Three and a half weeks ago, I was spinning around in my computer chair, watching walls get blurry. Despite the fact that I had spent over half an hour wracking my brain, refolded the same set of laundry twice and looked for some assisted answers in the bottom of a glass of wine ( or two ), I still had no logical/reasonable answer that I could look myself in the mirror with.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the blog: Social media diseases that plagued my life and I knew it. The day before the marry-go-around trip on the computer chair, I was talking to a friend about what it was like before all this hodgepodge of status updates, photos of half eaten sandwiches and constant weather status updates (thank gawd for those, living in a house with no windows and all). Worst of all, I was just as guilty as everyone else. Just like everyone who watched the Miley Cyrus VMA performance, no one seems to be able to look away. So in a move that actually caused my parents to have a mini panic attack, I deactivated my Facebook , Twitter and removed my links to instagram and I braced myself for my panic attack..
First, I have to share with you a little story about what happens when you deactivate your Facebook.
There are about 6 steps to deactivate your account, all filled with ” but are you sure!??!” comments. By the time I got to the last step, I felt like it was bad break up that should if I change my mind, flowers would be required along with a heartfelt apology and a ” it’s not you , its me” speech.
The kicker here was that Facebook felt it necessary to let me know that my sister ( along with a random selection of friends) would ” miss me” should I go ahead with the
‘break up’ deactivation.
It takes Facebook about 24 hours to completely remove you to the point that you can’t even be found by a name search. I had a friend check to make sure I had completely dropped of the social media world and proceeded to have a celebration with dance off in the kitchen. FREEDOM!!
In the days that followed, I got a few odd looks followed by questions of what happened? why aren’t we friends anymore and why did you block me? My parents reaction of ” but how are we suppose to know what happens in your life !?!? ” actually caused me to laugh out loud ( they live on the other side of town and we talk weekly on the phone). I can’t tell you how many times I sat in on a conversation with friends that started ” did you see on Facebook that… oh wait”.
My phone was like a Motorola flip phone from the 90s, it took calls and sent texts. I felt absolutely clueless to what was going on in the mishmash jumble of laundry updates, random life quotes ( guilty) and bowel movement updates ( yes really, people post that). I was deliriously uninformed and baffled by how we all go so obsessed with getting ‘likes’ and scrolling through pages and pages of updates like it was CNN Breaking News.
So I started to investigate:
1) According to an article called ” Envy on Facebook: A hidden threat to users’ life satisfaction?”, consistently following status updates of others can cause a risk of depression and anxiety:
2) We are mostly not aware of how many hours we spend on social media. I read a blog on slate.com that went on to say :
“You spend so much time creating flattering, idealized images of yourself, sorting through hundreds of images for that one perfect picture, but you don’t necessarily grasp that everybody else is spending a lot of time doing the same thing.” Toma says.
3) and finally , my all time favorite, according to an article in Web Pro News, “85% of women are annoyed by their friends on Facebook” …..
Three weeks into the detox, I was almost dreading coming back. Instead of multi tasking on the phone while watching tv or worse, having a conversation with someone, I was now giving my full attention to whatever I was doing. I felt better and lighter ( if that makes any sense). Twitter will delete your account if you don’t sign back in within 30 days ( such a bully) and as much I am almost annoyed at the thought of Twitter now, I do appreciate a little Anderson Cooper in my life. I also made an executive decision to scratch my old Instagram account. Hindsight is a horrible-wonderful thing. The amount of garbage quotes, random photos of when I was bored and things I can’t even explain made it easy to hit the delete button. I started a new account and while it’s not to say that I won’t still post things, I’m more aware of what I’m posting.
The biggest lesson I learnt here is that I was addicted to these apps and the feeling that comes along from them. Yes, I liked the feeling of someone liking a photo or status, most people do, it’s no different from being complimented on an outfit or a speech you gave. That being said, the value you can get out having a face to face conversation with someone about their day/life/thoughts hails in comparison than reading a status on Facebook. It’s also worth a consideration to check why your posting what you are. It’s something to be proud of your life, it’s another to seek validation on it.