With the start of the year, people often set goals, try to correct unsavory behaviors, and make changes in general. Between this and the election, you might notice some changes to your friend lists online. People unfriending and deleting profiles in droves hoping not to associate with those they disagree with or perhaps just trying to remove a time-sucking negative mood setting influence. Yes I’ve read the studies. I know what they say. But here’s why I won’t quit social media.
For me, the positive outweighs the negative. I have connected and reconnected with some of the most important people in my life because of social media. I have been able to maintain and nourish relationships and make new ones thanks to social media. I personally like knowing the people I know are doing well, and being there for them when they aren’t doing well. Social media has made distance less of an obstacle in building and maintaining relationships. Social media has helped me to make room for friendship in a chaotic world in which I barely have time to brush my hair.
And it’s more than that. I’ve been on Facebook for 12 years, since it all began. And before that, I was an avid user of America Online. You could find me dialing up and chatting with friends and making new friends online since the original social media started. And now, my life is literally chronicled on social media. All of my memories stay alive as I’ve recorded them there. I can always look back to remember what I did for my birthday 5 years ago or see what I was working on 10 years ago. I can relive my memories at the click of a button. Social media gets flack for only portraying what people want others to know. But for me, it’s more of a place to store the things that I want to remember. It may seem more peachy than not, but that’s what I choose to highlight in my book of life.
And while I’m well aware that social media is not the same as in person interactions, I find that unfriending people somehow feels like unfriending in real life. If I delete you there, then I have to be okay with never seeing you again. Most of the time, that’s a hard pill for me to swallow. If I’ve added you to my social media circles, it’s because I care about you in some way. It’s because I’m okay with you seeing what’s going on in my life. It’s because I want you in my life no matter how little or how often we may interact.
But I know that not everyone feels this way. I know people who don’t participate, or leave temporarily or permanently for their own reasons and I respect that. Just know that that won’t be me. I’ll always be here for you, right there on your friend list, as long as you’ll have me.