I have become a social media hermit.

True, I do still make random appearances in the social media universe. After all, I need somewhere to post links to my blog posts. For the most part, though, I largely keep to myself as far as social media is concerned these days.

I suppose I should point out that I didn’t have any master plan to do this. I didn’t give up social media for religious reasons or to plug back into reality or to protest some random cause. I just kind of faded away. A day with no status updates here, a week not posting anything there, and all of a sudden I became more of a bystander than a participant.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about all this is that I’m rather enjoying my newfound reclusive nature. In the past, if I posted something to Facebook, for example, I would obsessively check every few minutes to see how many “likes” I had. If one of my tweets got retweeted, I was on cloud nine. I desperately needed that validation. Now, though, I find myself caring less and less about how much of my life I share on the internet.

Social media has actually been linked to depression in several studies, and it’s really not difficult to see why. Everyone on Facebook always seems to be on vacation or walking in perfect step with God or thriving in their marriages or raising the most beautiful children in the world. If a person is inclined to be depressed, there is very little room for honesty on social media. Negativity sticks out like a sore thumb and is often met with derision, scorn, and misunderstanding.

I’m not suggesting we need to fill our social media pages with brutal honesty 24/7, but maybe we can try to be a little more rounded in what we present. I know some of the most powerful moments I have experienced through social media have come not through celebrating the idyllic lives of people I barely know, but rather through being able to say to someone who is struggling, “Hey, I’m here for you. I don’t know what I can do, but I’m here.”

Happy times should be celebrated, and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to share them on social media. Goodness knows I’ve posted photo after photo of my kids winning awards, statuses and tweets in praise of my own achievements, and, yes, pictures from my latest vacation. If you are genuinely happy, you should share that with the world, because the world could definitely use some lights in the darkness.

For the time being, however, I have decided to just sit back and be an observer for a while. Oh, I’ll still poke my head out from time to time, but please don’t be offended if I don’t wish you a happy birthday or like your status or retweet the funny line you came up with. Social media is a world all its own, and right now I don’t feel very much like a part of that world. Maybe I just don’t need the validation as much as I used to. Maybe I’m depressed and withdrawing. Or maybe I just need a break.

Whatever the case may be, I’ll be in my cyber-hermit hole, if anyone needs me. You can still message me, tag me in posts, even share pictures you might happen to be in with me. Just because I’m withdrawing from social media for a while doesn’t mean I’m dropping off the face of the earth. You just have to know where to find me.

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