Social media is defined as “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.” Some examples of social media include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and the list goes on and on. Over 1.5 billion people utilize Facebook and that is not even counting the other heavily utilized social media platforms. I am one of those people.
I have a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and semi inactive Twitter account (only because I have no clue how to “Tweet”.) I utilize these platforms mainly for business purposes but I have one “private” Instagram account (how ironic really, because there is nothing private about it.) I spend a minimum of twenty minutes to “on average” two hours or less, on social media per day. This time is mainly devoted to my business but who would I be kidding, if I said I didn’t do mindless scrolling and clicking. It is when I get trapped in that cycle, that I know I waste the most time. The real question is, why do I do this? Why do most of us do this?
So with anything in life, there are certainly pros and cons involved with social media. I mean first and foremost we get to connect and network with people from all around the globe. Over 1.5 billion people on Facebook alone, it is safe to say our network multiplies like rabbits, when we are on social media. We have this unique opportunity to expose ourselves to so much more, than if we were just restricted to our personal and professional networks. We would be limited to just who we know naturally which is a pro and con, depending on your purpose.
The most negative part about social media is the addiction to it (please tell me others feel the same too.) If you do not believe it is an addiction, just step out to a public place and take a look at all the rounded necks. It is absolutely insane to witness. Everyone is participating in someone else’s life, except their own.
I mean for my own observations and experiment I have been much more cognizant of this. I notice that pretty much every person in a restaurant is eating, scrolling and ignoring the person they are in the company of. More often than not, that person is scrolling too. I thought in my head, ugh, this is an epidemic. It is everywhere though. Work, walking here or there, exercising, eating, I could make an endless list. People are disconnecting by connecting. What an oxymoron, if you ask me.
To be honest and maybe this sounds cold, I am exhausted when it comes to investing my time in people, who constantly check their phone. When in a conversation with others it would only be polite to be respectful and put the phone away for 8.12 seconds. I truly yearn for face to face, undistracted conversation with others.
So as I looked in the proverbial mirror and saw I was just as guilty of the same sometimes, it was at that moment, that I decided I needed a break from social media. I longed to disconnect to reconnect and reunite with just living “simplistically” again.
In my case checking social media became routine, like brushing my teeth. Almost like a drug (sounds dramatic but I am dead serious), I had this robotic routine. I would check it for a few minutes every morning right when I was having my coffee and breakfast. Then all day long, I would visit in small increments just “catching” up on who knows what. Sitting here or there, ahh might as well check out social media. Every free second of the day was just filled with mindless scrolling. The ironic part was, I was never actually “free.”
I mean the uncanny part about social media, is that it provides you with this false connection and a bogus tie to people, we do not even know. So many times people will say, oh wow I saw this post or that post of yours and it almost seems like a privacy violation, yet it is not because we choose to share it. We are so open, then so surprised, when we have zero privacy. Yet we have no problem opening our book of life up, for anyone to read. We have created this monster of always feeling “connected.” When in actuality, it could not be further from the truth. People are more disconnected than ever.
I remember one time seeing someone who I was friends with on social media out in public, out of the computer realm, OMG people actually exist in real life. Well, that person politely said hello and we exchanged the normal how’s it going bit, perfectly sweet and effortless. There was one problem though. When that person left, I was feeling quite perplexed, as I was left wondering how I “knew” them. It turns out we were Facebook friends.
I mean you can have as many followers, friends whatever you want to call them as you want. The problem exists because we feel like we’re friends but that is not possible with strangers. I mean reflecting on it all, it is just our need as humans to feel validated. In exchange, it brings us to this point of developing false relationships with people. Can you believe thirty-six people liked my picture, on vacation in Dubai? Weird, I actually only “know” three of them. We have to ask ourselves, how much sharing is too much sharing? When is enough, enough?
One of my biggest cons was I would have certain tasks that I would want to complete and then by the end of the day, only some of it would be done. When peeling back the layers of the day, it was because I spent on average, two hours or less, on social media both professionally and personally. I lost focus easily and then by the end of the night I was kicking myself in the butt because I was left with that days responsibilities piling up for tomorrow. It was like a vicious cycle.
You see we are always immediately available to everyone via our devices. Email, social media, text messages, phone calls etc. We have to immediately answer to quench other’s needs. I have to tell you that it can wait. There is never a moment when I was just at peace with a naturally quiet mind. I would mistakenly think, that sitting quietly and scrolling through these sites was “rest” but I knew better, because my mind was begging for a break. It never stopped, even when I thought it was.
In all honesty as I work to change my life and become the person I need to be, I find I roadblock myself unintentionally. I was inadvertently bringing my own energy down. If it is not the laundry list of complaints littering social media, it’s bad news, political debates, medical debates, people passively aggressively fighting with others, the keyboard warriors of social media, just setting this unexplainable toxic tone.
Out of every ten posts, there is maybe one really positive one. When people are happy on Social Media, most followers refuse to share those feelings with others publicly, instead mocking the person on the social media sidelines (we all know the keyboard warriors.) As I was reflecting I thought why is it so natural to question why people are happy? Aren’t we supposed to be joyful? It is like the world is addicted to fighting, being miserable and consumed with what everyone else is doing, except what really matters, ourselves.
So as I conclude this detox, I am now a little over three days free from Social media and guess what? I am still here to tell you about it! Initially I only set a goal of one day but I felt so fantastic, one day turned into two days, which turned into three days. Believe me, I am not trying to sell ice to an Eskimo but I have to tell you, to be fair, the following things I have observed personally, by participating in this involuntary “detox.”
- I have more clarity
- More energy
- More focus
- I slept like a baby
- Fewer interruptions
- I have made gourmet meals
- I spent even more time with my kids
- I have been a better wife
- I have been happier
- I have felt more hopeful with humans
- I read a magazine
- I read some of my book which I have been turtle pace reading and still never finishing
- I have used more of my creativity
- I have focused on self-care
- I have focused on working out again
- I listened to music
- I was more mindful
- I was able to truly listen to the people who matter
- Given decent advice to others
- I was a better friend
- More helpful, without feeling stressed
- My safety has improved, I have not used my phone while driving (This one is huge)
There is a lot more, trust me. This has been life changing.
Again, I am not trying to sell ice, to Eskimos but if you are feeling foggy, overstimulated or just bla in general, I highly suggest trying this out for yourself. You will be completely stunned at how free, mindful and optimistic you feel.
My new addiction is feeling like this longer. However, I know social media is an amazing tool, which has opened up the world to us. Now, I just promise that I will only open it up, a little at a time.
Continue “Doing Life” your way, not theirs.
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