Social Media Detox
Social media… it’s a funny one isn’t it!? Personally, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it over the years. So I was interested to find out about day four’s challenge: having a social media detox.
In The Moment magazine explain the challenge and the reason for it:
Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with old friends, but it can also remind us of areas of our life that we’re unhappy with. It’s easy to get frustrated when others appear to be leading perfect lives on Instagram, even though the reality can be very different.
Do a social media spring clean and unfollow anyone who makes you feel bad about your life in any way. Unfollow people who irritate you. If the news is making you feel stressed, why not unfollow news websites too? Keep the people who make you feel inspired and motivated – and the people you care about.
My Social Media
The Student Bar popped up whilst I was at uni, and since then social media has taken over every aspect of my life. Over the years, I’ve been on a lot of platforms. When I set up my own business back in 2015, I also used social media to promote and manage my business. Without a physical shop, my website combined with social media became my shop window of sorts.
From keeping in touch with family and friends all over the world, to networking and promoting events, social media is amazing at connecting people and sharing beautiful photos. I am one to post photos of everything, including my kids. So social media is a great tool for me.
All The Platforms
I tend to use various social media platforms for different things. Facebook is essentially my noticeboard. From seeking advice, recommendations or selling and donating items, it’s my go-to place. I use to be kept up to date with events in the local community, I use it to connect with other business owners and businesses I like.
I also use Facebook as a lazy way of keeping in touch with friends and family, seeing what they get up in the background whilst I go about my life. This does not replace actually calling/writing/visiting my friends and family. But it’s a nice way in between calls/cards/visits to see what’s going on in their lives. Over the years, my account has mirrored this. A few years back, I would post about anything and everything. The memories that pop up on Facebook sometimes make me cringe. I don’t tend to post status updates as such now, other than for the reasons above.
Facebook is also where I keep a lot of my photos. From holidays to day trips, to everyday things the kids get up to. With memories popping up on Facebook, I love being reminded of when the kids took their first steps, when they said something funny, or simply looked cute. I know many people don’t like sharing photos on their kids online and I respect that. For me, it helps family far away see how the kids are growing and feel as though they aren’t as far away as they actually are.
Instagram has undoubtedly become my favourite platform over the years. Focussing on images, it’s therefore focussing on sharing beautiful images. I find it the most enjoyable to scroll through. I find myself getting more and more bored with Facebook, so I rarely scroll through it now.
But Instagram, despite the crazy never ending algorithms, remains beautiful and also, generally uplifting and positive. I know this is a very general comment, but part from a few trolls lurking, people generally seem nicer on Instagram.
I have separate accounts for my personal photos, and each one of my businesses. I love how they all go together, yet have distinct personalities. Each reflecting of part of who I am. It also means I get to practice taking photos, which is always a bonus.
I find the stories on Instagram also fun, and find myself often watching these rather than scrolling through.
I’ve recently been updating my LinkedIn account but it’s definitely one I’m quite new to. As I will be looking for work in France, I’ve been advised it’s a great tool for networking and connecting with businesses. So I’ve uploaded my CV and status. This is a purely professional platform so again, it shows my business side rather than simply my personal side.
While I do have a Twitter account, I don’t really use it. When working as a florist, it was useful for networking and taking part in hashtag chats such as #weddinghour or #indiesinbristol. But generally I don’t use it very much.
So Why Detox?
The main reason for me, is because of the negativity on social media.
Out With The Negativity
Some people just love to moan don’t they? And others, don’t just stop at moaning, but feel the need to express their opinions in overly direct, rude and unnecessary ways. I’m all for freedom of speech, but I don’t believe it gives people the right to be twats.
When I see comments like these ones, they really affect me. They drain the happiness from me. I find myself getting sad, or even worse: angry. I say worse because really, these comments shouldn’t affect me, but they do. Even it’s a comment on a random post which just pops up on my feed because someone I know commented on it. It can have no direct link on my life whatsover. But just because I’ve seen it, the negativity starts to creep in and affects me.
I sometimes find myself starting to type a reply, but usually end up deleting. I don’t ever really want to get involved in these type of threads. Mostly because I find them pointless and as I said, they don’t usually have any direct link to me.
For a long (long!) time, I felt weak for feeling like this. At times now, I still get affected. I put it down to positive energy vs negative energy. I am constantly looking for ways to increase the positive energy I’m in, ways to lead a beautiful life. And whilst I do have a good moan on a regular basis with Barry, friends and family, if it’s not constructive, I don’t see the point of posting it online. Especially if it lets negative energy creep in.
So for me personally, having a regular social media detox allows me to get rid of that negative energy, and focus on the positive people, posts and pages I like.
I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to Facebook friends and Likes. I aim to only keep people with who I speak on a regular basis. Or if I don’t, people who I’d like to keep in touch with because we go waaaaaay back. Otherwise, I’m often going through my list and unfriending people. I sometimes add them back later, but will end up unfriending them again if nothing changes in our relationship.
My “friends” list still stands at 172 (recent cull undergone in light of this challenge), which is still a big number for me!
I would feel quite harsh when I first did this. But now I see it as part of my wellbeing. I’m more flexible on Instagram, and of course, I always have my phone with all the contacts phone numbers I might need. Whilst I don’t tend to delete phone numbers or Contacts, I do unfollow Instagram accounts when I no longer enjoy the posts. This could be for a number of reasons, mostly down to my personal taste and choice. It might be that the posts relate to a style that I don’t particularly like , or simply feel indifferent too. It’s sometimes because I realise that actually, the person posting and I don’t have as much in common as I initially thought. Generally, Instagram has a lot less of a negative impact for me. Instead, it mostly comes down to my personal taste and how I’m feeling at the time, thereby affecting what I feel I need to see on my feed.
Overall, when it comes to following people and their feeds, I have realised in recent years just how much their content can affect my wellbeing. Over the years, I have decided that my wellbing should always come first, over what people might think if I unfriend/unfollow them.
In With The Positivity
I see this as a regular exercise, and it can be very dependent on my mood.
From keeping in touch with friends and family who have supported me through time and countless new ventures, to following beautiful accounts on Instagram that let me dream and see beauty. I do love Social Media when it’s condensed to this.
As such, having a social media detox is a regular necessity for me.
How to Detox on Social Media
Now again, I go through my friend’s list and unfriend anyone I haven’t really spoken to for a long time.
But generally, it’s mostly as and when posts pop up on my timeline. Depending on the person, the post and the effect it has on me, I will either unlike the page, unfriend the person, or simply unfollow them if I still want to be connected but don’t want to see the posts as much. You can also freeze someone posts for a period of 30 days if you just need a short break due to how you’re feeling at the time.
I’m generally trying to spend less time on social media, so I try and mainly follow the pages and people I really want to see, rather than see all the posts.
Going through a social media detox helps you narrow down who and what you follow.
As such, I find that I spend less time on social media, because there is less for me to scroll through. It takes a while to adjust. Years spent scrolling endlessly to hundreds of posts is hard to undo… But I find now that when I start scrolling, there aren’t many updated posts for me to scroll through. I therefore get bored quicker and end up putting my phone down, leading me to focus on other, more enjoyable tasks.
Detoxing this way is definitely an ongoing process, but reminders every so often like this challenge to have a social media detox helps to ensure I keep a clean and positive feed.