What I learnt from 64 days of Social Media Detox

The decision to quit social media was not taken all of a sudden. It wasn’t like one unfortunate morning I wake up to find my mind cluttered with the all the ill effects of Watsapp, Instagram and Facebook. I have been thinking about setting my phone free from the social world but my job couldn’t let me do it for obvious reasons. Later I enrolled for a creative writing course which demanded to share the stories each one of us crafted through our learning & imagination, and our take on different areas of writings over Watsapp and Facebook groups. Hence a week after my course ended, I took to declaring that I am taking some time off from social media. I did so by sharing a common status through Watsapp and Instagram. As I dragged each of these apps to the bin icon, I felt the newspapers, a reading app and the dictionary on my phone, silently applauding the departure of the social media channels. I was happy seeing them happy.

Why I Quit Social Media?

I felt a need to be heard. I felt a need to be seen. And for a long time, I quenched this thirst by posting incessantly to social media. I posted and posted till the time I started hating being enslaved to my ego, stagnated in my personal growth, and obsessed with my image.

Nobody is as successful as they are for the five minutes out of the 24 hours each day at which they peak. The likes, the comments, the hearts, the claps, the friends, the followers — makes it dangerously addictive and is destroying the fabric of society. Everyone’s Instagram looks vaguely the same, and everyone visits the walls of the restaurants instead of the restaurants themselves. I too was a part of this crowd.

Being a 90’s kid where the phone booth was the keeper of secret conversations and whispered confessions, I went in retrospect missing those times when friends and relatives were actually present for each other – in phone calls, in letters and in postcards. Not in pings, pokes and texts. In the current scenario, everything is evolving and dissolving at an equal measure. An online application gets to lay the foundation of relationships and an internet connection regulates it. We’re projecting authenticity, while the truth disappears. We’re ravenous for attention, but what we’re really starving for is love. I examined my feelings about these things, and eventually took a vacation from the farce space.

To quit social media is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Here’s Why :

  1. I had plenty of free time on my hands which was earlier consumed by scrolling through the social media feeds, posting pictures and texting.
  2. I am happy, extremely motivated and can very well comprehend the Joy of Missing Out ( JOMO).
  3. I became more observant and started appreciating the smaller things to a greater degree.
  4. Sounds cliché, but social media helped me in figuring out who are my real friends. Easy to be friends with someone when it’s convenient, isn’t it?
  5. Most of my writing is still shit, but I had fun making it. I ceased to care what it does in the Shareable Content Marketplace.
  6. Not everything that I do has to be competitive, not everything is a contest to be won or a truckload of likes to be garnered.
  7. I realized that social media does nothing to contribute to the happiness in your life. One can be happy with or without social media.
  8. My New Year beginning was as good as those of the people who entered 2019 with warm greetings, and traveled to far off places. As the year ended, I measured it by the number of times I have felt warm and fuzzy after finishing a book, the number of strangers and acquaintances who became my friends, the number of times I have done more than sitting around and complaining.

I am beginning to take time to heal, to learn. Life still moves me and confuses me. Of the things I experience, I will fail to come to terms with some of them, while many others will inspire me. Of the people I love, some I may lose but some will choose to stay.

I am back on social media , and by the very nature of what I do I can’t deactivate my accounts completely, but I promise my data trail won’t become my legacy — my relationships with people will be. I will stay healthy, and invest my time into things that matters to me, with the people I love. That’s how I plan to live a full, if tiny, life. I don’t need to always be clever, interesting, liked, adored, envied, admired, seen or heard. I can simply be me, off the grid, and secure. Sharing more by posting less. Being a body instead of a brand. And writing more. I’m not a human highlight film — I’m merely a human. And I intend to stay a human.

P.S – The intent of this post is not put the active users of the respective apps in a bad light. This is my very personal take on not using social media and I am very much aware of the fact that it’s a necessity. All we need to do is check and ensure that we use commonsense the same way we were using it the last decade.

Happy Reading and a very Happy New Year!

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One Comment Add yours

  1. esoterica says:

    “I will stay healthy, and invest my time into things that matters to me, with the people I love.” I love this sentiment! I’ve gradually eliminated all social media accounts over the last six years after assessing how and if there were adding value to my life. Some were harder to part with in the end, but letting them go has been absolutely freeing–though I have fewer “friends” now, the relationships are deeper and more meaningful.
    Last night, I was listening to a interview with Cal Newport, a computer scientist/author who has never had social media, and he talked about how humans have evolved over millennia to interact face-to-face. While digital media certainly has it’s place in the modern world, he suggests we find ways to leverage the digital space to foster more and deeper real-life connections. I get the impression that your digital detox brought you to a similar conclusion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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