My weeks detox from social media
If I heard this title 5 years ago I’d think to myself; Oh how ridiculous, it wouldn’t be at all “hard or difficult” to spend time away from social media platforms. But then Instagram arrived. I’ve had a blog for years, been on and off then on Facebook. But Instagram for me is somehow different. Image led, immediate, curated. My kind of platform.
The night before I started my "social detox" I watched that issue of Black Mirror, you know the one with Ron Howard’s daughter in it, it’s called Nosedive. When I first saw it in 2016 I though my goodness, what a horrendous society. But watching it again it didn’t seem too far from current reality. I’ll admit it, I check my phone way too much. It's like a game, how many likes, who's commented. Too much. Shockingly I read an article recently about the Chinese government potentially incorporating a similar law of rated “citizenship”, much like that in Black Mirror. The more points you have the more you can access, like restaurants, flights even better hospitals. Frightening.
Anyway, sometimes in all honesty I’m embarrassed of my use of social media. I am often on my phone responding to a DM when I should be fully attentive to my 4 year old. I can be so easily distracted, a little insta check can turn into a chat and then something that was intended to take seconds could take 15/20mins . I'm too often caught writing an Instagram post aka “just quickly writing a message”. I love being in front of the camera but it’s not wholly natural to have this many photos taken. Somehow on daily basis have something profound to say. I guess that’s in my nature and this app fulfils my need to communicate with the world.
When tragedy hit and we lost our baby Bertie, I truly found it cathartic to write posts about how I was feeling. Rightly or wrongly, I put down part of my recovery to talking publicly about stillbirth.
I have met some amazing creative people on Instagram. Lovely people that I would never have virtually met, or heard of their work without it. These people who’s accounts regularly inspire me and a few o have become friends with in the “real world”.
So why did I want to stop (just for the week)? I wanted to 1. See if I could do it 2. See what benefits the tech freedom bought and 3. Generally how it effected my wellbeing.
So what happened? I chose my weeks detox when we were away in Dorset for our annual summer staycation. It was the Friday morning of the drive I started. To begin with I found myself picking up my phone then putting it down again, practically slapping my own hand "no! Stop it HRB!" Luckily I was the designated driver. So a big chunk of the day I couldn’t look at my phone anyway.
When I could look, instead of looking at Instagram or Facebook I read the news or played a game or even made something. The first night without it I found my brain coming up with lots of ideas, funnily enough for comedy sketches. You may not know this about me but about 10 years ago I ran a comedy night with a friend. It was an incredibly formative time. I haven’t written a sketch in years, at the time my head was coming up with them left right and center, observing people. Suddenly I had the urge to develop characters again. Perhaps when your on social media all the time your brain is too busy to fully process some observations? Just a theory. And for me writing about them is so fulfilling.
I felt a sense of freedom. Not having to “report back” on the things I was doing. I still couldn’t help myself when it came to taking photos “recording my life” but I don’t post any of them. Which was somehow different.
People often say to me when I'm taking a personal photo “this isn’t going on Instagram is it?!” Which is sweet, because (when this was recently said at a wedding) a drunk photo of my friends really isn’t my Instagram style, (haha) but it is weirdly a genuine concern with friends.
When you share your everyday with others I believe it can reduce communication with your real world friends. I think they read so much about you that they don’t feel they need to connect with you as much to find out this info. It’s being played out for them. Meeting up, they know on the surface what you’ve been doing. Which is funny because I (and I’ve had this conversation with other bloggers) never see it like that. For me it’s just me and my phone chatting about my life, I almost forget anyone's listening or even interested.
So what did I gain from my break? I defiantly was so much more engaged in what was going on in the room. Playing with my son, chatting and entertaining the family.
Laying in bed of an evening talking to my husband instead of us both on our phones. It’s nice!
I had more time to focus on making projects, I have a lot coming up and it was nice to think about them before I did them. I genuinely have to be doing something with my hands at most times, which contributes massively to my epic craft output!
After the week, I had noticed a few changes to my account. Firstly my followers had dropped by over 50! Some people obviously had no time for no posts!!
Additional drawbacks were; I did find myself looking more at clothes online. I didn’t weirdly feel hungrier (is that normal?).
So would I do it again? Defiantly. Will it inspire me to only use my phone for social media at certain times of day? Defiantly. Will it stop me using it? Never. Instagram, Instagram friends, I love interacting with you. It has bought me a lot and it’s my passion. I’m proud of what I have achieved and love sharing my ideas with the world. But maybe by quitting and giving my mind some time to breathe you’ll see something creatively new from me.