People have been speculating for years that too much social media can be bad for your mental well-being. A quick search pulls up several articles like these:
- Can too much exposure to social media lead to anxiety and depression?
- Teen depression and how social media can help or hurt
- Can Too Much Social Media Cause Depression?
I know. I know. The jury is still out on whether or not any of that is true, but I say this: It just can’t be good for your mental health to spend all your time watching the pointless political bickering and name-calling, all of the bragging, complaining, and countless number of pictures of people’s food (that one I really don’t understand), that come with social media. And, really, spending too much time doing anything can’t be good for you.
For me personally, I have been feeling down a lot lately. And I’ve also been spending too much time on Facebook and Twitter. The negativity out there right now is just too much. The constant name-calling and snarky insults polluting social media do nothing other than bring people down. And on the other side of the coin, bragging about whatever it is you want to brag about does nothing but feed your ego, and then possibly bring you crashing down when you don’t reach the arbitrary number of likes and shares you set to make yourself feel important. And watching other people brag all over social media sites, well, let me ask you this: Has your life every been enhanced by hearing someone brag? I’m not talking about sharing good news–I’m sure I’ll post pictures when our fourth kid is born–I’m talking about bragging. Do you really need to know how well my mutual funds are performing? No. Of course not.
So what does this any of this have to do with writing?
In a word, everything.
A writer’s most important asset is time.
Time is the one thing you can’t get back and every second wasted is like committing a crime against yourself.
Let’s share an example. Last night, I was struggling with what some people might call writer’s block, but I call a lack of motivation. So what did I do to procrastinate? I went to Facebook and scrolled down until I reached the point of where I left off last time I was on Facebook. And do you know how long that took? Forty minutes.
FORTY F’N MINUTES.
I spent half the night complaining to my wife that I don’t have enough time to write, and then spent 40 minutes procrastinating and watching people bicker about which political team is better.
So 40 minutes there, and lets just say for fun I spent another 40-50 throughout the day, rounding to an hour and a half.
It’s one thing to spend 90 minutes doing something to help make yourself a better-rounded person, or progress to your goals. But to spend it on something that only makes you feel…yucky? No. Stop. Stop it now.
So I do know people who have walked away from Facebook and Twitter for those very reasons. Me? I can’t. I think it’s important for my writing to stay there. I don’t have a ton of followers on my Facebook author page, but I do think it’s important to maintain it an continue to build a list of followers on it, as it’s one more way to connect with an audience.
And as for Twitter, I know the negativity and hashtag groupthink is also present there, but it’s not as prevalent, and it seems to me for every one negative tweet I see ten or more positive ones. I also use Twitter (quite effectively I hope) for connecting with other authors, editors, and publishers.
So I guess after all this, I do have a point in here somewhere, right?
Right. My point is to simply be careful with how you use social media. If you’re spending too much time on it, and absorbing all of the negative vibes it can send, you really need to step back and ask yourself if there are better ways to spend that time.
For me, the answer is “yes.” There are a million better ways to spend my time and writing is very close to the top of that list.
So thanks for reading, and if you think I’m crazy for this post, please leave a comment and tell me why 🙂