A social media detox

How do you combat a social media dependency?

In realising that I am a champion procrastinator and that I also may have ADD I noticed that one of my main procrastination tools is social media in all its forms. In order to combat this bad habit of procrastinating and fidgeting, I have decided to delete all social media apps off my phone. So today I am saying goodbye to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (Slight disclaimer: I am not deactivating my accounts, as I use them to promote the blog and to stay in touch with family who live overseas). My goal isn’t to stop using social media altogether, it is to be more present in my day to day life, and not be constantly looking down at my phone, scrolling through Facebook or twitter to get the latest bit of gossip or news.

While I will be keeping all of my accounts and checking them on my laptop, I will be limiting that to 60 minutes a day total, not including the time I use for blog promotion, but that will simply be sharing the link and nothing else, no scrolling, no liking, no memes.

This is hard, this morning I deleted Facebook off my phone at 11am, it is now 5pm and I cannot tell you how many times I unlocked my phone to scroll through Facebook, only to find it not there. This is what prompted me to delete twitter and Instagram too, because as soon as Facebook was gone, I substituted twitter and Instagram.

I used to think that social media addiction was a myth, or at the very least highly exaggerated, but it appears to be very much true in my case. I use it as not only a tool for communication but as a way to procrastinate and avoid what I should be doing, and giving myself the illusion of productivity. If I’m looking at my social media accounts for my blog, that’s work right? Not if I’m just mindlessly scrolling and looking at what other people have posted!

I discovered a term I’d never heard before today and that is “hate following”. Hate following is when you follow someone on a social media site just to see what they’re doing and then being annoyed by them either because you hated them to begin with or because they irritate you in some way, but you don’t stop following them because you get a weird kick out of being annoyed. This is one of the many reasons that I am beginning to believe social media is toxic. I try to be a good person, and to me, being a good person means not hating anyone, but if you dislike someone you are simply polite to them when you need to speak to them. Following them for the sake of being annoyed is a petty behaviour and is part of the reason I am finding social media more and more draining.

Cutting out these toxic behaviours is part of a wider effort to improve my life in a variety of areas and it is going to be a slow process, I am under no illusion that this will be quick and painless. It is going to be hard, and frankly it might suck.

I hope that by the end of this month, I will have kicked my dependency for social media entirely, and will simply use it in the way it was intended to be used, to stay in touch with friends and to promote my work.

Let me know if you’ve ever done a social media detox before and how it worked for you. 

 

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3 thoughts on “A social media detox”

  1. Agree with you on most of the points. I have tried to detox many times. But the problem is to slip back to old habits once you are back again. But with time, I also have found many solutions. I did basic 10 days vipassana, a kind of meditation, in which you are not allowed to have any kind of communication for the period of 10 days. And once you are out of that, you can feel the detox. The second solution is to make real friends and spend time with them. Besides this, I get into various musical instruments and started to spend more time in real activity, rather than the virtual one. But all this does not mean, I don’t use social media at all.

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  2. I’ve done a “detox” like this before when I was severely irritated by everything that showed up in my feeds. I would remove my “sticky tabs” off my browser, too, and log off the account every time I stopped in for a visit. I’m not sure if it freed up more of my time, but I did feel like I was more purposeful with my social media visits. The other side effect, though, was that I felt isolated from some of my friends that I have in real life and see on Facebook regularly. Ultimately, I’ve gone back. I’ll probably never delete them forever, but an occasional “fast” is much more likely to happen. It just felt good to take a break, until it didn’t!

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  3. I once took a year and a half off Facebook and Twitter. I really felt out of touch. Social media dominates our lives now and people talk about what they saw or what someone posted. I think a detox is good, an all-out ban isn’t healthy, either.

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