One Week Social Media Fast
I took a break from social media for the last 7 days. I felt I was spending more and more time on Facebook and Instagram with less and less return. I kept reminding myself that I needed to use these platforms for my business but if I’m being honest 3-4 hours a day is probably over kill. Loving a challenge I decided to go on a fast for a week.
I don’t use Twitter or Snapchat so Facebook and Instagram were the forms of social media I stopped using for the week. First off I deleted the apps from my phone. This is the gateway to my addiction. My phone is always on me and when I’ve a bit of free time it had become the norm to check Facebook or scroll through Instagram.
These little breaks throughout the day ended up with me spending a lot of my day on these apps. It all culminated when I hurt my ankle last week and was laid up for 3 days. I spent all day on Facebook just wasting time and felt terrible at the end of the day.
I could have read a book, or done somethings somewhat productive but Facebook suck me in, AGAIN. This was the last straw and triggered me into action. The next day the fast began.
The first few days were challenging. I felt a bit like Renton in Trainspotting.
One of the things that I don’t like about social media is the addictiveness of it. I found myself longing to check Instagram and Facebook. My triggers for social media are public transport and the toilet. Instead of having a moment to myself I would quickly pull out my phone and look at how awesome everyone else’s life is on Instagram.
Not having the apps on the phone gave me a second to stop myself. After the initial withdrawals eased and it started to leave my blood stream I felt an element of pride in my self control.
Not having that sudden urge to check how many likes a post got or who messaged me was freeing. I was started to make better use of my time and them blackouts that I associate with being sucked into sociasl media disappeared.
What I Learned From My One Week Social Media Fast
We have more time than we think
We’re all too busy and don’t have time for x,y and z but guess what? We have time to spend at least 60 minutes a day on social media. I do, you do, we all do, so let’s cut out the lies and be honest with ourselves. We have time, we just don’t take responsibility and use it the way we should.
Now I don’t want you to think I hate social media. I think they are amazing technologies and feel so grateful that I can message friends all around the world and keep up to date with them. I just don’t like becoming a smack head without even realising it. Kevin Kelly made a good point of doing one day a week with no technology. If I don’t I’ll just slip back to old habits.
Social media platforms want us to stay online as long as possible
We also need to realise that companies like Facebook and Instagram are spending millions on how to make their apps more habit forming. If you think about the most expensive place to put a billboard places like Time’s Square come to mind not some field in the Outback.
Where the most eyes are is where advertisers will pay the most and that is why it pays for these Apps to keep us on them. Heck Instagram’s creator was a student of BJ Fogg. BJ is the world’s leader in habit formation research based in Stanford.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend this week on this topic and he made a similar point about Tinder. Have you ever found yourself on tinder, get matches but instead of messages them you continue to play. That is how the app is laid out. Everytime you log in, new matches pop up, not the message area so you forget and continue playing. Again the longer you spend there the better it is for Tinders business.
Social media is not real life
What I think is important to remember is that social media is not a representation of our lives. It’s our highlight reels. When I nail a new trick like a handstand I post it online. But this is a positive amongst many negatives that don’t get posted.
When I’m on Instagram all I see is everyone’s perfect life. I see hot girls beating my 1 rep max squat, guys with better bodies than I’ll ever have and everyone telling me to buy their coaching.
How to control social media in your life
I’m back on social media two days now and already I can feel it’s grip on me. Just this morning I hopped out of bed at 6, showered and meditated and then decided I should check Instagram for a few minutes. 30 minutes later I realised I was now in a rush to get ready for work.
This is what I want to control and not be a slave to so these are my guidelines for getting it under control.
- No social media until noon each day – I would recommend deleting the apps initially.
- One day a week social media free – most likely Sunday. Leave your phone at home on this day.
That’s it. Setting these rules will help keep my addiction in check. It’s just too difficult otherwise.
I’d love to hear about how you deal with social media addiction. Let me know in the comments.