I decided to stop using social media for 40 days and I’m going to tell you why. In the month of July and the first half of August I chose to log out of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and any other social media platform available. My goal was to stop using any social platform that was not a direct communication between another human being and me. When I ditched the social media platforms, I began to realise what impact it was having on me. I want to tell you a bit about that.
Most mornings I wake up and the first thing I reach for is my phone. I turn off my alarm. I unlock my phone. I open Facebook and begin scrolling, watching videos, reading comments and replying to messages. I close one app to open another. Checking Snapchat is the place I go. I check the snaps I’ve received. I catch up on people’s stories. By this point, 20 or 30 minutes have passed and so I rush out of bed to get ready. Not long into my day I’m back to checking on my phone or opening a tab on my computer. Throughout the day this continues. I open Facebook or Instagram from muscle memory and before I’m even aware of it, I’m scrolling and scrolling. And now you’re starting to realise what’s going on. At times while visiting new places, I’ve uploaded pictures just to get more likes.
That feeling of needing approval based on the number of people was one of the reasons I chose to stop. Another being the negative impact I noticed it was having on my friends and the students of my school. Many would tell me the story of how they are spending 4-8 hours every night on some form of social media. Sacrificing time with family, sleep, eating quality food or exercising just to watch the next video or scroll through another page of comments. Do we understand how much a hold this form of entertainment has on my life? It is active 24/7. So, before I could tell them that there is more to life and that social media is harmful, I needed to do this for myself. No point telling other people to not do something I’m doing every day.
So during the 40 days, my schedule changed significantly. I find myself on my phone less and doing other things more. Several times early on I subconsciously open Facebook, but soon as I catch myself I close it. Why am I so compelled to open social media? A lot of the time my conversations at the table with my wife or with friends included me scrolling my news feed. Now I want to spend time focused on the people around me. It’s quite freeing. Sometimes I would have feelings of FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out if you were wondering), or try comparing my life to others who are having fun. Life is meant to be embraced with both good and bad. Instagram is too shallow to portray that and usually just contains a scripted reality. The less I use social media the more in touch with people and real life I actually become.
Now at the end of the 40 days, I’m not planning to jump back on anytime soon. I may open it occasionally but from now on I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid getting sucked back into the vortex of these social media platforms.
So, why don’t you try logging out of social media today? Would it give you the chance to enjoy today for what it is? I’d love to hear your story if you have done this. Comment below and share.