As a blogger who may as well have a phone in place of a hand, the idea of stopping using social media, for a social media detox, would have made me and did to some extent, feel lost. So I decided to do it to see how I got on.
I sent my last Instagram message, explained I was taking a breather, set up my blog promotion scheduler, deactivated and logged out of my accounts. Now what to do with me? I started to realise pretty much straight away how much I subconsciously scrolled through social media. I knew I did a lot but this was ridiculous, I had gaps in my day where I would be frantically trying to find hashtags for, my Instagram, or I would be reading opinionated threads on Twitter, or seeing follow for following threads on Facebook. I felt weird. I was using social media as my crutch, for self-verification. If I didn’t get likes or comments I felt a failure, if I people didn’t retweet my tweets or if my Facebook posts didn’t reach far, I felt crap. It all crept up on me, and I realised it was slowly draining me and I needed to get my head around what it was all for, and the only way I could do that was back off from IT completely. I was told by my mum that around 70% of people who actively use social media will feel depressed. I finally understood why.
Day one was a little odd. I was worrying that followers would drop off and I knew they would. But it made me realise they weren’t the kind of people I wanted following me anyway, I mean, I don’t post for a week and they unfollow? That’s not so, etching I do. Why do I want those pretend fans? So I had to make my piece that what will be, will be. I very soon realised that I needed social media for one reason, and one reason only, blog and YouTube promotion. So I got buffer involved. I scheduled promotion of my blogs with unique messages so that traffic would still filter through to my website.
I stopped taking photos for Instagram stories and sharing every finer detail of my life because I really don’t think anyone cares about what I had for breakfast – or maybe they do, but I couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to share. The only thing I wanted people to know about was my writing and videos, that I believed was unique content that showed what I was really about.
My best friend lives abroad I’m a country where all the women are basically beautiful and flawless, and whilst I think she is just that, she said it can be hard living in it and having it all over social media. So she deactivated everything and hardly posts on Instagram and now feels better for it. My brother is the same. He went to Miami with his mates and they made a pact not to take their phones out, they were in the hotel and not with them. They wanted to enjoy the experience without documenting every minute, they met a famous boxer whilst out there, but no one had phoned to take photos. I immediately said what a shame that was, he replied saying, it didn’t matter because he got to have an actual life experience, not one documented for followers. Which when I sat and thought about it, I realised it made a lot of sense.
As a blogger, I document my life. I take people on Instagram journeys and share far too much about my life, which I should learn to keep some things to myself. I share some parts of my life, but I’ve backed off from ranting or doing a bull in a china shop across my various platforms, I’ve also stopped over-sharing because I need to keep some parts of my life private for my own sanity. I know that when blog stuff happens, for example, I had my press trip to Aruba, it’s work so I needed to document it. I needed to be telling people in all forms about my experience. I was videoing and taking photos, which is all fine, but afterwards? I knew I needed to step back again and just let things tick over. Blogging and all that comes with it is becoming a 24/7 affair and whilst it’s not wrong to be, it has just got too much for me and I am missing out on life by staring at my phone rather than having human interaction and making memories.
Was it worth it? Yes. And I have taken away a lot because of it. It is all about balance. So if like me you can’t back off completely, just give yourself small starting points, to begin with. For example, phone watch could be, 8 am when you wake up for 10 mins, 1 pm for 10mins then after dinner for 10mims. Plenty of time to catch up on any interactions, but enough time not to be a daily phone zombie. Just remember to not compare yourself to what you see on social, because that right there is how you can drive yourself straight to self-destruction. As soon as you have that lightbulb moment, when you really get to the core of what you want from it and realise you don’t need to play the comparison game, then you will not only develop better real-life relationships, you will truly accept and love yourself.