The Only Thing That I Missed Out From a Seven Days Social Media Detox

3:14 PM

“I have just recently quit my job, to discover how I have a lot of free time in a day,” Me.

I used to think that 24 hours a day is not enough and really have to juggle it up just to survive. So I would love to be a couch potato in weekends, doing nothing other than lying around, eat, and watch movies with my husband. But two days are enough, coming Monday I will be hustling again from editorials, to meetings, and to many other multi-task that I have to do, running a website.

Now, being a freelance, while looking for a scholarship, looking for a job, looking for ways to add my abilities, and a full time coach potato, it really sinks in how much is 24 hours length feels like. I start to think what have I done with my time when I had the job? Where all that my times went? I came to realization that other than working, a lot of my times consumed by me sticking my eyes on my phone. I spend so many times on social media and news apps. And when I say many times, I mean a lot!

I always think I did it because I have a career around that. I was working for a website that creates articles and try to gain traffic. It is only normal if I always try to keep myself in the loop of what is in, trending, people talk about, and the news! Am I wright? And as some one who is in the digital industry, it is mandatory to understand and pay attention to social media, not only a s a consumer but also as the content maker, building that social media persona is as important as building our reputation in the office. Am I wrong?

That is why I was spending at least two hours in the morning to screen all the newest information in multi-apps. I used to open news aggregator apps and screen what’s the trending articles people are reading, scrolling Facebook and Path to know what’s my friends are sharing and currently talk about because it could lead to something viral among netizen, and then tap my Instagram account to post my daily already-planned-and-picked-edited-and-curated picture to creates that social media persona I was talking about before and off course to gain some insight from those Instagram celebrities that my readers are currently crazy about. And then, I would share all of the information that I get from this two hours daily activity to my team of writers for the website via chat apps. And I used to do this, every day.

The social media daily exposure did not end there. Every time the WiFi goes slow on my laptop, or the meeting getting boring, or alone at lunch, or waiting for something, my hand has this reaction out of habit to grab my phone and open any social media apps. And when I say any, I mean all that I have in my phone. It’s like my thumb have it’s own brain. I don’t know how many times I spend on social media during office hours, but spoiler alert, the WiFi in my former office goes down a lot. And those meetings I have to partake are also a lot. I think it’s fair to estimate that I spend give or take two hours combine, just to ‘stay in the loop’ as I might say. Only in my super busy day I have no time to check social media, but in these kind of day I might even did not have time for lunch. And to think back, this typical day could happen around twice a week. So, I guess there were days where I did not peek into social media at the office too. Good to know!

After a long day at work, I don’t know how I still manage to spend more time on my phone and even sometimes on my laptop for checking social media. When I’m too tired, I might do it for only one or two hours. When I’m restless and can’t sleep - okay this is embarrassing - but I could spend the whole night lost in other’s people’s problems, life, and feeds. See I live alone, my husband live in another city and only get home every weekends, and my appetite to watch TV or read a book shrink down as time goes by. So every night, there I am, sleeping with my phone. To be honest, it is sadder to write than to experience it.

I think that is why I feel like I did not have enough time in a day to do it all because I’m practically living in my phone. I remember one time I ask my friend how does she have the time to follow a K-Drama, it’s not that I like it but I used to have a lot of time to follow TV serials. And then she said she watched it really late at night. Yeah, that wouldn’t work for me, I think to myself, after dealing with my phone I need my sleep.

It interfere my thoughts and feelings

Not only having me to spend a lot of time on it, recently I feel that social media gets in to me, it really interfere my thought and feelings. I thought, looking for nice pictures and videos would make me happier. Or reading other people’s thoughts would tick my brain to start an internal conversation. But no, it just makes me feel anxious, sluggish, and drained. It really doesn’t matter what the post is about, I thought that positive and happy post are better than the negative and mellow ones, it’s not.

In the matter of fact, some scientist made a discovery about this. It is not about what kind of content that we read on social media, it’s the duration that will affect our mental health. Read it here, an article on Thrive Global.

Other than social media, the thing that bugs me big time is some type of online news. Those one with the click bait title, judging description, we-don’t-know-who’s subject in it, the poor source check, and the never-learn-journalism sloppy writing is killing me.

Not only that, don’t forget the comments, oh the netizen comment, those gems comment. I feel the sudden urge to break things seconds after I red those comments. It’s not that some of the comments are stupid, but it’s more about the inconsideration that they give. Okay, not all netizen leave heartless comments, but I read a lot that do.

And don’t let me start on those gossip accounts that not only posting private matter of celebrities but also encourage people to bash out any non-celebrity person that they do not like in real life. I think they don’t believe in karma. But hey, maybe I just never know how to enjoy gossips.

So one evening, last week, while scrolling down my Facebook, I decided to deactivate it, logged out from all of my social media account, and deleted all the apps from my phone.

At the first day I thought I’m going to miss it, and little that I know that day that until seven days latter never that I miss it even once. I still have minor worries about things I’ll be missing out, because I used to be very active. And I don’t mean that post-something-and-then-get-out type of user. I liked my friends post, comment on them, sending reaction to their Instagram stories, taking their quizzes on Facebook and discussed about the result, starting conversation on Path, this kind of active user. So yes off course I worry I would missing out on something.

But I was wrong. When my friends try to tag me, or sending me something on social media and they realized I did not respond, they contacted me directly. So I still manage to talk with my friends.

And I fear that I will be this cave woman who know nothing that has been happening in the world because I did not read the news. But turns out, people would still tell us about big news on a casual chat face to face or they will share the link in group chat or directly.

The only thing that I missed out from a seven days social media detox is the dates of my friend’s birthday. That is it.

In addition to that is I feel so much better lately. I am not going to fool you in to thinking that suddenly my mind is clear, or I do yoga very early in the morning and have my soul evoked, or I happy thoughts continuously streaming down in my vein, no. It has only been for a week off course the effect won’t be life changing. But it changed my habit and things that triggered my thoughts.

I have enough time to create my own thought without bad trigger. I feel more creative and more energy to create something, and I don’t feel sluggish and drained anymore. And because of that I think I’m going to extend my social media (and online news) detox for indefinitely time span. 

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