On average, people spend over two hours a day on social media. Two hours a day wasted on scrolling, liking, commenting, and mindlessly scrolling some more. And that’s only the physical time spent on these platforms. That doesn’t even factor in the time people spend taking photos, thinking about what to send out into the void, or analyzing when the best time to post is. I want to reclaim that time.
There have been countless articles and conversations about the impact of social media on our brains, the most notable, to me, being Simon Sinek’s conversation about Millennials in the workplace and social media addiction. While I don’t necessarily agree with Sinek on everything (and I have plenty of ideas on Millennials in the workplace that are vastly different), I do think we as a society are addicted to social media and the validation we get from likes and comments.
We check platforms every few minutes. We use them to entertain us when we are waiting for our coffee to brew or our webpage to load. We lean on them to fill any empty amount of space in our day. I check social media without even meaning to check social media. My fingers will mind-numbingly find the icons on my phone every time I open it out of sheer habit. It’s time for that to stop.
This is incredibly embarrassing to admit, but I think it’s time someone did.
The other day I posted a photo on Instagram, and I didn’t get nearly as many likes as I thought I would. We all think about that, right? Especially as a blogger, we want to post content that people will like. Why else would we post it? But I let it bother me. I let it influence how I felt about myself. I thought because I didn’t get as many likes as I had on other photos, people didn’t like me. That’s insane. I’m letting a network that is supposed to connect me with friends (which is ever so important now that I don’t live five minutes away from them) determine my self-worth. And I’m done.
You heard me. I’m quitting social media.
To be more precise, I’m quitting harmful social media. Social media that makes me feel like crap about myself or wastes hours of my time. I’m saying goodbye to two of the biggest platforms out there — Instagram and Facebook.
As a blogger who relies on social media to promote her work, this is going to be harder than it is for some other people (not that it isn’t hard for everyone) because I need to share my work. I can’t just hope someone is going to stumble upon my blog, so I’m going to utilize tools like HootSuite to help me continue to post and share my content. I’m mainly going to be sharing on my blog’s Facebook page and taking a break from my personal page, so make sure to follow it to get updates on all my latest posts if you aren’t already.
Even though I’m going to continue sharing my work, it doesn’t mean I’m not quitting these social media platforms. I am. I promise. You know why? Because I’m not going to frantically check Instagram every five minutes after I post a new photo. I’m not going to think about what everyone else is posting or if by my lack of posting, I look like a loser. I’m not going to care about the two likes I get on my most recent Facebook post because you know what, it doesn’t matter. Whether it’s two likes or two million, my worth isn’t defined by it.
Don’t get me wrong. Social media presence is important (as we can all tell by my plan to still post content to these sites). Especially if you’re a blogger looking to grow your audience. But it shouldn’t consume over two hours of your waking time. It shouldn’t distract you during work. And it definitely shouldn’t make you feel like you are anything less than amazing.
So, I quit.
I’ve always been a person who goes all in (I quit carbs for an entire month without any lead up to it — that blog post will be coming soon). I don’t know how to do anything halfway.
So, I’m deleting all social media applications from my phone, and I’m setting up a blocker on my computer, so even in my moments of boredom, I won’t be able to inadvertently check Facebook.
I’m deciding to do this social media cleanse as another social media platform is coming onto the scene — Vero. Vero claims to bring the social back to social media removing ads, algorithms, and bots. It promises to show people what they want to see and encourages genuine engagement between users. I haven’t hopped on that bandwagon, and clearly, I don’t plan to anytime soon because I think the last thing I need in my life is another social media platform .
To be perfectly transparent, I am cutting out Instagram and Facebook entirely from my daily life while trying to minimize the time I spend on other social platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube. At this time, I feel like I have an unhealthy relationship with social media platforms focused on the amount of likes you get (Facebook and Instagram) that is affecting my mental health. Plain and simple, they make me feel bad about myself. And why would I want to constantly indulge in something that makes me feel that way? Other, less traditional, social media platforms fuel my creativity (Pinterest), inform me about the world around me (Twitter and YouTube), and provide me with a direct form of communication with my best friends (Snapchat). I’m going to be partaking in this challenge for the month of March. Who knows if I’ll make it? Who knows if I’ll just continue it? But I think it’s time to find out what happens when I put down my phone.
I know this is an insane challenge to give myself. I know it’s going to be nearly impossible for me. But I’m really excited for what it could bring. Who knows how much more creating I can do when I’m not mindlessly consuming other people’s content?
Questions about how I plan to tackle this challenge? Comments about how you kind of want to try the same thing (because let’s be honest, we’ve all hated social media at one point or another)? Let me know in the comments below! I’m happy to support others on this journey or provide tips on how else to fill your time.
I hope you stick around for the journey!
(Just to let you know, I started this challenge on March 1, so I’ve already gone a day without social media, and I wish I were kidding, but I already feel ten times lighter. I can’t wait to see how this affects me throughout the rest of the month.)