Social media became the new great addiction of our modern age, it is similar to alcohol, gambling and drugs. Notifications likes and new followers release dopamine in our brains and we get addicted to that feeling. Social media companies are well aware of that and designed their platforms to keep us on them as long as possible.
Due to the lockdown I was trapped at home in my boring hometown, so the online world was the place where all the cool stuff happened, therefore the screen time on my phone got up to an all-time high of 8 hours a day. And as I saw many other people doing a social media detox following Instagram’s new privacy policies and read many articles about it, I got curious so I decided to live the next 30 days without social media and see what I can take away from the experience.
Here's the plan:
I'm deleting Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest from my phone.
The only exception is YouTube, My blog, Medium and vsco. Because I need that for work/school.
I also kept messengers like whatsapp and facebook Messenger on my phone, but besides that nothing else. From now on there will be no more scrolling, no funny videos, no posts of my friends having fun, and no photos of hot boys.
Being a teenager, and growing up in this age of constantly evolving technology. I have definitely spent way too much of my life on social media.
I think on average i spend at least 6 hours on my phone a day whether it's TikTok, which is just endless, addicting doom scrolling. There’s the Pinterest of clothing and vacations I can’t afford. And there’s Instagram, you either love her or you hate her, or both.
Every single day i feel like i'm genuinely surrounded with a lot of positivity while i'm on the internet and i'm so grateful for that every single day. But my experience on social media got to a point where the cons of staying active on my platforms became way greater than the pros. A lot of that had to do with politics, and all the craziness going on in the world -which i’m not going to get into that topic today, but that was generally the reason I felt the need for a detox.
I cared about social media a lot, ever since i got social media i've always cared about it.
Sophie and social media always went together. I was always posting, i always cared, i always liked everyones posts, all that kind of stuff. I would edit my photos to perfection. I would care about the captions on every single one of my photos, I could not post a photo if the caption wasn't perfect.. which is so funny because i look back at the captions now on some of my instagram photos i'm like -that wasn't even a good caption so i don't know why I stressed over it that bad, but okay.
My whole instagram theme, was it cohesive, did all the colors go together, how many likes i got, and i just felt a sense of validation when a post got a lot of likes. And I just started realizing that having a following and getting more likes on things, getting this validation from people agreeing with what i was posting or saying that i looked pretty or any of that, i thought that all of these things would make me like myself more and then i got to a point where photos were getting likes and my facebook photos were getting shares and i still didn't like myself, i was like: well this is a scam, i thought that once i got that validation, i would just instantly started liking myself and i realized that was absolutely false.
And that’s my biggest point. Your worth comes from yourself. Therefore your highschool peers and random online strangers that follow you online, they all have their own insecurities and problems, they don’t really care that much.
I believe social media is inherently toxic. But I more specifically think the way that you use it can be toxic.
To be honest I wasn't even looking forward to go on social media anymore because I really enjoyed the last 30 days without it, but for the sake of this post I still downloaded all the apps, and I replied to my messages, I scrolled through Instagram and I watched some reels. One and a half hours were gone just like that and yeah the time just flew by and I was just sitting in bed and I was kind of overwhelmed because my mind didn't have access to that much information in the last 30 days, the funny thing is that there was nothing really worth mentioning that happened on social media, nothing changed and and everything was just still the same, I didn't miss out on anything but still my mind was just running wild again and I was distracted and I couldn't really focus, therefore I decided to not use anymore social media, for today at least. These 30 days really changed the way I interact with social media and my perception of the things happening around me. I think all of us should do this kind of detox in order to reevaluate our relationship to social media and also to prioritize our time in the real world. So trust me on this, give it a try, don't use any social media for the next 30 days, be strict with yourself and I'm sure you're going to experience as many benefits as I did.
So now i will jump into some of the tips and advice that i have on how i stopped letting social media ruin my life.
Start unfollowing people, all the people who make you unhappy and anxious, unfollow them. And follow more people who do make you happy. I went from following a couple thousand people on instagram and now i follow 300 or so and i can proudly say that all 300 on that list are people who are either my friends or my family who i love dearly or influencers and content creators that i actually want to see their content. One of my main tips is that if you find yourself scrolling through your instagram feed and you ever go “ugh” when someone posts? unfollow them, it's really that simple.
Stop seeking validation from strangers. There is absolutely no way that a person can uphold a friendship with thousands of followers. Most of us have absolutely no clue who most of our followers are, and that’s because in this age of social media, it’s all about numbers, the more the merrier. If your on Instagram to be in the Influencer train. You need to toughen up, get that thick skin, because people on the internet are ruthless. If you don’t know who you are, or what you believe in and what you stand for, then the people around you will chose that for you.
I am really into hiking, swimming, running and all those sporty things, and thus i followed hundreds of fitness models and i thought that it was motivational for me personally because i was like oh well i love looking at their workouts and oh it's motivational or oh they sometimes post good tips and then i realize that it's actually making me compare myself in the mirror every single day. And i that type of content doesn’t affect you and your image of yourself that’s great. But for me it did and cutting that type of content out of my life was really good for my mental health.
Stop hate watching people. I can't stress this enough. And I am not innocent, i used to hate watch people a lot. There are certain people on the internet that i would watch their content, visit their pages, looked at their stuff and i hated them, and not like actually hate.. hate is a very strong word, but i really dislike these people, so why was i creeping on their stuff? it doesn't really make any sense. But so many people do this. and some people are like oh well it's like cathartic, it makes me feel good. I truely think consuming content that you don't like makes you a more negative person, now i really only consume content that i genuinely like on the internet because what is the point of wasting my precious time in my life for people who i don't really even like that much, and i promise that you'll enjoy the internet a lot more when you only consume stuff that you actually enjoy.
My next tip is to stop idolizing people. I know people are gonna have mixed feelings about this, however this is coming from someone who easily gets obsessed with certain youtubers, political figures, people and celebrities. People who have no clue who I am, and i dedicated so much time and energy and money on these people, who turned out to not even be that good of people, most people on the internet are probably bound to disappoint you at one point or another which is why i don't think idolizing anyone is a good idea which is something that i'm personally working on because i'm a big fan of many celebrities and people, but i am working on not idolizing them and just seeing them as real human beings that i like and support.
Spend less time on social media! Instagram especially. Instead of working on projects, editing videos, writing content, planning my next adventures. I would just endlessly scroll instagram, and when IG added the new reels feature, my scrolling problem got even worse. I would spend hours watching reels. I would keep finding funny videos, and sending them to people, which got me into conversations, but not just like one conversation, I had like at least 10+ unopened dms every time i logged into my account, and the instant gratification of “wow, people like me” is all fun and dandy but it got really overwhelming and time consuming, and I quickly realized, I’d rather just chill in my own little bubble rather than have a ton of random conversations via my screen.
And my last tip is to not be so strategic with your social media life.
I get it if you're doing social media as a job or you want to pursue it, monetize it, anything in that realm. I understand being strategic with social media, but personally that's just not the approach that i like to go about social media. Scheduling posts, engaging, reels, staying on top of comments and dms, it honestly feels like a full time job, and for now i’m just not up for that. And i also think it's just really detrimental for my mental health to be honest to do that.
For example: i see a lot of tik toks about how to get big on tik tok, how to grow your tik tok, how to get 100 000 followers in like two weeks and “how it worked for me”, while that's great and i'm so happy that it worked for them, i think sometimes it's okay to just enjoy things you don't always have to be monetizing off of every single platform or getting the most amount of followers, or you don't always have to be in a state of productivity and and doing stuff, sometimes you can just sit down and enjoy cat videos on tik tok. I just think it convinces people that they should be taking advantage of the moment right now like this like whole capitalistic mindset that we always have that we always have to be productive, we always have to be doing something. I see the negative effects that come with not being able to just chill out and relax.
Anyways, that was fun. I really loved that detox month, and I definitely didn't miss social media as much as I thought I would. I hope your 2021 is going great so far. Happy Saturday!