At 4:15 pm on Thursday the 1st of February I did it. I did the unimaginable. I deleted all social media apps from my phone. Twitter – Gone. Instagram – Gone. Snapchat? You guessed it, gone!
The challenge I set myself was to avoid these 3 for a whole week. From Thursday the 1st to Thursday the 8th of Feb I would be sans social media.( Quick disclaimer I did keep Facebook. I’m sorry if this is cheating for you, but for me Facebook isn’t really a social media I use it to find out about events on campus and societies).
Anyway, as I was saying I ditched it all. No more likes, pointless scrolling and bubbling envy. A social media detox was something I’d heard a lot about, and everyone had their reasons, what drove me was both overwhelm and emptiness. I was overwhelmed by social media, I was seeing too much of too many people. Too many opinions on Twitter. Too many pictures. Too much death and suffering. Too much conspiracy and secrecy. Is Kylie Jenner pregnant?, Did X and X break up? Donald Trump said what? Etc. I was becoming too involved in other people’s lives both famous and not, and worst of all I was getting frightened by how much other people were involved.
In terms of emptiness, I felt like I was wasting my time and other people were wasting mine as a result of social media. I’d be with a group of people and suddenly I’d look around and I was in an orchard, the number of apples I was seeing. Everyone would be on phones replying to tweets, snapchats or watching Facebook videos and it felt as if there was no point in making an effort because no engaging conversation was being had. It all felt empty.
One thing I’ve always believed in is if you don’t like a quality about someone else then you should look within yourself and weed out that same quality. So it meant it was time to detox. Remove it all from my bloodstream. In hopes of being more present. Reclaiming my time and improving my mental health.
And I’d say it was a success!
Over that week I facetimed, called and texted more people than I normally did. I read almost every day. I slept earlier. I actually paid attention in lectures! I cared less about pointless things that didn’t concern me and spent a lot more time with myself and my thoughts.
Would I do it again? Absolutely I’m doing it again as we speak.
Were the downsides, yes there were.
- I often search people up on Instagram if I want to put a name to a face and I couldn’t do that which annoyed me. (Google doesn’t cut it the pictures are all staged and poor quality).
- I sometimes felt the world was missing out on some amazing tweets and Instagram stories I would have put up (they really weren’t).
- But on a deeper level, in the first couple of days, I felt isolated. I didn’t see my friend’s faces via snapchat, I couldn’t contribute to the group chats or see the funny videos shared on Instagram. The detox stopped me getting absorbed in their internet lives but also kept me out altogether. I spiralled into this ‘lonely’ bubble. Until a small text asking how I was from a friend revived me again.
That’s when I learned my biggest lesson – social media really does have its perks, when used correctly and in moderation, it allows us to connect with loved ones and friends a lot quicker and stay up to date with their lives. And also that we should all reach out to each other more and try and have more meaningful conversations and connections.
To conclude this post, before it gets too long, definitely give a social media/digital detox a try, even if only for 2 hours or a day.
It’s so refreshing to have a break and it makes you rethink how you consume social media. Try and connect with people face to face, listen in conversations and put your phone away and bring back the phone call.
Hope you enjoyed,
Until next time.