What I Learned from a 2-Day Social Media Cleanse

It’s hard to remember a time before you were asked: “Did you see my snap story?

Think back to when making room in your “going out” bag for your digital ‘point and shoot’ camera was essential. Or rewind further, your disposable camera!

My digital camera days coincided with the MySpace era, which is a wonderful moment frozen in time that’s safely tucked deep into the memory vortex of my brain. MySpace; the dinosaur of social media; was magical and holds weird yet nostalgic memories that no young Millennial kid can grasp.

Lately, there’s so much social media pressure that some of us wish we could go back to the days of not knowing what social media is. That’s tough for me to wish upon, being that I am in the business of social. It’s what I do while working with global and national brands all-day every-day, and I love it! But on a personal level, there is something to be said about not knowing every single detail of someone’s life or divulging too much of one’s own.

Social outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat can be fun, but after some time I start wondering: “How do they make me feel?” Putting my life out there and constantly seeing the highlight reels of the people who have crossed my path can’t be all too  productive to my self-esteem.

Recently, someone asked me: “Do you feel jealous of people sometimes?” Social media has this ingenious way of making us feel like one of Cinderella’s step sisters.

My response:

I used to.

SM is designed to share your life, thoughts and mundane moments with others who choose to become a follower of your content. Side effects may include: insecurity, personal reflection, analysis of one’s own life and purpose, envy and most of all, FOMO.

If you say you’ve never experienced these side effects as a result of SM use, then I’m assuming you’re the guy taking all the happy shots when really you’re miserable and only needed the validation from your 212 followers liking your post only to get a LIKE in return. Amirite?

When I decided to go a full weekend (yes, FULL WEEKEND. Scary.) without the use of any social media to see if I was as hooked as I thought I was; I was pleasantly surprised.

This is my story. 

 

Deciding to embark on this lonely journey was pretty spontaneous, it’s not like I had planned it. The first thing I did, was remove any temptation. I grouped all my social apps together and stuck them far into the obscure depths of the fourth page of my iPhone. I meant business. 

Once that was taken care of, I felt relieved. SIGH. Who actually cares what anyone else is doing, eating or wearing? The important people in my life will text or call and that’s the end of it. I felt good about this.

Saturday was the first full day and I decided to be lazy and hang around the house. I had a long week and a nice lazy day was in the cards.

I worked on this website, even decided to give it a face lift, so I got to work on re-branding and I am very happy with the results. You like the new look? I also did laundry, caught up on my DVR, chatted with friends and went to bed early. All in all I had a fantastic day! Did not miss SM at all.

Sunday, I had plans for brunch with a girlfriend. It turned out to be one of those brunches, that you have so much to say to each other, that it turns into a brinner*. Made up term, but necessary to use proper terminology, even when non-existent.

I had an amazing time engaging with a real life human without the constant need to check my Instagram feed or wondering what that pesky notification that keeps flashing on my screen is?

Then it was Monday, (the day I thought I would be salivating at the mouth.) On my morning commute, I checked email, read some news articles and discussed the weekend with girlfriends. The need wasn’t there to check my accounts and it felt liberating.

Since then, I have been active on social media, but I don’t check my phone nearly as often. In those two days I learned that I can live my life without the digital hype.

Because let’s face it, that life your Instagram feed portrays of your “friends” isn’t real. It’s just a highlighted and very filtered peek at what they wish their life actually looked like. That relationship you admire or loathe? That’s fake. Sure a couple can be happy, but are people THAT happy all the time or THAT perfect? Don’t think so. I’ll change my mind once the “crying selfie” becomes a thing captioned with the true feelings of the author.

We only see what they want us to see and we should not and we will not feel any negative feelings about that. As they post their exotic life, new baby, latest swag, they’re in their sweatpants eating leftovers and binge watching Game of Thrones. Trust.

So what have we learned? 

– We are still going to live in a social media induced world, because that’s what it’s about now, and it’s not going anywhere

– We are the last generation who’s lucky enough to know what life was like without social media and that in itself is amazing

-We’re going to keep portraying ourselves as the picture of perfection, and watch everyone else do the same. But now, we know better. (Wink emoji)

Just remember to sometimes disconnect, go to brinner and know it’s only social media.

*brinner

(brin-ner) 

adj. breakfast/lunch eaten at the time in which you eat dinner.

 

Full Disclosure: I did NOT refrain from social when it came to moderating my client pages. The job of a Social Media Director is never over and my client accounts were monitored throughout my cleanse. NO I did not take a peek at my personal accounts. I kept myself honest. Try it. You feel lighter. 

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2 Comments

  1. August 2, 2016 / 3:44 am

    Wow, Maria! I can relate to your post so much. Social media kept making me feel like I was missing out on things. I once heard that social media only shows you everyone's "highlight reels" while completely ignoring the mundane day to day of life. When that's all you see, you start to think everyone is just… better than you.

    I wish you all the luck in the future now that you're free of all those negative feelings!

  2. August 25, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Hi Noah,
    Thanks for stopping by and jotting down your thoughts! Glad you enjoy the post! 🙂

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