It all started with “The Social Dilemma”. I remember finally watching the documentary a few weeks ago. It had been on my Netflix lineup forever. I finally sat down with my fiancé to give it a watch. I was not naive; I knew what the documentary was about. The grip social media has and the damage it does on a daily life. As the owner of a snazzy smartphone, of course I had all the important social media platforms installed. Instagram was my favorite. Next was YouTube. I had a few channel’s I liked to watch, overall I liked the app.
Twitter and Pinterest were used maybe a few times a month. About a month ago, I finally hopped on the Tik-Tok bandwagon. Facebook, which had once been a favorite staple, was something that bored me easily. I was constantly looking at my emails and different social media feeds like a junkie needing a fix.
As a thirty-one millennial, I found myself spending hours online, looking at posts, pictures, pushing the “Like” button, the “heart” on Instagram. I knew I had a problem. Watching the film, the more upset I became. Social media platforms purposely preyed on our boredom, curiosity, anger and laughter. How dare they!
Aren’t we the ones giving them the power? The more we spend online giving away our attention; it’s our time and emotions they win. I also have an open mind to see that social media can be used for some good. I say that and the first platform that comes to mind is Facebook.
You can find family or old lost friends. I guess in a way that is something positive. Honestly, I like how easy it is to find something on Google, how easy it is to send an email text someone, pretty much anything and everything is easier than before.
I decided to do something, sort of an experiment. After watching the film, I wanted nothing of the usual platforms I had liked so much. I cannot really put it into words. I had zero desire to look at anything. From ending the documentary until a hundred and sixty-eight hours later, I did not open any social media app.
As I am writing this, I have yet to open Instagram or Twitter. I have opened Facebook just yesterday, (when I did I had 87 notices), and YouTube within the last day. How did I manage for a week? Very easily! I had no desire to look at anything. I would use my phone for emails, calling, texting and Facebook messenger. I focused or tried to focus on other things. Honestly, it was easy not looking at my phone.
You might ask how I managed this during the election. It was probably the most important election in my lifetime, but I kept my eyes and fingers adverted. I had the news on and I would monitor that from time to time. Also, my fiancé would give me little updates from his own Twitter feed. Is that considered cheating? Eh, let’s say not. Gone were the nights of staring at a phone screen until I fell asleep. Gone were the minutes wasted scrolling away at nonsense. I even cracked open a book! Something I had not done in a long time.
I guess the moral of this post goes something like this. Make sure to step away from the screen. Give yourself time away from the endless scrolling. Find something to enjoy in your everyday life. I found it helped my mental health, and I will continue to spend less time on my smartphone. Not just because of the documentary but because I want to focus my life on other happier things.