Here I am with a new perspective on social media . . .
I think social media can be great!
Now I can just picture you all rolling your eyes thinking about how wishy washy I am. But hear me out.
First off, I think it is good to let yourself change your opinion, go back and then change again. Otherwise you can never learn.
Otherwise here is a quick recap:
I went a week off of social media when a friend inspired me to do so. The break was challenging at first but in the end was very refreshing and eye opening. The week off also allowed me to decide that I could keep Snapchat on my phone 24/7.
After the week was up I decided I would keep up with the new standards I was creating for myself by keeping Instagram and Facebook off of my phone unless I wanted to post something. I soon ended up just keeping the apps deleted on weekdays and getting them back for the weekends.
I did this in attempts to train my brain not to crave the platforms.
It has now been about two months since my week off, this is my status update:
After a gradual process I am back on Instagram and Facebook but I am here to explain myself.
Yes I did start with just going on my social media on the weekends but that routine started falling off the rails slightly about a week ago. I got so used to not having Facebook around that I forgot to get it for the weekend! I was pretty proud of that actually, but then I got it the Sunday afternoon and it has stayed on my phone since then. Oops. And the weekend before that I ended up leaving Instagram on my phone and again it’s been there ever since.
On that note, I have learned how to work around having social media on my phone.
Turn off social notifications.
It is easy to forget about the social apps when they are not constantly beeping and buzzing, begging for you to check the obviously urgent activity on your Facebook page.
I suggest you try turning off the notifications for your social apps as well. This way you can still have the apps on your phone and you can open them whenever, but you are in control of why and when you open the apps. Opposed to being controlled by your device.
It may take some time to break the habit of checking your phone constantly for no real reason. I know that I am still in the process of breaking it myself.
Facebook is pushy, but are we surprised?
I also learned that Facebook will send you emails about the activity on your feed and page when you are not active on the app for a certain amount of time. I find these reminders most annoying. But I am not at all surprised by the pushiness. I am slowly getting through all the different “types” of emails that they send me to unsubscribe from each sort of notification, though they do make the process difficult to fully complete.
Both Instagram and Facebook also like to remind me to turn on my notifications every single time I open either app. There is a paragraph at the top of my feed screen when I open the apps telling me how important it is that I “stay connected”. I do not appreciate the obnoxious reminders. Why do they need all the power? It’s creepy.
Can’t get a break
I am still very aware of how often people are on their phones. But I know I turn to my phone in awkward situations also. Which is sad. It makes me wish I lived in an era where people had to talk and they had to push themselves through awkward situations. Even when there is no awkward situation we still turn to our phones! It’s ridiculous.
It’s a good thing the hit TV show Friends was made before smartphones, otherwise the show would have been very different. Ross would have posted on Facebook about his new international girlfriend before showing up at the airport with her surprising Rachel. They would never worry about reaching one another before they left Central Perk because they could could just text. And Joey could just become a YouTube star to fix all of his fame issues.
Anyways, I think people should just know not to go on their phones when they are with friends. We all need to be present.
All this to say,
I still don’t think that social media is all bad. Notice I started this blog post by saying that social media can be great. But it can be used poorly, making its influence bad.
I have said this before but I don’t mind mentioning it again; social media is a great way to connect with friends and family. No matter where they are or what you are doing, you can reach each other. It’s a small world after all. ?
Another reason I gave myself permission to keep social media is because I am leaving the country soon. I am privileged to have the ability to keep in touch with the loved ones I leave behind. I even went as far as creating a travel account on Instagram.
I guess this is just another reason to find a balance in the things like social media. I will use it to be connected and post beautiful pictures but I will not let the apps take control again. Maybe I’ll take another week long break from the apps again, just for fun.