Ever wonder why I habitually ignore or am super slow to respond to most texts, calls, emails and/or Facebook inbox messages? Or why I rarely comment on or like your stuff even though I love you? (This even applies to my best friend and my daughter, FYI). Or why I recently deactivated my personal Facebook account despite it being my everything for so long? Or why I use Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter but don't follow others on these sites? Or why you can't leave comments here on any of my writings? Or why comments and thumbs up/down option have been disabled on all my YouTube videos?
Allow me to explain. But first, a quick lesson in getting "turnt" (to turn up) so you'll understand why I'm all about turning down even though none of the cool kids are doing it.
According to Urban Dictionary, "Turn Down For What?" is:
A rhetorical question used by teenagers. "Turn up" is the act of getting drunk and high and being reckless so "turn down" would mean sobering up. Turn down for what is really saying I am fucked up and will continue to be all night no matter what. The only appropriate answer to this question would be "nothing".
While the term refers primarily to drugs and alcohol, I'd like to include social media as another way to get "turnt", because it's an equal, if not greater, addiction in our culture right now with no signs of slowing down. Studies have shown that Twitter and Facebook are even more addicting than cigarettes and alcohol (no citation; I just remember reading it), which is no surprise, really.
Could YOU stop all social media for a day, let alone a week or a month or a year without feeling like you were missing out on "life" (namely other people's contrived lives) or would you end up feeling that your world suddenly had a gaping hole that nothing else could fill? If you love the drug like I do, I think we both know the answer.
Chances are high that most would turn down for one thing and one thing only: lack of WiFi. End of list.
If you're already hooked on the constant checking in and being a cyber voyeur, you know exactly what I mean.
So being that technology and social media have been two of my biggest passions over the past number of years (I didn't used call myself a Social Media Whore for nothing), my obsession has taught me much about what works and what doesn't (for me; you do you) online, and how I can best use these cyber treasures we've all been given access to.
More importantly though, I've also discovered that it's now time for me to stop whoring and start curating my beautiful collection and simplifying my cyber life. Yay for change!
MY CYBER LIFE BEFORE NOW
I lived and breathed Facebook more than any other site for years, and more than anyone else I knew. I was posting incessant updates about everything I was thinking and doing long before it became to norm to post incessant updates about everything you were thinking and doing.
When "pages" first came out way back when, I created 12 of them (excessive much? now I'm down to a few) because I just LOVED creating things online and the excitement of people saying yes to what I was offering by following my cyber spots. Now everyone has a page, as they should. Now that's the norm. The number of page invites is insane these days though. Right up there with game requests, friend requests, event invites, and being added to groups you never asked to be in from people you don't even know.
But I liked when things were new and the chaos and endless advertising had yet to begin. When I got to learn how it all worked before anyone else knew what the hell was going on. I ate it up like candy and had the time of my life!
Technology and social media gave me that joy. It still does. It's always evolving and giving me something new to play with and learn about and apply and that's how I became known for my online presence. I was always online because I loved it. Like LOVED it, loved it. And I was learning it like a boss before most people knew its potential.
But back then I was also quite extroverted (now I'm the opposite). I loved the engagement and I loved having the whole world at my fingertips. Everything was just one click away. I met almost all of my Mandyland Radio guests through social media and I also met many friends that way. I built my businesses exclusively online and my successes and accolades were due to what I was delivering through cyberspace. So why the hell would I want to give that up?
Well, I'm not giving it up entirely although I'm not opposed to doing that some day. But I am definitely "turning down". For what exactly? Sanity. Peace. Silence. Reconfiguration. Because it feels right to do. Because it's time.
I'm refining. I'm simplifying. I'm keeping the parts I love and tossing the rest, even if it means losing a bunch of followers along the way and not keeping pace with what's going on online and in the world. That's my kind of heaven right now.
WHY I DO WHAT I DO ONLINE
Without further adieu, here's how I navigate social media. Enjoy the novel.
Q: Why aren't you following anyone on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter?
A: Let's start with Twitter: Frankly, I don't enjoy Twitter in the first place so maybe I should rethink being on there at all. Twitter is the least personal cyber experience out there in my opinion, and I don't like feeling limited in how much I can express. BUT, I know many love it so for now I use it share links to my cyber goodies in case anyone on there isn't connected to me elsewhere. From what I see though, unless you're a celebrity, no one really cares about what you're tweeting so I don't understand the appeal of it. At least on Facebook I get to truly engage with others beyond an allotted word count. It's much more personal there. Plus, since I post on Twitter directly from Instagram or my website primarily, I rarely go on to check it. I can't imagine myself actually scrolling through people's random thoughts even if I was following a bunch of people. There are just better ways for me to spend my precious time.
As for Instagram & Pinterest, since words (not images) are my passion, the appeal isn't really there. Plus, I'm here to live my life; not follow the lives (or boards) of others. If they choose to follow mine, fine. But I'm not obligated to reciprocate. I use Instagram as my personal photo album and Pinterest as my cyber collage and I happen to let the world view both. That's all. I don't share my words from the heart on either one although I do post visual invitations to read them should they choose to check out my website. I'm not on Instagram or Pinterest to create an engaged following. I have that elsewhere. I'm there for the filters (IG) and the hair inspiration and beard admiration (PIN).
One Exception: Every week or every few weeks I do go to Robin May's Instagram account because back when I did follow others (the number was between 3 and 10 people - I was highly selective), she was one of them and her captions are filled with so much truth that I can't help but go visit and collect my favourite lines. Her images are stunning as well, but I'm there for her heart and vulnerability. So why don't I just follow her then? Because I don't want other people's realities in my feed. Period. Her stuff is great but I prefer to seek it out when I feel like it. Not have it show up unannounced.
All of these cyber displays we invite into our lives are feeding us every time we log in. It's like we're constantly watching television; scrolling through for hours until we find something good to watch but how good was it? Was it worth it? Do you like what you're consuming? Is it a healthy amount? What's the quality of it? Do you even care? I do. A helluva lot.
It's not that I don't like being inspired because I do. It's that I don't like being inundated with everyone else's opinions, problems, personal life, beliefs, words, and pictures and that happens 24/7 on social media and it's an endless saturation of cyber clutter that most are not even aware of. Now it's normal to spend hours of your day watching what other people are doing. And by normal I mean insane. You'll NEVER get that time back.
My personal goal is to infuse the cyber waves with truth and beauty and light and inspiration. I don't need the whole thing to change or people to change their habits. I just want to make sure that I'm adding to the quality of your experience while I'm on there should you chose to follow what I do.
Side Note: When I was running Too Good Triangles I used social media much differently because as a business it required something else entirely. On my TGT accounts, I had NO problem following oodles of people on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram because they were my customers (or potential ones) and it really mattered to me to be part of their world in the same way they were being part of mine. I enjoyed that.
But Mandyland is very personal. It's not "work"; it's my actual life and personal discoveries unfolding for all to see and it's my heart and soul expressed so I'm very protective of the little bubble I operate in.
Q: Why do you habitually ignore or are super slow to respond to my texts, calls, emails and/or Facebook inbox messages? (I will group all of this together since it's all cyber and not in person)
A: Hate me if you will, but here it is: Because those things are there for my convenience; not yours. Because I can no longer keep up. Because there are too many portals for people to get in touch and it's not healthy. Because I don't buy into the idea that I was put on this earth to meet the needs of everyone around me at the expense of caring for myself. Just because the phone rings doesn't mean I want to talk. Same is true for any other way you're trying to reach me. Because I've given more than enough to the world for a helluva long time and now I'm taking a break and it's all about me. Because I'm depleted and have nothing to give you. Because I don't want to. Because I was about to but got distracted and never came back to it (happens too often). Because I wrote my response in my mind without realizing I didn't actually write it and send it.
Because I hate small talk and if you knew me well enough you wouldn't have tried to engage me with "hey". Because there's so much more to life than being online (despite how much I use it). Because other things are a priority. Because I'm only one person with limited hours in a day (like you) and I do my best to spend them well (which often means ignoring the online world and completely letting go of other's expectations about what I should be doing). Because it's all too much once you add it all up. Because I'm overwhelmed. Because my limbs hurt. Because I give you a little and then you want even more. Because it takes a lot of energy to deal with you and I don't have it to waste trying to. If I happen to have the energy (and you're sane and you're not placing demands on me and it feels great), I respond right away. But even that's rare because almost all of my energy goes to me and my teeny tiny circle, my kitties, my healing and my creative expressions.
Want more? Because apart from me, Paige and Melanie are the only two people that truly matter in my life and the rest of you are just a beautiful bonus that I enjoy when time and energy allows. They come first, always. If today was my last day on earth, they'd be my priority so I live each day based on that potential reality.
Because I'm not concerned about hurting your feelings since I know I'm not responsible for them. If you're an adult and you have an issue with me, I leave it up to you to articulate it. Because my actions (or inactions) have NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with where I'm at in any given moment. Years ago I was open to everyone basically. It's not your fault I'm no longer like that. So please don't take it personal.
Because you're not the only one needing something from me. Because I don't know you or you creep me out or you're too needy or you're hitting on me or flirting with me and you're making me uncomfortable. Because I've said no and you didn't listen. Because no message IS the message. Because it doesn't feel good to connect with you. Because I no longer place much value on these methods of communicating (although I preferred it for years). I was all about non-personal engagement with those who were not in my sacred circle.
Because I want to be left alone. Because I'm in a creative phase. Because we no longer vibe. Because I've changed, or you've changed, and we're better off moving on. Because you didn't honour my boundaries when I articulated them and now I'm done. Because you cross boundaries, period, and you aren't in my circle so I don't feel the need to speak up about it. I just close the door. Because I'm an introvert and it's far easier for me to engage online publicly (it energizes me) than to use up my energy privately (which depletes me). Because I've been doing the online thing for many years now and I want out. Meaning, it was great when I loved it and when I was extroverted and genuinely enjoyed the constant interaction, but I've grown to resent being so accessible and to feel obligated to respond to everything that comes at me.
I can't and I won't.
I want the very least amount of access points into my private sphere while still being free to share and engage publicly. I post publicly to engage publicly; not to have you text or inbox me about what I've just shared (exceptions include those who are in my circle and people I have a genuine heart connection with).
Because maybe I'm an asshole.
Or maybe I've just become incredibly discerning and care deeply about each moment of my life and how I spend it so I fiercely protect my time and energy.
Q: Why do you rarely comment on or like my stuff or wish me a happy birthday even though it's clear you're online each day. I thought you liked me.
Well now that I've deactivated my personal account (see next question), none of this will apply any longer but here's what I would have said a week ago: Because I'm online for my purposes; not yours. Because I have never actively gone on another's profile to see what they're up to since I'm busy living my own life (exception is when I'm crushing on a boy. I always want to view his pictures and I actively creep his hotness without shame or apology). Because I avoid my newsfeed like a mofo since it drains me to see so much going on, especially when most of it doesn't add to the quality of my day. Because on the rare occasions I do go through my feed and am energized enough to comment and like, I do it like crazy on what's visible when I'm on and then I leave again. Because there is zero connection between my likes and comments and my feelings for you (I love Melanie and Paige more than any other people in the world and they rarely get cyber love from me). I'm not withholding it. I love them in ways that matter.
Because me being online doesn't mean I want to engage. I'm allowed to be online and do nothing. I can do what I want. Because I don't remember birthdays in real life and an external cyber cue doesn't make me any more likely to comment about it (although years ago I was really on the ball with cyber birthday wishing). Because chances are I don't even know you and even if I do, my love for you should not be measured by whether or not I give you cyber love. There's ZERO connection between the two.
Q: Why did you deactivate your personal Facebook account?
A: Because the costs outweighed the benefits. Because it was too noisy and dysfunctional. Because I hate receiving inbox messages (I'm on Facebook to engage publicly; not privately - with a few exceptions; mainly work related). Because I'm genuinely uncomfortable viewing some stranger's life unfold in the way that social media allows. Yes, I signed up for that and I share my world freely as well, but it doesn't mean I get the same pleasure exploring other people's lives that some people get from viewing mine. It just doesn't appeal to me. Because the friend requests, game requests, page invites, event invites, sponsored ads, and endless notifications drove me nutty. Because I don't like being added to groups I didn't ask to join. Because it's no one's business when I was last online.
Because most of the stuff in my newsfeed was junk and right now I'm not willing to clean up my friends list or take the time to curate my feed with the unfollow option. Because I needed a major break from it all even though that means reducing the number of people seeing my stuff. Not the wisest move for a social media hottie, but I need it. In terms of numbers, I'm now speaking to 1/4 or maybe even 1/5 of the people I was previously engaged with by no longer using my personal account. So be it.
Because using my public page relieves almost all of the stresses that my personal one caused me but it also means I'm missing out on the few things that brought me the most joy on there, like connecting with other awesome humans on my updates or coming across amazing links that inspire and make me laugh. I will miss that. But not more than I will love the simplicity of what I have now. I just hope that those who genuinely loved connecting with me on there will find their way over to my public page someday as I didn't give anyone notice ahead of time since this wasn't planned.
Q: Why can't I leave comments on this or any other posts on this site?
A: I write because I need to. I share publicly because I want to. By the time I've posted something, I've already moved past it. It's the process through which I understand myself and the experiences in my world. My goal is not to converse about it or get people to engage on the topic (exception is on Facebook. See side note below). My goal is to express my truth and if it happens to resonate with you, that's wonderful. But I don't need it to. Also, I don't need another cyber spot to keep up with. My website is my pride and joy and it's simple and beautiful and I want it to be a space that showcases my personal treasures; not a place that invites discussion on said treats.
Side Note: I am more than happy and genuinely LOVE to converse on my Facebook page about any and all of my posts. It is the one and only place where it feels amazing to connect with others online. Facebook will always be my cyber home and first cyber love and I consider those on my page to be my cyber family. There's lotsa love shared on the page. If you truly want to engage with me, that is the best place ever to do it because I'm there regularly and I appreciate EVERY interaction and I think I do a fabulous job at interacting with everyone on there (just like I did publicly on my personal page).
Email is another option of course if you feel the need or desire to share something with me (the link is at the bottom of every post). Please just keep in mind that I check and respond to emails monthly now, so it won't actually be your speediest route. Different if I ever have someone to deal with that area for me, but since it's just me, I choose to only truly engage on Facebook because it makes my heart the happiest.
Q: Why have comments and thumbs up/down been disabled on all your YouTube videos?
A: Because as you already know, people are fucking assholes on YouTube. Not all, but most, so why would I keep the door open for negativity and insanity to walk through my cyber door? Who needs it? Again, what I post online is because I feel the need to express something. I do that for me. I make it public for you, but your opinion on it (good or bad), has no bearing on what my soul needed to express that day.
Now you know.
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