My social media detox.
Last Monday night, two of my dear friends joined me in deleting all social media apps from our phones. It was both liberating and terrifying at the same time. I'm sure most people who have done any sort of social media detox know exactly what I'm talking about. It was a rude awakening to see how dependent I've become on the comfort of opening my phone to avoid human interaction and how often I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram just to pass the time. It's even scarier to realize how normal that is for our society. So in an effort to combat mindless scrolling and replace it with mindful living, we committed to a one-week social media detox.
Here's what I did:
- I deleted all social media apps from my phone (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat).
- I gave myself a few minutes each day to "cheat" on my laptop - because I have to use it for work - and left it at that.
Here's what I got out of it:
- More time. My biggest takeaway was that social media eats up WAY too much time. I know you know the feeling of finding yourself 50 weeks deep in some random person's Instagram feed. You look up from your phone and it's like you've been sucked into a black hole and have no idea what year it is. When I deleted everything, I found that I had more time to do things that really matter. I downloaded a Bible app with the intention of reading some verses when I otherwise would have opened my phone to check Twitter. Other times when I opened my phone out of habit, I texted a friend instead. There's something to be said about asking how your friends are instead of watching their highlights from behind a screen.
- More presence. I paid attention to what was going on around me. I people-watched from my window at work instead of checking people's Snapchat stories. When I had conversations, my mind was right there in that conversation -- not wondering whether I had gotten more likes on the picture I had just posted.
- More self-love. When I stayed off social media, I wasn't stuck comparing the behind-the-scenes mess of my own life with someone else's highlight reel on Instagram.
- Less pressure. It's pretty comical how much control social media has over my life. For a while it seemed like I was living just to post about everything I was doing. But this past week was peaceful. I didn't see everyone's sappy Valentine's Day posts and then proceed to get annoyed with Isaac for not sharing a cute post about me (yes, this has been a thing and I'm shamelessly admitting it). There was no pressure to brag to the Internet about how much fun I was having or about how wonderful my relationship is.
Social media is so addicting because of the instant gratification. We get a quick ego boost with every double-tap on Instagram and click of a "like" button on Facebook. We get a false sense of security because we're only sharing the things that show how great we want our lives to appear. We're so obsessed with what everyone else is posting and sharing, but it really only inflates our self-obsession.
I've been learning more about what it means to steward our time. The reality is we don't have much of it, and we have to spend all of it one way or another. This past week raised a lot of questions for me. Where am I investing my time? Am I investing in my life, or am I investing in the documentation of it? Do I use social media as a way to open up my life to others as an invitation for community? Or do I look to it for the approval and validation that only God can give me? (Galatians 1:10)
Some words I've been holding near and dear to my heart this week (and will forever):
The constant seeking of approval from others holds us hostage to our experience.
I re-downloaded my social media apps on my phone, but instead of arranging them all at the top of my home screen where I used to have them, I put them all in a folder at the bottom of my home screen. It's kind of symbolic in the sense that they're not my top priority anymore.
Long story short, I'd strongly encourage anyone and everyone to commit to a social media detox. It'll open your eyes to all the things they couldn't see when they were too busy being glued to the screen.