I took a break from social media, and here’s what happened
This weekend, Selena Gomez posted an Instagram of herself looking in the mirror-- cute and fun, like all of her posts. Yesterday, she edited the caption to reflect the news that she had decided to take a social media break.
"Update: taking a social media break. Again. As much as I am grateful for the voice that social media gives each of us, I am equally grateful to be able to step back and live my life present to the moment I have been given. "
Here's that post:
You might have multiple reactions to this: one, that it's easy to turn off your socials or two, that it's nearly impossible to disconnect. For me, I fall into that second camp: I see Instagram not only as a way to express myself, but as a way to connect with my friends and family that live far away. The same goes for Facebook, until one day last month when a friend of mine and I realized we were more addicted than connected.
I found myself trying to unwind from the day, but unable to pry the phone from my hands. I put in a movie that I wanted to pay attention to, but couldn't because my friends were posting things and I was waiting for a message back from a guy, obsessing over whether or not he'd reply.
Everything I do started being defined by social media, to the point where one afternoon, I made myself leave my phone at home when I went to go spend time with a friend. I didn't want our time together to be defined by all the Instagrammable moments we could have, and we ended up having a great night sans-distraction.
Now, let me say this-- there's nothing inherently wrong with social media. It's a fun way to connect with companies (like us!), to show off your photography and art, or to be funny and social over Instagram Stories. I love staying connected to my friends and seeing sides of them I wouldn't see if they didn't show it off on their feeds.
However...it's another thing to feel addicted.
My friend and I decided to go a week without Instagram and Facebook, though because I used Facebook for work I told her I'd just swear off the IG. It was hard-- insanely hard-- and I nearly gave up. We went three days before she texted me to tell me she was getting back on again before the weekend, and I told her I'd do it too. So no, we didn't last a full week...but those three days were interesting.
Here's the thing: while I was still technically connected on Facebook, being disconnected (even just for a few days) from one of my favorite apps forced me into other modes of thinking. I was incredibly creative; I love to write, and I had three amazing ideas for short stories in those three days that I might not have had had I filled my time with endless scrolling.
I don't want to shame anyone for enjoying Instagram or Facebook-- in all honesty, social media is a lot of fun. But overall, if you find yourself becoming addicted, consider a break, and ask a friend to help you stay accountable. Even if it's just for a day or two, you'll find yourself refreshed, energized, and ready to reconnect with yourself more than anyone else.
Happy posting-- or not.