The Social Media Detox

So it’s January and we’ve all overindulged in one way or another over the festive period (or just the previous year in general) and therefore created a detox program for January (and beyond…), the most popular in London I would say is giving up alcohol for January.

There’s been some talk around Veganuary which is starting to take off but alongside all of this I’m hearing more and more from people instigating a ‘social media detox’ who’ve deleted their social media apps; namely Facebook and Instagram.

This is interesting because I didn’t hear too much chatter around the planning process of implementing this change but saw the aftermath of people slowly admitting they are on a social media detox. This doesn’t necessarily mean deactivated their accounts but just deleted the mobile applications for a space of time.

Evolution of social media

This is interesting for me personally because I work as a digital consultant for a marketing consultancy company and work with a team of digital marketing specialists who have been in the industry for 5-15 years. The reason why, is not necessarily down to the nature of our jobs and knowing a lot of information about privacy invasion and new technology Facebook is adopting to improve advertising targeting techniques. But this change is due to a change in society; Facebook used to be a way of bringing people together by reuniting with old school friends and sharing holiday photos with friends and family. Now users have hundreds of ‘friends’ who are more like mere acquaintances and uploading a new picture via Instagram can take hours through retakes and edits just to get the ‘perfect’ photo.

Social Media and Mental Health

The anxiety of being judged is creating isolation and the addition of being present in other people fake lives and comparing oneself to this creates low self-worth. Users are more likely to say things they wouldn’t normally to a computer screen than to a human being; lies, deception, infidelity, bullying can all being enabled via social media. Communities are being divided, not united, take Trump and Brexit as examples.  

High school can be hard enough for any teenager to go through but adding social media into the picture. Luckily I went to school with a Nokia 3210 so smartphones and Facebook were nowhere to be seen until I entered university, the most my time was consumed by was the game Snake.

And yet we have no idea what influence good or bad this influx of technology and social media at such a young age is having on children’s learning and development.

In the past 6 months alone various executives who have worked for successful social media companies are publicly articulating their problem with social media on their families and society; the CEO of Apple said he won’t let his nephew on social media.

I personally have taken up the challenge which hasn’t actually been a challenge at all of dissolving all my social media account and I don’t plan on ever looking back. Regaining much more free time to berry my head in a book, listen to a podcast, learn a language and I’ve taken up writing.

My recommendation if you are afraid of cutting out social media altogether then try turning off all notification and see how your user behaviour changes thereafter.

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