Social media is ever present in our daily lives, our conversations and our view of the world. I too was caught up in always checking others profiles, looking for life updates or just admiring someones beauty, picture asthetics or life experiences.
I asked myself: How is social media influencing the way I see the world? Would I be happier without it?
Self experiment: One week without social media
I decided it was time to get off the various platforms for at least a couple of days. I blocked Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Tiktok and Pinterest for more than a week.
2 week prior I set a limit for 30 minutes every day for each app, which worked pretty fine and decreased my overall screen time. Now I had no access at all to these platforms.
I set some goals for myself: I wanted to do a dopamine detox to create more instead of consuming, use my phone as a tool rather than for entertainment and generally be more present in the here and now.
Why is it so hard in the first place?
Many people can’t even spend a day without being on social media.
After all, these sites were mainly created to make profit off of you being addicted to them. They manipulate you, rather than create a safe space to share and consume news and info of others and yourself.
I always strive for freedom, yet I let myself be held hostage by a company that wants to collect my data and profit off of my time and attention. Isn’t that totally absurd?
Here’s how it went
To be honest, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.
I didn’t really miss consuming content on any of these platforms. What I missed was sharing my own experiences with others. But I soon realized that was for very selfish reasons.
The hardest app to resist was Youtube as I use it not only for entertainment but also for educational purposes. I always look up tutorials on the softwares I use, workouts I can do or recipes to try.
After a few days and a bit of cheating (I watched Youtube videos on my laptop) I finally broke that habit too. It still shocks me that behaviour like mindlessly watching videos for hours on topics you have no interest in and ending up in the “weird parts of Youtube” is normalized and even joked about.
At the end of the day I wasn’t particularly happier without it. I was just more present in my day and more focused on myself. In the long-term that probably makes a huge difference.
The future is bright (but my screen won’t be)
This week taught me that social media really isn’t neccessary and not as important as I always thought it was.
From now on I will implement one social media free day per week to help me distance from it a bit more.
I will be more aware of how and why I use my phone so I don’t waste any time on it. It will be my handy tool instead of my gate to endless entertainment.
So, is social media ruining our lives?
Hell no. At the end of the day it really only comes down to how you use it. What is your intention whenever you pick up your phone? Do you do it simply out of habit?
As long as you don’t use it for the wrong reasons, social media can be a beautiful place to connect with others. There are so many good things that came out of it already. It constantly makes me laugh or inspires me. I just follow the right people and pages that bring positivity to my day.
Always be aware of what you consume and why.