Nearly everyone I know has a tumultuous relationship with social media. They either love it, hate it, or hate to love it. I’ve heard millennials (like myself) have these mixed feelings about social media because we are nostalgic for life before its existence.
This year, I decided to do a new challenge each month. With the overarching goal of being more present, I want to check in with one indulgence or distraction each month. In January I started with no alcohol, which was easy for me. So, in February I wanted to cut out something that would be more difficult to pry away from myself – social media.
In my personal life, I use Instagram the most, and I don’t just use it to keep up with friends. I use it for inspiration, finding recipes and watching videos of baby raccoons (they are truly adorable). The side effects of my detox included reading more books and articles, listening to podcasts, exercising and doing a lot more online shopping (oops). I didn’t know what my friends were up to, which was a weird feeling. However, in the end I wasn’t missing anything. Is it important to know that a girl I met in college spent a weekend in Joshua Tree? Nope!
Ridding myself of my personal accounts gave me a clear perspective as to why I reach for my phone. It’s usually due to boredom, anxiety or to smooth over an awkward elevator ride. I learned part of the agitation we feel with social media comes from over-saturation. With 3 billion users, how do you choose whom to follow? It’s so important to foster authenticity.
My job as a Social Media Manager means I am on social media platforms all day long. While my detox didn’t include taking a month off from work, I did learn I operate much differently on social media when it’s for work. This entails writing, managing trolls, scanning analytics and pulling content together to tell stories for our clients.
In my work, I’m striving to create experiences that aren’t just another distraction. These days I follow more cute animal accounts than influencers, and I limit the number of accounts I follow to 500. Taking a break and regaining balance is important when it comes to anything you indulge in or use to distract yourself, even if it’s what you do for a living.