Social mediaFull disclosure: I’m one of those cynical New Year’s Resolutions haters. I’m the person who scrolls down her Facebook newsfeed and makes bets about who’s actually going to back to school or commit to veganism for more than a month in 2015. It’s not nice, and I shouldn’t shade all over someone’s new calendar shine, but I can’t help it. To me, New Year’s resolutions have always seemed like a really laissez-faire way to set goals and start making changes in your life. But, in an effort to be a more open-minded hater (and because in my heart of hearts I truly believe that if the start of a brand new year is what it takes to get someone motivated to do great things, I should live and let procrastinate), I’ve been thinking about all the things I want to improve about myself in 2015. Embarrassingly, the social media aspect of my life is in need of a major overhaul. Maybe it’s because it’s an odd-numbered year (even-numbered years make me feel uncomfortable) or perhaps my goals are clearer than they’ve ever been in New Year’s past, but I’m feeling optimistic about doing awesome things this year. Assuming, of course, that I can stop doing these three bad social media habits first.

1. Social media idolatry

The other day I was at my boyfriend’s best friend’s house, and he had one of those books on his coffee table that tells you what your birthday says about you. “Read yours,” Mike urged, “It’s really accurate.” In my experience, these things are either vague enough to be true about anyone, way off, or eerily precise. This book fell in the eerily precise category. As I was reading along, one entire paragraph was dedicated to idolatry. Before giving it any thought, I immediately became internally defensive thinking, “Hang on, now, I don’t worship any false gods!” and then held that thought for a second while I went on Twitter to read the latest tweets from this semi-famous Internet person whose life must be better than mine because she writes for a living, resides in NYC, and has 15.2K Twitter followers.

Sure, most of her tweets are clever and ~cool~, but I’m not reading them for enjoyment. I’m reading them to see 150 characters worth of reasons why I should give up on all my pathetic social media efforts and stop writing. I look at her page to be jealous and give legitimacy to all my Internet self-doubts. It’s creepy, and it needs to stop.

Think about the people you’re peeping on Instagram. I’m sure I’m not the only one engaging in the destructive type of social media idolatry.

(By the way, if you want to see if your birthday analysis is accurate, you can find it online here.)

2. Getting emotionally invested in garbage

We’re overexposed to opinions, and every time someone gets hacked or Kim Kardashian sneezes, we feel this intense pressure to figure out where we stand and why. We let every ludicrous, shocking, or heartbreaking thing worm its under our skin, and why? Because we’re obligated to react to every single headline we read on BuzzFeed?

We live in a crazy world that needs our help, and I’m not advocating apathy, but maybe it’s okay to pick and choose what you care about sometimes. You don’t have to feel feelings about the all the things. Something I started doing in 2014 (and want to continue doing in 2015) is distancing myself from other people’s opinions when necessary, because sometimes they make me irrationally angry. Or sad. Or confused. Sometimes it can be inspiring, but sometimes it can be a burden. It can make you heavy. With an endless stream of content coming at us from all directions (but most often, from the palm of our hand) each day, we need to filter.

Repeat after me: I am not obligated to read and/or react to everything I come across on Tumblr.

3. Wasting time doing background checks on people I haven’t talked to in 5+ years

Sometimes I do this really weird thing where I get sucked into discovering every detail about a former acquaintance/peer/colleague’s life for about 15 minutes to an hour. It usually starts with one of their Facebook posts about some minor accomplishment. Then I’m on trolling on his or her page for people that I recognize, and I see that he or she is still friends with so-and-so from high school. PLUS they’re dating someone who works at such-and-such company, and hang on a second. THEY HAVE A KID? When did that happen? His name is Kane. He’s three. Oh look, there he is in the pool. What do we have here? Is that a backhanded comment about child support? Uh oh.

I have no personal stake in any of this information, and it doesn’t enrich my life in any way other than giving me something to talk about with people who also used to know that person around the same timeframe that I knew him or her. Yeah, it’s oddly entertaining and makes me feel omnipotent for a while, but it’s also distracting and time-consuming, and my time would probably be better spent watching TV or doing something productive with my life.

What bad social media habits are you dropping for 2015?

39 thoughts on “3 Awful Social Media Habits We Need To Stop in 2015

  1. As an “old” person, I only get involved in a fraction of social media that my kids (and grand kids?) do. Even so, I find myself falling into some of the same nasty habits you described. I’ve resolved to stop bitching about people’s annoying Facebook posts/statuses/slacktivism. If they bother me enough, I’ll just block them and move on. If I actually stick to it, something tells me my Facebook feed is going to end up being rather quiet. In addition, I’ll have to find new things to write about.

    1. HA! I’m always reluctant to block/mute people on Facebook, but I think I’m going to try and be more open-minded about it. Sometimes it’s better to just remove people from the equation.

  2. Social media will suck you dry if you let it. I actually find it much easier when even with personal accounts I think of myself as trying to become a public figure. I feel that mindset keeps me more focused on personality and putting out my work because I see the platforms as tools instead of places to kill my time. Of course, this didn’t hit me until yesterday so I’ll check back in 3 months and let you know how that goes.

    1. That’s an awesome way to approach social media. That way you keep things professional and ways to grow you personal brand instead of getting into all the drama that brings you down. Let me know how it goes!

  3. I do all of the above! I dream of the day when someone reads my tweets and thinks “Jeez how come she’s a writer in NYC – she’s not even that funny!”
    Great post as always. Happy New Year!

  4. I can relate to the first two quite a bit. I have an especially hard time with the second one, because it’s considered a good thing to want to change the world but no one focuses on what it can do to you to care about it all, all the time. The first one I’ve started to get better at ignoring…admiring what people do without saying, “you should stop doing it yourself because you’ll never get there.” And relatively less worrying about what people think of what I say.

  5. I’ve always been called an old soul. My Mom used to tell me that I was born 35 years old. I’m with you on the New Year’s Resolutions though! I’m making my first one (at 27) this year out of necessity. Necessity for my sanity, though I imagine that it coincidentally came about at New Year’s…

  6. I’m also a bit of a Negative Nancy when it comes to resolutions, but I decided to really lazily pick something super broad this year:
    Go into 2015 with my 2014 burdens gone. It’s a list I’m working on…It’s almost complete- so if all goes as planned, I’ll be done with my resolution before January is over & for the first time…EVER – I didn’t fail New Years.
    One of those burdens was something regarding Social Media…
    I was tired of mindlessly looking at people that either A.) Piss me off B.) Make me jealous C.) I want nothing to do with … so I blocked them. I had to make it physically impossible to look at their page…it’s pathetic, but I’m proud.

    Happy New Year, Katie!! 🙂

    1. That’s an awesome resolution and not lazy at all! I might have to go the blocking route, too. It’s too tempting to say, “I’m just not going to look.” I can’t NOT look.

      Happy New Year!!!

  7. Oh, and by the way…
    … I did check out my birthday: For some born on this day, sexually transmitted disease is a threat that demands careful precaution.
    I’m not making that up.
    (STD Free, By The Way – Keepin’ it classy)…

    1. OH MY GOSH, REALLY? So weird. I read mine and my boyfriend’s and was like, “Oh my gosh, so true.” But then I checked my mom and one of my friends and it was waaaaaaaay off.

  8. Good post. I am slowly breaking away from Facebook this year I think. It’s hard because we share our experiences living in Japan on there but it ends up sucking the drive out of me to blog it plus I’m just not drawn to scrolling the newsfeed much anymore….dunno, I’ll likely not change it in the end. haha I have been unfollowing some people lately so maybe that is the answer, friend them but don’t follow them. Then I think, what’s the point of friending them if I’m not following what they are doing? Meh!!! I’m really getting cranky about the religious posts. Planning on more time on WP, Twitter and Instagram and less on FB.

    1. Yeah, Facebook can really be a huge time commitment sometimes in a way that Twitter and Instagram just feel easier to post and go. I definitely want to spend more time managing my time on the computer more effectively overall.

      Happy New Year!

  9. Aargh so guilty, I swear I could have written this myself. (But not as cool probably). I make the excuse that because I work in the field (as a second job) I get paid to troll – but the reality is, I, like everyone else, end up 40 minutes away from what I started doing and it needs to stop. I love how you said you could be doing better things like watching TV…you crack me up. This just started my day and am smiling like a big idiot thanks to you. Happy New Year!

    1. It would’ve probably been cooler if you had written it, believe me. I need to limit my social media time, or at least use it more effectively.

      Happy New Year!

  10. I’m going to shorten up my comments on FB posts or blogposts. This one’s already almost too long. Going to quit acting like the thing they wrote is the funniest/most incisive thing ever and that they are so great that I’d have their children if it were physically possible and non-creepy somehow. Going to keep my longwindedness to my own blog and my own worship to my own writing and persona, because a writer needs a big ego along with the self-doubts. And quit with the overly congratulatory compliments.
    Fabulous photo in the Gravatar thingy there by your comments, by the way.

  11. I really have to stop looking at the FB page of my crush to see if he’s unfriended me, something I dread will happen as things aren’t going well, yet I probably wouldn’t notice if it happened (if I didn’t check his page continuously, that means) since we hardly ever speak anymore and his FB activity is the one of someone dead. Aka nada, null, zero. I also know that if I would see he had unfriended me, I would be super sad. And everytime I go to his page is like a semi heart attack: HAS HE OR HAS HE NOT? Totally mind torturing. I need to stop with that.

    1. Give it up!!!! It’s controlling your life. Limit your check-ins. I still check in on one or two old crushes to confirm they’re grosser that I realized at the time and that i’m so much better off. It’s probably an unconventional confidence booster, but that’s okay.

      1. Ha! I actually started considering him gross now. So I only check in to look at his disgusting party pictures. Lol.

  12. I’m not even a twitterer nor FB’er. I have neither.

    Oh well.. hence, I rarely pay attention to these social media tools. Whatever I say anyway, gets buried into short one liners and not searchable later on.

Don't you sass me! ...Actually, please do.

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