Social Media Fast
Do you ever sometimes feel caught in a rut or maybe you are not feeling as excited about life lately? I get this way sometimes and then I watch some motivational TedTalks to help me change my perspective or help me change some of my daily habits. The last time I felt kind of in a rut was just a few months ago and I stumbled upon this video “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong” by Amy Morin, click below to watch it.
In a nutshell she is asking you what daily habits do you have that are keeping you from being mentally strong. She opens with talking about social media and how researchers have found that envying your friends on social media leads to depression. I am sure you have heard this before as well but for some reason it really stuck this time. I never considered that I could be playing the comparison game while on social media, I just thought I was looking at my friends and what they are up to with their family. It seems harmless enough right?!
For our anniversary on May 22nd I booked a hotel stay for Chris and I and our 3 corgis. Here we are having a picnic lunch at our B&B (smile Chris).
We had a wonderful time and it was great to be away from the house where I live and also work. At the Bed and Breakfast they have Netflix (we aren’t subscribers) so I was running through a mental list of documentaries and movies that friends had recommended to us. I remembered someone had said we needed to watch “The Social Dilemma” documentary about social media.
The interesting thing is that before I booked our stay, Chris and I had decided to try not being on social media for just the time we were away. “Let’s put our phones down and feel completely disconnected” I said. So then we started watching the documentary and if you haven’t seen it, then please watch it when you have a chance. It is all about how social media is now run by big business or countries who are trying to manipulate you to vote a certain way or companies trying to persuade you to buy a certain product. Social media is intended to make you addicted so companies can see how long they can keep you on these apps to advertise to you. The biggest take away from that movie was that all of the people in the tech industry who are creating and working on these free social apps will NOT allow their own children to use them. If that doesn’t speak to you about how corrupt these platforms are then I don’t know what to say.
I have been on Facebook since 2008, that was before smartphones and back in those days we would upload all of our pictures we took on our digital camera to then post on Facebook. What a chore that was!
This is also the time when Facebook hadn’t gone public so they didn’t have any shareholders to please so we were able to actually see all of our friend’s posts and not a constant barrage of advertising. Around 2011 the smartphone was introduced and our lives and world would change forever by being constantly connected to the internet. So using a platform like Facebook continually for 14 years they knew how much time I would spend on it on average per day. The first day I decided not to open my app I was receiving emails from FB telling me that certain friends had posted and that I should look to see what they were saying. I had at least 6 emails from FB in 1 day and ironically enough the documentary we were watching was showing just how these bots try to keep us connected by sending emails or notifications on what our friends are doing or posting to reel us back into using the app. Unbelievable! Of course I didn’t click on any of their links to take me to my page. Like I said before, Facebook’s job is to keep you engaged and addicted as long as possible so you can be manipulated by advertisers.
I have been off of social media for a little over a month now and I feel INCREDIBLE! I am not going to lie, the first few days were really hard because checking my social media was just a routine that I had every day. One thing I didn’t realize is how addicted I was to scrolling. Instead of scrolling on social media I would go to my camera app and scroll through all my old pictures just so I could still scroll but not look at social media while doing it. We have trained our brains to never be bored and to constantly look for engaging stimuli. Think about it, our home pages are a mixture of our friends, businesses, influencers and just in general all the things we like or are interested in so of course it is going to keep us engaged because the content is never boring! My screen time was so out of control, I would be on there for HOURS! Just the other day I checked Instagram and it told me I am using the app for 4 mins per week now, when I’m sure it was 4 hours per day before. Since not being on Facebook or Instagram for so much of my day leaves lots of room to work on projects I have had on my “to do” list for quite some time. Our front yard and back yards look amazing and I am continuing my deep cleaning of the house, one room at a time. Also, having more quality time with family and loved ones without all the clutter in my mind of what is happening on social media that I cannot control has given me so much peace in my life. I have found that I am more creative and happier than I have been in a long time. I think seeing so many beautiful furniture upcycling posts on social media was actually discouraging me because I was comparing my work to others. Plus, following the people who check off their massive “to do” list for their day and made it seem like they did a million and 1 things in their day but here I am watching their stories and can’t get anything accomplished on my list was incredibly discouraging and defeating. I have no one to blame except myself because I am the one subjecting myself to this content. I have freewill to not watch or look at these influencers and yet there I am just staring at my screen watching them live their life when I need to be living my own. Currently, I am staying active, reading lots of books and being connected to my church and community. I am so thankful that now I am in control instead of these apps having control over me.
I had so many excuses why I couldn’t get off social media… “I have to stay on because I have a business.” “I need to stay connected so I can see what my friends and family are up to.” “I get my news on social media so I won’t know what is happening in the world.” The list goes on and on! I love what our Pastor has to say about excuses, “Excuses are like armpits, everyone has them and they all stink.” Going forward I will have a healthier approach to using social media. I will post on my business page, reply to comments, make occasional stories and reply to messages but I will not be scrolling on my homepage anymore or liking and watching stories. I know that probably sounds selfish to some but that is the only way for me to use these apps in a healthy way so customers know I am still alive and working on projects and selling paint. Since being away from social media I have only had 3 friends/followers reach out to me to check and see if I was okay since I was not posting regularly like I used to. Out of the thousands of friends/followers I have I was pretty shocked to not get many messages since my absence from social media was unannounced.
I hope this has inspired you to take a break from social media or delete your accounts. I know this sounds counterintuitive for a business to be posting about deleting the main way that I advertise and connect with you but I feel so strongly that your life will be so much better if social media was not in the picture because I realize how much better I feel being set free from the bounds of these apps. I have a challenge for you… I am going to challenge you to a 30 day Social Media Fast. That means not using any social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ticktoc, etc for 30 days. Start by telling yourself it will be for just 1 day and then the next day tell yourself it will be just another day until you reach the full 30 days. Take note of how you react to not being on social media, write it down! If you think you have what it takes to do the Social Media Fast I want you to send me a message (yes, I still check messages) or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you are starting this challenge. I will be your cheerleader because I know you can do this! So while you are off of social media I want you to do some homework.
- Watch the YouTube video I recommended The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin | TEDxOcala
- Watch “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix https://www.thesocialdilemma.com/
- Read “Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now” by Jaron Lanier and learn about BUMMER.
The only way we can defeat these social media giants is for them to not have any customers to advertise to. We need to put ourselves in control and not let these companies, other countries and big business frame our thoughts, feelings and emotions. If you think you aren’t being manipulated by social media, think again!