Why I'm not as active on online social media
It took a fateful post status from one of the people I follow which started this for me.
I read it, and thought, what a novel idea. I mulled over the idea, initially hesitating. It would be risky to stop interacting with people online, mainly because of how much I'm involved in community building and connecting. However, the thought of freeing my time to actually focus on more meaningful things that matter, and possibly filtering out the increasing Internet noise, became more appealing.
So about a week after reading that post, I did the same. I unfollowed every person and page I subscribed to, save for a handful of pages -- one on personal finance, two Techstars Startup Weekend community pages, Startup Digest community page, CoderDojo page, and Google Developers page. I initially followed one news page, Vox. But news outlet of the time were abound with war, Trump, 1MDB, and political corruption reports which felt toxic.
So I told myself, you know what? I'm better off using all those mental and emotional energy on myself. Besides, a wise man named Ghandi once said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world." So why not put all the effort on myself first so that I can impact the world? Or, at least, my world?
Silence and self-restraint
I cringe in embarrasement when I see Facebook status of people freely expressing their indignation or blurting unsavoury words of perceived self-righteousness. It made me question myself, too.
What am I reflecting on others?
What am I reflecting on myself?
Online social media of the digital age has replaced the mass media of the industrial era as a subtle and highly effective brainwasher, spewing out biases from everyone. The intensity of information infiltration is made even worse thanks to our Internet-instant access to such information. One good thing about everything online is that it's easier to filter.
So I made that choice, to filter the noise. I realised that the noise only made me lose my identity and my voice of what I truly feel. I have a lot of thoughts about women's rights and increased inclusion in technology, but thoughts are just that. Thoughts.
I know myself well and have more time to ACT on them instead of just TALKING about them. I get at least two hours per day back in my life that I can spend on doing things I love, like blogging, learning, building software, community events, and spending time with my kids.
I now have more time to spend on my No Distraction zone -- it's my personal daily timeframe to spend on work and learning, and it's a time block where I turn off email, instant messaging, and phone, to fully focus on my task at hand. And yes, planning on my world domination. No one can reach me when I'm in the zone.
The real reason
People tell me that I live a perfect life. I admit, my life is amazing. I'm single and hot, relatively healthy, have wonderful kids, supportive family, and I'm doing what I love. I live the life that I love. I strive to live the life I choose with intention and authenticity.
This doesn't make my life perfect. There are stumbling blocks along the way. Owning a business and freelancing aren't always very stable choices to be in. I wouldn't know how challenging it was, though, until I dived full-time into it since 5 years ago. Juggling and prioritising personal, professional, and family needs aren't always easy. I only eventually grew back into myself after years and years of learning from my mistakes, my fear, my anger, my sadness.
I still have a long way to go.
This led me back to self-filtering on social media. I know I'm hot, so I don't need to take selfies often hahah (to be fair, taking selfies takes a very specific skill that not everyone can do effectively). I'm constantly working, so I don't actually need to talk about that. That'll be boring. I travel often, but unless I need to journal it, or if it's with friends or to a place I seldom frequent, I wouldn't post about it online. It's none of anyone's business. I won't share news with you -- god knows how much of that you're getting. You won't see my dates or people I'm going out with. My private life stays private.
In a nutshell, I don't want people to perceive my life as perfect. It's not. Not posting online everyday doesn't mean that I'm not happy.
Here's my worry
The exposure I get from time to time online or through the press made people around me think that I'm living the perfect life, that "what you're doing is so inspiring", said a friend recently.
I had to honestly ask her back, "why is my life more inspiring than yours? I'm only living the life I choose. Aren't you?"
I think online social media helps perpetuate the "grass is greener on the other side" issue, which is more dangerous than all the negative world issues that's going on right now. It brings up more judgement, insecurity, envy and low self-esteem than it does inspiration, if you're not careful. And, sometimes, online social media brings on an unhealthy life perspective where it's easy to click on Likes and Shares and type-blurt words, instead of actually acting on doing what you feel is right, such as volunteering for a soup kitchen, or attending a beach cleanup.
I don't want to be part of that perpetuation.
My Facebook friends don't have to worry, though. I still keep track of my Facebook connections. Several times a week, I do so manually and when I have the time, by looking at my Friends list and reading their posts.
My WhatsApp list is still noisy enough that I don't have to visit Facebook often.