Social Media "Detox"
I have always been intrinsically opposed to technology. It always scared me, even before smartphones and social media. Over the years the "world" of social media has changed immensely. And I say world because it is a world, your "social media life" feels like a separate life from your real one. People are now making money, brands are taking advantage, and suddenly your profile is an amalgam of you as a person: the aesthetic, the themes, the filters. The moments you choose to share.
It feels inclusive which is possibly why it feels good. We're all laughing at the same memes together. You feel close to someone you don't know in a way you never could before.
That's interesting. It's intriguing. And I'm not over here on a high horse saying that I don't engage with it, because I do. But lately I'm finding that although it might bring momentary entertainment, it isn't bringing me happiness. I think because a lot of what I find on social media is becoming a bit disingenuous. There are exceptions, but most people are posting the curated versions of their lives. The best moments. I mean, for how long can we watch the same bloggers and models go on the same paid-for vacations and continue to be impressed by it?
Social media can be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, and inspiring. But my question isn't really with the quality of the content, but rather the quantity. How healthy is it to engage with social media the way we do now?
Before having an iPhone I would pick up a magazine occasionally, lazily flip through the pages, study the ads. I craved that sort of glamour, the curated content that magazines provided was fun.
But now, instead of engaging with this content on a weekly basis, we engage with it daily. Hourly even. That, I'm sure, is part of the reason why a lot of the memes I see are poking fun at the fact that we're all depressed and anxious. We're spending less time genuinely connecting (with ourselves and other people), and more time distracting ourselves with other people's best moments.
"Detoxing" from social media is a new fad I'm seeing thrown around, and I can understand why. But, like any detox, it usually implies a complete withdrawal and then a few days later right back into the exact same routine [PSA: Don't spend money on a "smoothie cleanse"]. Which I'm not sure is helpful, and I say that from experience.
I think about this a lot, and I've found a few ways that help me spend less time on social media and feel less jaded by the whole thing.
1. Unfollow people who don't make you happy.
This seems obvious, but you get to choose what type of content you look at, and also how much. Find people that are real, authentic, and inspire you in some way.
2. Do one thing at a time.
If you're watching TV, watch TV. If you're with friends, be with friends. If you're in a car, look out the window. We all carry our phones around with us like it's an extraneous limb that we can't be without. But you can. Put it away, and when you want to scroll through social media do it for a set amount of time, and not in conjunction with 10 other things.
3. Pick a day to put your phone away every week.
I don't do this every week, but I do frequently hide my phone in my drawer for hours at a time, much to the chagrin of people trying to reach me.
4. Do the human thing (and go outside).
Spend less time on your computer/iPad/phone and more time with people. Humans thrive on connection, and even though social media feels like connecting, it isn't the same as face-to-face. Or at least not for me. But then, I'm old school, and will continue to be one of those annoying people who asks for a typewriter for their birthday.