discussion about the younger generation and how they are going to manage screens and social media. I hope that this will teach my kids that the “newsfeed” isn’t the only way to be connected to the people and world around them.  That while it is a valuable tool, I want to teach my kids that it’s okay to step away even when it seems like they’re the only ones doing it. I want to teach them that it’s up to them to establish boundaries and that it’s okay to adjust those boundaries as needed.

I’m going to go back on Facebook. I’m not sure when, maybe next week, maybe later but someday soon I will return.  Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about what boundaries that I will need to establish or adjust. First, Facebook is going to stay off of my phone.  Nothing on Facebook is so urgent that it can’t wait until I’m at my computer.  By confining it to my desktop it will help me to stay present with the people around me.  I’m also going to keep my alias. As someone who is self employed and working primarily from home, it’s hard to be focused and productive during the hours that I’ve set aside for work.  Using the alias, I can still keep my business active during business hours but also stay more focused and productive.

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Hi there, it's Jodi!

I hope you enjoy my work and please let me know if you have any questions about photography, art, or anything at all.

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portrait photographer for the Pittsburgh area including:

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