I’m an addict. I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol or anything else you might normally consider to be harmful. I’m addicted to something we all use every day – social media.
I can’t get through a day – nay, an hour without checking the updates on my social media apps. When I wake up, the first thing I do is pick up my phone and check my notifications. When I go to sleep, Instagram is the last thing I see.
“Is this all that bad?” You might ask.
No, not on the surface. On the surface I am connected to my family and friends, and I am able to portray the best version of myself to the world. I can use filters, Photoshop, and captions to make my skin seem more clear or my day seem more eventful. People see what I want them to see, and I can interact with whoever I want, when I want. Dream come true, right?
No. No, not really. I’m wasting so much time- so much time, in fact, that I haven’t accomplished much recently. I’m mindlessly scrolling social media at work, while I’m driving, and at dinner with my fiance. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, which is coupled with crippling low self-esteem and social anxiety: conditions that I did not have a mere five years ago. I’ve noticed that I feel worse after scrolling through a compilation of fitness models, lava cake recipes, and more successful peers. I’ve read articles about the dangers of overuse of social media. And I just can’t stop.
I’ve tried numerous times, believe me. I’ve tried in vain to limit myself to just a few hours a day, only to pick the phone back up fifteen minutes later. I try to put the phone down while I’m driving, or while I’m on the phone with a client at work. But I feel…anxious and mildly stressed. My fingers feel like they are itching to make that scrolling motion. I have almost a panicky nausea feeling similar to withdrawal symptoms.
I’m a big fan of TED talks, and today I watched one that made a great impact on me. In this video, Dr. Cal Newport made a few good points about the negative effects of social media. The video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trVzyG4zFMU
So, I’m ripping the band-aid off. I’m quitting cold turkey for 30 days. Five minutes ago, I deleted Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, along with all the fancy editing apps that naturally exist on a 24 year old females phone. During this experiment, I’m focusing on three main things:
- Mental Health – Do I see an actual improvement in my self-esteem?
- Social Health – How are my relationships effected during this experiment?
- Productivity – AM I more or less productive at work?
Basically, I’m blaming social media for a lot of my issues, and I’d like to see how well-placed that blame is. Tune in on April 27th for my results.