Three or four months ago, I made the decision to get rid of all my social media accounts. There were several reasons, both personal and professional. I was bored of constantly comparing myself to others, of worrying about how many 'likes' I had got on Instagram or retweets on Twitter. I was sick of questioning my 'brand' because that is a ridiculous thing to do, and I was too busy deep stalking someone I went to primary school with on Facebook to get anything done in life.
At first, it was weird. Without Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on my phone, what on earth to stare at while waiting about three minutes for a friend to arrive for dinner, or as soon as I woke up in the morning? What on earth to do with this beautiful, beautiful picture of a sunset on my phone? How will people know that I saw it?! What if everyone thinks today's sunset was mediocre?
After a few weeks though, I started to really feel the benefits. I had my time back, I had my focus and attention back (mostly), I wasn't as worried about what other people thought or what other people were doing. It was nice to catch up with friends and for them to show me pictures of things and tell me stories, rather than guessing about their lives through curated images.
So of course, just when I was truly comfortable with my decision, feeling great about life, I was told by a friend in the TV industry last night: 'giving up social media was the worst decision you ever made.' The worst decision I ever made! Worse than that time I tried to climb up the side of a castle in Scotland, in the middle of the night, drunk and in flip flops? Worse than the time I ordered those $1 oysters in a really dodgy sports bar in New York? The actual worst decision ever.
Apparently right now I don't have a voice, and to the media world I might as well not exist. Now I trust this friend, and she knows the industry well, so maybe that is indeed the case. If it is though, here's my counter argument: I have always had things to say. Everyone has and everyone always will. I will always be able to find someone to listen. It might be my mum, it might be a room full of people, it might be a TV audience of thousands or a blog audience of about 12. But just because I don't have any social media doesn't mean I don't have anything to say. If that is suddenly the barometer of whether someone has an opinion or not, then that is truly a sad thing. I don't think that's the case though, and I think we sometimes forget that it is our choice, and ours only, how we choose to express ourselves, in what forums and to what audience.
So here I am, talking to you. Share this or don't share it, whatever. Then close your computer, leave your phone at home, go outside, and enjoy the sunset.