I love to learn. Knowledge rocks my world. When meeting someone new, I secretly wonder, like Emma, “is he a man of information?” I get a rush from being an early adapter, from knowing the news, from being well read.
Social media was made for a person like me. I was a little late to the blogging party (2005), but thereafter, when I heard about a new way to interact, I was on it.
Last summer, though, everything changed. I found myself spending far too much time on Facebook, reading posts that did little to enrich my connection to friends. Sure, meaningful communication can happen there, but with nearly 400 friends, no way could I imagine that real relationship building was happening with more than a few folks. At a time when I crave community more than ever, I was losing sleep from anxiety.
After some long, hard thinking, I made a decision. I posted a statement on Facebook that read
After coping with information-overload-induced anxiety, I’ve decided to use FB in a different way. I’m eliminating my friends list (not eliminating our friendships, though! email me any time!) and remaining in a few groups that communicate only here. I know you will all understand and tell me about the big ups and downs in your lives by email, phone, or in person. MWAH
Facebook doesn’t make it easy to delete friends. Honestly, though, I thought more about most of my people while I culled the list than I had in a while. I whittled the list down to about 50 people. There were some hard choices, but with very few exceptions, I deleted
- Family (I can email or call them any time)
- Acquaintances from real-life circles (if we haven’t become more than acquaintances yet, chance are we won’t)
- Co-workers (we see each other at work; I’ll hear their news there)
- People I don’t really know (see acquaintances)
On my list I kept a few very close friends. Even though we can communicate other ways, I like to see Sara’s pictures, and Sarah’s videos of her hilarious kids are, well, hilarious. Pals from my NY and my NM days stayed on the list, as did professionals whose work I admire and want to be certain to hear about.
I still use Twitter regularly. I don’t feel overwhelmed there. When a conversation gets going there, I shift it to email. I’m on Ravelry every day; I love to see what my crafty peeps have posted. I stopped using Instagram and renewed my relationship with Flickr. Why did I need two places to share my shots? I hop on Facebook a few times a week, but it no longer overwhelms or distracts me.
I’d love to hear how you handle information overload when you feel it.
On that note, I’m honored to be included in Be More With Less’s Simplicity in Action series. If you’re visiting from BMWL, welcome!