Last November, when I decided that I was going to write my book Love, Care, Trust & Respect, I realised that the only way that I was going to get it done and dusted was if I removed the main distractions. Aside from getting out of the house, the major move was to delete the Facebook app from my phone. I had originally intended for this to be temporary, but 10 months on and I’ve deleted Twitter as well (I would delete Instagram but you can’t use it properly without the app).
So, on this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I share what I’ve learned over the last ten months of social media dieting and talk about some of the other reasons why I’m making a big shift. The experiment has basically been to answer the question, Will my life fall apart if I’m not on social media?, and the answer is a resounding no.
>> Why recognising that adults of all ages struggle with the emotional consequences of engaging online and sharing information about themselves has reminded me to lead from the front with my daughters, after all, if we are hugely affected and don’t know what we’re doing and why half the time, we need to be more mindful of the impact upon children
>> Why it started out as being about my personal use of Facebook but I then took a break from social media even with regards to work
>> The big six problems online that represent poor boundaries:
#1 We are exposed to far more noise than we ever have been and it’s too much
#2 The negativity–arguing, judging, belittling, name-calling, shaming, misinformation, and the ‘cycle of outrage’ where we’re essentially logging in to get mad about stuff and then coming off and getting back to life, and then logging in only to feel outraged again, and lather, rinse, repeat
#3 Not distinguishing between what’s real and what’s fake, and this includes not recognising that people only share snapshots of their lives and even when they share a lot, it’s often curated.
#4 Engaging in far too much comparison and the toll it takes on our mental health
#5 Emotional unavailability, so the fact that some of us are using social media to detach from our emotions and to avoid true intimacy
#6 Being distracted, down and drained
>>The key lessons I’ve learn from my social media diet
>> You don’t know your usage or even your dependency until you delete the app and curtail your use. Suddenly you notice how many times you go to pick up your phone and check for the non-existent notifications!
>> When you put out one fire, sometimes another one lights up. The focus of social media diets tends to be good ole Facebook but what I found is that after I deleted it, I was more active on the Twitter app and skimming through the feed.Yes, I deleted that too.
>> I don’t need to be notified about 99% of the stuff that I’m notified about. Nuff said.
>> I’m not missing anything. This is psychological bullsh-t that’s in part driven by the way that these platforms work but also by our egos. Fact is, we’re not seeing ‘everything’ on any of these platforms. We are, for example, only seeing a fraction of the updates from our friend list and the pages and groups that we’ve liked and joined because, wellllllll, Facebook wants you to be looking at ads.
>> The world has a lot of problems but if you spend less time on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, you won’t feel the urge to give up on humanity.
>> It’s liberating. I enjoy being less distracted and using my spare moments and free time in different ways. Yes, sometimes it’s OK for me to do absolutely nothing at all!
>> The big signs that you need to go on a social media diet
>> Your emotional and mental health is being compromised by your usage or it’s certainly compounding an existing issue.
>> You’re using it as one big fat exercise in comparison, envy, jealousy, beating yourself up and basically feeling small.
>> Your real relationships and priorities are suffering.
>> You don’t like a lot of the people you’re surrounded by and hard as it might be to admit, you go on there to feel superior.
>> You’re in a ‘cycle of outrage’ and have been in more than a couple of spats online. I know of people who are in constant ‘misunderstandings’ online and would have a fight with a paper bag. These incidences are a message from life to step away from the online light and refocus your energies.
>> There’s a significant shift in your mindset, attitude, feelings and behaviour–so you’re collecting attention and basically getting high on the strokes, or you feel low afterwards.
>> You’re forgetting who you really are.