The world is more interconnected than ever before, and the last year has proved just how significant technology is in our daily lives. But what about social media? A 2019 study showed that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population uses social media. It’s an organisational tool for protests, a source of political debates and of course, funny dog videos! It’s pervasive in our daily lives. Last week, each day on average, I used social media apps on my phone for 3 hours – the largest portion of that being Instagram at nearly two hours!
There’s no denying that social media has become a huge part of modern life and yet you may find that spending hours on end scrolling through various feeds can leave you feeling anxious, drained, or dissatisfied. Ask yourself this: is it negatively impacting your mental wellness? How about your productivity and creativity? Is it taking time away from the activities that make you happy? If the answer to any of those is yes then it might be time for a social media detox.
What is a social media detox?
A conscious elimination of social media use and consumption for a set period of time, anywhere from 7 days to a year. You’re eliminating social media use and consumption. This means deleting and removing all social media apps from your phone.
What to consider before undertaking a social media detox?
If you feel like social media has taken over your life, if it preoccupies your mind, or if you find yourself constantly reaching for your phone, these might be signs that it’s time for a break. Consider these questions: how often do you reach for the phone? Is social media the first thing you check in the morning? Are you more concerned about the perfect Instagram picture than enjoying yourself in the moment?
Why I took a social media detox this year
I asked myself some of those very questions and didn’t like what I discovered. I figured the amount of mental energy we give our phones, specifically social media, could be put to much better use. A social media detox gives us a bit of clarity into this.
I decided to do 2 weeks of no social media (apart from work requirements) and it was eye-opening. I rediscovered my love for reading, starting crocheting again and established a morning routine that doesn’t involve my phone. I reminded myself of the type of content that I wanted to share. I’m never going to be sharing new products or a perfectly decorated home. I don’t have a TikTok and I’m not an expert at transitions.
But ultimately what I discovered is it’s not just about the amount of time you’re spending, it’s about what you’re consuming and who you’re consuming it from. I unfollowed or muted around 100 people and most importantly, for me, removed over 700 people from my followers’ list and looked for people who brought me joy. I took a step back from what I was sharing, or forcing, and thought about what I wanted to be sharing and creating. Even if that means posing topless with some flowers because guess what, it was fun and hilarious to be photographing with my husband!
Social media used to be harmless fun. Now, it’s all-encompassing and has evolved to be part of our daily lives almost every hour of the day. It’s how we consume most of our information. I just want it to be fun again, how it should be – how it was intended before we all became algorithm experts. It’s important to use social media with purpose and intention and that will look different for everyone. And that’s okay.