I wrote this post a few months ago when I had just left my job in social media and was feeling a bit cynical about the whole thing. Now I work in a school and spend considerably less time scrolling and tweeting. However, when I get the chance, I love a good Insta-binge laughing at weirdos on @subwaycreatures or dribble over @onehungryjew’s feed. I equally love following the comments on Twitter when I’m watching TV and tweeting stuff my Dad says. I’m still not on it as much as I was and even though I hate how inadequate social media sites make me feel at times, I still don’t have any intention of leaving them completely.
Recently I’ve started to think that I don’t need social media in my life. I sometimes just find it all a bit… cringe. It also takes up far too much time. I find it weird that I can know what someone is up to when I haven’t spoken to them in months. I’m not sure that updating your life constantly online is the best for making conversation as you’ve pretty much lived it with them. I often have conversations like, ‘I had some really amazing meat when I went to Madrid, ‘Yeah, yeah I saw the pics, you had a plate of ham, some tapas and a red wine #jamon #hola *leg of ham emoji, red wine emoji, and a Spanish dancing lady for lolz*’. It is also now proven that Facebook makes you miserable. Instagram is a shinier, happier version of a life that no-one can ever live up to. You become fixated on likes and follower numbers even though half those numbers are bloggers who just want to flog you merch. I also can’t bear the pointlessness of it at times (the Mother’s day post for your mum who’s not even on social media is especially irritating).
So after a particularly bad hangover, where I lost a lot of time to Insta-bingeing and feeling particularly rubbish about my life I decided to do a digital detox.
I decided to quit for a week – which I hoped would be achievable. I remove Facebook and Instagram from my phone to avoid temptation. I wondered if I’d be any more productive? Or would I just spend more time watching repeats of Saturday Kitchen? Would I start reading more? Would I still get FOMO?
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After a week off Instagram I have definitely been reading more. I have sent text messages and arranged actual catch ups with friends instead of sending them screen shots of @fuckjerry memes. Instead of mindlessly going on to Instagram whenever there is a dull moment I’ve read more articles online and I’ve made more lists. I have also definitely been more productive.
I did struggle though. I realised how much of an ingrained habit it was to reach for my phone and flick straight onto Instagram. I have also thought less about what other people (i.e. people I don’t really know) have been up to. I’ve had less to compare myself to, so haven’t been comparing myself as much, which can only be a good thing. I won’t be leaving social media altogether though. I would never remember anyone’s birthday if I did and I would miss @tasteofstreep too much. Instagram has also introduced me to genius food artists like @diego_cusano or these two travellers and their inspiring images. I am however determined to be stricter with myself. That means not going on it too much or when I’m not in a good mood.
Through my new job and a lack of wifi (nothing to do with self-discipline) I am definitely on it less and am still working on not looking at it to feed my FOMO. Hopefully I can keep it up…