I Gave Up Social Media – Here’s Why It’s Time You Take A Break
Social media and the internet in general is a huge part of our lives. Most of us are on these platforms everyday, and maybe even hours at a time.
They are fun, entertaining, and you can access some of the smartest, coolest, most amazing people in the world from your phone. Now, we’ve all heard the downfalls of social media so no need to remind you. Personally, I was experiencing every single one of them.
A couple of days ago, my now fiance and I returned from a week long road trip around the Southwest United States. She had the amazing idea to delete all social media apps from our phone. Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Snapchat, Pinterest, Onlyfans (kidding), and even Twitter.
It seemed like such an easy thing to do but even as I was deleting the apps from my iPhone I felt like I was doing something wrong. This feeling of guilt was obviously a huge red flag and caused me to delete any and all apps I don’t use along with the social media ones.
Writing this article made me think of something I wrote just a few weeks ago when I gave up caffeine for 30 days.
The whole point of this was not relying on anything to make me feel the way I should feel as a human. Our bodies are capable of amazing things and I trust mine to look out for me if I take care of it.
I’m a human, you are a human, we are capable of some great things but having our bodies, in this case our minds, addicted to something is a problem. A problem we need to address and fix sooner rather than later.
Social Media Is Built To Control Us
Let’s not get it twisted. You’re fighting a losing battle. These tech giants have some of the smartest people in the world working for them. These super-smart individuals’ whole job is to keep you on the app as long as possible. That’s it.
These are psychologists, data scientists, and designers all with the intention of keeping you hooked. Why? The longer you stay on the app, the more money they make. Sometimes this is from ads, other times it is from new paid subscribers.
These companies are judged by how often people use the app, how long they use the app, and who is new to using the app. When these numbers go up, so do their valuations, especially if they are publicly traded. On the other hand, when they go down, the companies can lose hundreds of millions of dollars of value very quickly.
Long story short, it is in their best interest to hold your attention for as long as possible. That’s why they pay these incredibly smart people ridiculous amounts of money.
If you want to learn more about the science behind social media check out these resources:
- What’s the Science Behind Social Media Addiction?
- Infographic: The science behind social media addiction
- The Science Behind Your Social Media Addiction
Deleting all social media from your phone, going on a 3000-mile road trip, and only being with one other person would usually seem like a recipe for disaster. Luckily, it turned out to be the exact opposite. Without the constant distraction of checking our phones we were able to have more personal conversations.
I’m not saying we didn’t have these before but they just felt better and more sincere.
We’ve all been in those situations where you are trying to talk to someone and they pull out their phone and start scrolling. I’m guilty of it myself and my replies are usually just “yup”. I’m hearing you but I’m not really listening to you.
In addition, I left my phone in the car or at our Airbnb more because I didn’t need it. Let’s be frank, I didn’t need it before but with my phone holding those magical social media apps I felt like I needed to have it. What if I missed something? Truth is I wasn’t missing anything besides being in the present moment.
Your phone isn’t a part of your body. Sure, it’s a tool to make our lives easier but you don’t need to take it everywhere.
The last major positive thing that came from it was I felt a deeper connection to the people I care about. I guess I haven’t mentioned it yet but I proposed on this trip! That fiance I mentioned at the beginning of the post? Well she’s only held that title for less than a week.
Usually an engagement is something people blast all over social media as soon as it happens. Yes, we have shared things but almost a week later. This gave us the opportunity to call and text family and friends. Their responses meant everything to me. Talking to them one by one means a million times more than any “like” can on a post.
I had the feeling that deleting social media would make people forget about us. A selfish thought? Sure. What it made me realize is that the world will always be there but the individuals that truly matter to us won’t.
I personally need to do a better job of using my time to talk to these people and become even closer to them. I encourage you to do the same. I guess what I’m saying is I need to do a better job of acknowledging the difference between real life and life on social media because they definitely aren’t the same.
You know what I’m saying?
Give It A Shot
If you wake up every morning and the first thing you do is scroll your Instagram timeline or check your snaps, then I would argue it is time to take a break. I would always feel the need to check my email knowing the only thing I was going to get was some spam that I didn’t care about.
If deleting everything all at once seems like a crazy idea then just start with one app. For instance, I haven’t had Facebook on my phone for over a year. I check it maybe once or twice a week and as soon as I’m done with my schooling, I will delete my account (I receive notifications and assignments through Facebook). It adds no value to my life and the people that I want to know what I’m doing are usually the ones doing it with me.
So why even have it?
Since being back, the only app I have re-downloaded is Twitter. I’ve said it a dozen times but I get a ton of value from Twitter. Having access to some of the leaders in finance, technology, and the internet brings me a lot of happiness. I think it is value that I can’t get anywhere else.
And that’s okay. I’m not saying that social media is the devil and we should all boycott it. There are some amazing things that come from being connected like we are now. If these social media apps are truly adding value to your life, you don’t have to delete everything. I just encourage you to use them responsibly.
So I am tasked with watching how I consume things on Twitter and other social medias if I decide to re-download them. The scrolling mindlessly needs to end. In addition, checking every ten minutes won’t change anything. Those are mental notes to myself but I’m guessing you experience some of the same actions as well. Mental notes for me, suggestions for you.
The Bottom Line
I think social media has it’s place in society and they do have value. Being able to see your family and friends half way around the world or interact with people you aspire to be like is a great tool.
But do the negatives of social media outweigh the benefits?
Feeling the pressure to be someone you aren’t because you want to impress people you don’t even know makes no sense. Mindlessly scrolling on a website when you could be playing with your kids, building something, cooking, reading or doing literally anything else makes no sense.
All I’m saying is we have to be smarter than these tech giants. Understand and think about what you are doing because if it isn’t going to help you get where you want to be in life, then why are you doing it?
Remember what you see on social media isn’t real life. Make sure your use of social media isn’t taking away from making the most of the life that’s happening right in front of you.
If you liked this post then please share by hitting the icons above and if you want to read more articles here are my latest:
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