Social media detox
A month of (trying to) detox from social media really opened my eyes! We all know Facebook is called Fakebook, and research has shown that Instagram is actually linked to depression. So why do we spend hours a week scrolling through our social media timelines, as if it’s our lifeline? Why does our self-esteem depend on how many likes we receive – even from complete strangers? Why do we compare our life to someone else’s controlled content online?
I am guilty of checking social media as soon as I wake up, and it’s the last thing I do before going to sleep. When dating, I become a CSI agent and can dig up everything there is to know about the man in question (admit it ladies, we all do it!)… And I rarely feel better after having scrolled through my timeline. So, after a painful breakup last month, I realised it was time for a detox, and these are my Eureka moments:
- Social media doesn’t mirror real life (the majority of the time). And I will be the first one to admit this; I recently posted a picture with a friend in this cool new restaurant in Amsterdam, looking like shiny happy people. What nobody sees is that I was actually really sad and five minutes later I was crying my eyes out and couldn’t eat a thing. A week later I posted beautiful and artistic pictures of my trip to Bali, while I was actually heartbroken and unable to enjoy my surroundings.
- If you are down, nothing makes you more miserable than seeing happy posts from everyone else on your timeline. It seems the grass is always greener when it comes to the lives of your social media buddies. No one wants to admit that while everyone is out partying or traveling and posting pictures about it, you are actually at home binge watching Gilmore Girls and eating Ben & Jerry’s in your Hello Kitty pyjamas, all the while checking out your ex’s Insta page.
- A picture (on Insta) really is worth a thousand words. We create stories ourselves that go haywire at times. “Why did this chick place a heart underneath my guy’s post? Is this an ex, or is he hooking up with her?” Later realising the woman on the picture is actually his cousin.
- There is a trend of bloggers who post selfies, with amazingly deep quotes and hashtags underneath. Yet the selfie has absolutely nothing to do with the quote, and in most cases these girls don’t have a clue about the actual meaning of these quotes. “Inhale the future, exhale the past” says a 21 year old stewardess with little life experience, next to her heavy makeup selfie…It makes me laugh but it is actually quite sad.
- Confidence seems to be influenced by how many likes we get, we need validation from others. Yet if you think of it, why should likes from complete strangers mean anything to you?
- Why do men find it so interesting to follow a multitude of women on Insta, even when they have an amazing girlfriend? To me, liking other women’s sexy pictures is the same as flirting with a woman in front of me – in real life. It’s utterly disrespectful and can make the most confident woman feel insecure. Guys, seriously, spend time with your girlfriend or text her, instead of spending this time checking out other women online.
- Why do we find it so easy to communicate emotions online (whether in text or emojis), but this seems to be difficult in real life?
- Our lives seem to take place on Facebook. During my detox I seem to have missed out on lots of things happening in my friend’s lives. “Didn’t you see my posts on Facebook from last weekend?” No, sorry…. And I’ve actually missed quite a lot of my friend’s birthdays, as my only guide is… Facebook. Sorry!
- Selfies. Yes everyone takes selfies, including me, but there are a lot of people out there who take themselves too seriously and fill their social pages with them (after 32675 takes and 10 filters, to get that one perfect shot). Why? Is it insecurity or narcissism? Yet these selfies get hundreds of likes… which gives them the reassurance to keep posting them – over and over again.
Yes social media gives everyone the freedom to do what they want, and in no way do I want to disrespect anyone. The good thing about social media is that it lets you stay in touch with people you’ve met from around the world, and family and friends back home. However, I have learned that the time I spend on social media, could instead be used to do so many other things; something creative, yoga, reading a book, hanging out with family and friends, or or or….And if I want to know how my friends are doing, I prefer to grab a coffee with them, or have a Skype session instead of having to check out Facebook. I love traveling and photography and will continue using Instagram, but I will never let social media control my life, and self-esteem, as much as it did before. This – to me – is actual freedom. *insert deep quote here*