- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 21 August 2018, 7:24PM
Prompted by a conversation on air about how much time we spend on social media and the effects on mental health and productivity, I was compelled to do a digital detox. As a millennial, this is pretty daunting but I was keen to see how I’d feel.
Life had gotten to the point where I was thinking in captions and stories and seeing everything in tiny Instagram squares. My mental health had taken a hit and my productivity was not as high as it could be. So I decided to log off for a period of 12 days to see how I felt and what I could learn from a life without being ‘liked’ for a while.
For a week leading up to the experiment I tracked my phone usage and the results were pretty shocking.
I was averaging about 3 hours a day of social media and one (hung-over) Sunday I spent 2 hours and 14 minutes on Instagram alone. That’s a disgusting amount of time to waste, pining over people I’d never be and being ‘influenced’ into buying stuff I didn’t need.
I deactivated my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. I literally felt as though I had chopped myself off from civilisation. My hands were fidgety and I’d reach for my phone to open it and realise that I had no social media platforms to scroll through. Deflated I went and found other things to do like read the news or open a book. Day one done.
Generally, my day would start staring into a bright rectangular abyss, one eye closed, mindlessly scrolling to see what the internet world had gotten up to in the last eight hours. Prior to deactivating, my social media tracking app had averaged that I’d spend around 16 minutes (!!!) in the morning on my phone in bed.
Sans getting my digi hit, I got out of bed straight away, had time for breakfast and got into work feeling more energised just having an extra 15 mins under my belt.
No kidding this was when the text messages came rolling in: “Omg babe, what's wrong, are you okay, you deleted your insta?”
Even friends would paranoid message other friends and ask why I’d unfollowed them and what they’d done wrong (we all know that an unfollow or a defriend is a modern day equivalent of your Mum telling you you can’t have chocolate at the supermarket checkout).
I reassured my friends that I was fine and I just needed a break from social media (they still looked at me funny).
Friday. Usually, I would be taking a wanky picture of a rosé glass with a caption like “FRI-YAY I love you”.
I had successfully completed a full work week sans social media and I felt a little bit proud to be a 26-year-old technology addict who'd sobered up from a social media high.
By day 8 I was completely at ease at the thought of having deleted myself from the internet.
Even though my hands had stopped reaching for my phone out of boredom, I almost felt lonely and left out. I was desperately wondering what my friends were doing.
Thankfully I’ve got good humans in my life who screenshot memes and ‘manually’ texted them to me. That’s friendship.
With a day to go, day 11 was my undoing. I had to buy something off a site and realised that I had registered with my Facebook account which meant I had to reactivate it to log in (Facebook was actually the social media site that I missed the least since it’s become so spammy).
From this I learnt a handy hint- don’t hang all your credentials on your Facebook login in case you’re ever compelled to delete (soz Zuckerberg).
I’m back bitches, today was the anticipated return after the 2-week digi detox. Was I itching to get back on social media? Yes, I’m not going to lie, I whacked the names of people I love to stalk to see what cool outfits my girl crushes had flogged from PR companies and took a giant hit of memes like a drug addict.
Putting down the phone for a few less hours a day made me realise a few things; the pluses being I was more productive in a workday, my mental health was better, it was nice to not have to scroll through bad concert snaps and I was (as cliché as it sounds) ‘living in the now’.
The downsides? I felt isolated coming to work and not having much of a clue of what was happening in pop culture, I missed a friends birthday because I didn’t have Facebook remind me and in general felt like a bit of a loser.
The takeaway? I wouldn’t get rid of my social media accounts (except Facebook and Twitter maybe) because I do kind of need them for communications purposes and my work.
BUT I’d highly recommend deleting certain apps for a week, turning off notifications, putting social apps on a second screen and un-following people that just don’t make you feel good about yourself (I’m looking at you Instagram models getting paid hundreds to post about ‘skinny tea’ and hair vitamins).
Right with this over I G2G and tell everyone on the gram how I’m living my best life.