“Humans are not wired to be constantly wired”
– Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
I always think of a new experiment each month that I can challenge myself and my thoughts. Right after my succulent lunch in Elemen to celebrate the end of my plant-based diet experiment, I have an urge to try out another experiment which was a social media detox.
I have been on social media since 2004. It started from Friendster and Myspace. Facebook was introduced to me later in 2009. It was so much fun! I loved Farmville – I was actually addicted to it. And from Farmville to Candy Crush. I remember during my depression days, these 2 were my games. It was fun (I said fun twice so this must be really somthing) haha and after a couple of years I got really hooked to social media.
It began from connecting to few people I thought I lost contact with which was great and fulfilling as you get to talk to them online again. However, after a couple of months, I noticed that I was posting so much stuff – curated stuff about my life that has nothing to do with my real emotions and what was really going on with my life. I posted parties after parties every fucking day. Social media has become the highlight reel of my life. I wanted people to see I was living a great life. But the truth was, I was so empty inside.
Fast forward to 2020 – this is a huge jump from 2009 (11 years!), I know haha. I just don’t want to bore you so you will keep on reading. 🙂 During quarantine (which I wrote about the experience too here). I posted a lot of Instagram stories and Tiktoks. I loved the validation especially the likes. I was constantly checking who viewed me, was my post better than my previous post. What will I do next so I can post it on my social media? The first thing I look for when I wake up was guess what? Instagram. I was asking my friends to like my post so I could get a boost in morale.I even took down posts that did not have that much likes. I even post it during timings which I know that I could get more followers and viewers. – In other words, I focused on what’s superficial and not what’s underneath.
It was a fucking messed up situation. I was in a behavioral addiction. Spending my days to scrolling social media. I was not being vulnerable. I was giving people only the best things and not really what was going on/how I feel and why I feel this way. I love communication and reaching out to people and social media changed me a lot on how I view things. The constant checking of social media apps became a lifestyle which did not support a productive and intentional life.
So, what really happened during my social media detox? I made a plan to uninstall all my social media apps – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my favorite Tiktok(haha!) LinkedIn, Strava and Pinterest. Unfortunately, I don’t have Tinder app to uninstall 😉 haha you don’t swipe for love 🙂 haha Anyway, I don’t want to digress from my topic. I will have a separate topic on dating apps. Well, going back deleting the apps, now that I have a bird’s eye view of the whole situation.
Uninstalling my social media apps really was a life changing experience. I loved everything about it. I spent a lot more time with my family, friends, playing board games, forest bathing, exercise, nutrition, reading books. I was so impressed by how much I have done in a span of 1 month without the shadow of what will other people view my life. I was really able to dive deeper into what and who really meant to me. I was really happy not thinking of how many posts should be getting likes and who will view my stories. I have so much self-awareness and that I am very proud of. I have seen situations in a different lens. I was becoming free from the inputs of other minds.
This is the best experiment I have ever had. I can honestly say now that I will adopt a social media minimalist mindset. It is a digital declutter – it must serve something I deeply value. This is a journey that I’m very proud of. I like connecting to people more now. Storytelling is one of the things I am working on by listening and reaching out to others. It helps me to be strong by showing empathy in order to relate more for whatever story they share. Face to Face interactions are the best – they unfold slowly where I can learn patience and interpret the tone of their voice and their body language. In person communication is fulfilling compared online chabots and comments. It’s where we experience the joy of being heard and understood. I can’t be speaking to a robot all the time – that’s a total nonsense to me. I’d like to strengthen relationship outside of the app. I want to be a person in their life that meet them on a regular basis, talk to them, form more nuanced relationship than any number of texts and emojis can provide.
Here are what transpired during my social media detox which are not on my Instagram page