Hands in the air if you spend too much time scrolling? Yeah, me too. And that is why,
Ladies and gentlemen, this year I'm giving up Social Media for lent *holds for applause*.
Okay so I don't expect any grand recognition for this mighty 40-day 'challenge'. But as many find their weakness in chocolate, I identified mine as social media procrastination- namely Instagram .
Never one to shy from a challenge, the 'logging out for lent' task was undertaken.
But would it be a freeing break or too tough to take?
The aesthetics of Instagram, the Snapchat banter and witty tweets were where too much of my time was spent. As all were large procrastination sources, I logged out of:
The first week: #Imlovinit
From the 1st to the 7th I was able to open my eyes, look up and embrace the beauty of nature and live the simple life.
"A wash of freedom and control came over me."
....That is a definite exaggeration but there was some truth in it. Social media was holding back my life. Instead of scrolling through trashy Snap stories I was brushing up on current affairs. Instead of checking out some inst-aesthetics I was making calls or doing work. I was a better human being without it.
...Or so it seemed...
Serving a purpose
As work, tiredness and fatigued piled on I began to realise the real reason behind my love of social medias. Instgram and snapchat were my escapes, and now, under pressure, I needed some stimulating relaxation. The #foodporn and familiar 'fifty shades of chin' selfies were infact filtering away my stressors. It wasn't a goggle-eyed addiction pulling me into a world of shallow false connection- it was a place to reset. Instagram and Snachat served a purpose, being my digital cup of tea in which I could dunk my frazzled biscuit brain....... "So why have I given this up? " I thought to myself.
Logic to the log in
So having thought that I was being weak to crave my beloved life-bloggers and scrolling habits, it seemed a new logic and mindset had oversome me.
Why should we deprive ourselves of something that brings balance to our lives?
One aesthetically pleasing Betty's breakfast was enough to seal the deal. A tap of the keyboard and a snap of the camera later and I was once again back to my socialmedia self.
On the 10th March 2017 I once again became the J.K Scrolling I had a right to be.
What I learned
1.Social media doesn't necessarily hinder productivity
In fact, it possibly improves it! Without my set 'escape route' I didn't have the "Right, I'll watch this snap then get on with it" structure I needed to be productive.
2.We have a need for stimulation
Speaking of productive, since logging out I've found that it doesn't matter how we get it, our brains NEED stimulating. In abscence of my usual distractors I still seeked SOMETHING to process. Newspapers, TED talks, the radio or even writing to-do-lists. I couldn't just have a void of 'nothing' to focus (or half-focus) on. I blame those damn neurons with their constant desire to fire. It must behuman nature to seek stimulation.
...and social media fullfilled that much more pleasantly than super depressing news stories.
3.Insta is my inspo
I gain inspiration and knowledge through these channels- be it #fitnessmotivation, #wanderlust, random WashingtonPost politics, essential #recoverymotivation or just sharing my next coffee date destinations with friends and family. Evidence from Marketing Week shows that more and more people are turning to Social media to look for inspiration. Around 35% of people surveyed follow specific companies on social media to "get ideas for when they next go shopping."
I am guilty of such 'virtual window shopping'.
4.A time and a place
Although I have now logged back in, that doesn't mean that I am 24/7 on my phone. In fact, I wasn't like that before. I believe the wonderful URLs can connect people but glueing your eyes to your screen rather than engaging in restaurant, lecture, or social settings can be a a saddening reality (I even wrote about it here a while back) not to mention a total distraction. I believe human, self, environmental and wifi connections should all be in balance.
5.Lent is for learning
So maybe I didn't fulfill my mission, maybe that makes me a failure? But I am neither defeated by this nor regretting my trial-run. I appreciate a good challenge but Lent is for learning, and I guess I can say I learned something here about myself, my actions and the world.
So they see me scrollin', they may be hatin' but nothing ventured nothing gained.
Besides, I'm not Catholic anyway.