I remember when I created my very first social media account on Facebook all the way back in 2009. Back then, it was just a way to keep in touch with friends. Facebook was all the rage. You had to have an account on the platform because if you didn’t you missed out. Almost everybody I knew was on the platform. Friends, classmates, even teachers, and parents were starting to use the platform to keep in touch.
Soon after Facebook came Instagram. I never really cared for Instagram that much earlier on. I hardly used it and was only on the platform to like my friend’s photos. A few years later I was introduced to Twitter through a friend. Out of “curiosity”, I created an account but never used it often. After a while, Snapchat was introduced in the market. I guess the thought of instant photographic communication and having said communication disappear after 10 seconds was something new and “cool” and I was soon using that platform as well.
As the years went by my use of the platforms greatly changed. From rarely using any of the platforms it slowly became part of my everyday life. There were apps to almost every single social media on my phone. My day would begin with me checking my phone for updates and would end with a status update or retweet. I had to post even the most mundane thing online, either as a post or story. Scrolling through Instagram became a second nature me. I’d blindly go through Facebook and not do anything. When I was bored I would switch between apps, looking for something to entertain me.
I had become addicted.
And like every addict, I’d deny it. I’d deny the fact that social media was ruling my life. With the hope of being more “social” I had created accounts on almost every single social media platform that there was. But instead of it helping me, it just made my life worse. I got unhappy, I got sad and discontented. I’d look at “influencers” and wish for my life to be like theirs. I’d see how my friends had progressed in their lives and wish that was me. It was wrong. I knew it was wrong but I couldn’t stop. And all of this played on my mind and pushed me further and further into my shell.
It was only when I had reached a low point in my life, where I lost all motivation to read or to blog, lost all motivation to do the things that I liked that I realized it’s time to stop. I made up my mind that Social Media was not going to dictate my mental well being anymore. And just like that, I uninstalled every single social media app that was on my phone.
But what was I going to do with this sudden free time? I soon realized how many hours a day I wasted mindlessly scrolling down and refreshing my feed online.
I had to use my phone. My fingers itched to do something and I was on the verge of going back again. I downloaded news and reading apps. Curiosity and Pinterest were two apps that helped me a lot. I’d read articles and blogs. I learned something new every single day.
A day or so later the urge to check my social media online had faded. I had other things to do, better things to do. I started to read again, which was something I hadn’t done in ages. I started reading the newspapers. I started talking to my family instead of having my face stuck in my phone all day.
I felt much better. I was happy again.
It’s been almost a month since I went on this detox. I must admit, I did log onto Facebook once but it didn’t last long. In fact, I got bored. Memes and jokes didn’t hold my interest anymore. I am still contemplating whether to leave the platform all together since I have been away for so long and don’t even wish to go back. I closed my personal Instagram account and have only kept my business account. I deactivated my Snapchat and won’t ever go on the platform again. Twitter is my main source of “social media” these days, which I only use for networking and blogging.
I have been an avid user of Social Media for 10 years now. And while it was created for a good purpose, it is very easy for our human minds to get influenced and upset. And it’s not just me, wherever I look I see people who are so easily influenced with what they see online, that they forget to live in the real world.