Updated: Aug 1
If you are like me, you open your eyes, stretch a little, and reach for your phone. You scroll through Facebook, or maybe Instagram first. You like photos and giggle at snarky comments. You probably roll your eyes at Susan posting about her 30-month old finally using the toilet…(she is 2.5 Susan), and you most definitely check your crush’s newest selfie. All of the sudden, 30 minutes have gone by and you have to get out of bed and get moving. You hurry to the shower to start your day, feeling tired and kind of ‘blah’, but who (other than serial killers and maybe my Dad) is happy in the morning anyway?
On your commute, you once again check your social media. Refresh and scroll. Advertisements popping up. More memes than you can probably even appreciate the humor in, and several pictures of people’s breakfast and fancy coffees.
Work crawls by. You check Instagram and like your favorite yoga page’s morning mantra post. Oh, how positive! More eye rolling at your next door neighbor posting about “let’s get this money” when you very well know, as does the whole neighborhood, his wife makes the money and he plays video games all day. Scroll. Scroll. Scroll.
Lunch is with your workmates but after only a few minutes of talking about the same things you talked about yesterday, you find yourself scrolling again. You see a post by a woman promoting one of those companies that sell face masks or weight loss programs or whatever the “business” fad of the month is (I will touch on this annoying topic in another blog). You roll your eyes extra hard on this and mutter, “how about you get a real job?” Funny, but it’s only 12pm and the day seems to be crawling by. For some reason, you’re in kind of a lousy mood and are getting nothing done. The afternoon seems to go much the same way. More scrolling and more irritability.
Ok… so I could keep going, but I think you get my point. To be completely honest, this was a point I just recently proved to myself. As advanced as our modern day world is, and the large part social media plays in that, we are opening our minds (and hearts) to extreme mood swings throughout the day with that little tool called Facebook…or Instagram…or Twitter. It is here that we are exposed to people’s opinions, thoughts, politics, good moods, bad moods, racism, unrest, injustices, animal abuse, child abuse, English language abuse…. I could go on and on. We are exposed to this 24/7. And the kind of crazy part? We crave it. We crave the drama of online spats, and spouting of opinions that we would never express if we were in a roomful of people having a conversation.
If you are anything like me, you find yourself just checking it, to check it. Mindlessly.
Some may argue that social media is a great thing - the “Information Age” and such. However, I ask the question: Do the perks of having this much information available at the click of a button or scroll of a finger outweigh the bad? I think that is a question each person must answer for him or herself.
I recommend you trying the same thing that I did this past week. Here is what you do: Sign out of all social media for a full 24 hours. Compare how you feel at the end of that 24 hours vs. how you normally feel. Be completely honest with yourself. Are you in a better mood? Were you more productive in that 24 hour period than normal? Do you feel calmer? Do you have less anxiety?
I will let you in on a little secret. I discovered that I absolutely hate having access to people’s daily thoughts, opinions and views. Now, before you all go and unfriend me in the masses, let me explain. I appreciate technology as a businesswoman. It makes things incredibly easy and more convenient. However, I am one of those people who enjoys solitude and silence. I love being able to daydream in peace and when I am done with human interaction for the day, I go home to a very serene and hidden house where I rarely answer the phone and often times forget to check for text messages. I prefer the quiet of books to the noise of television. In addition, I will always listen to music over having Netflix on in the background.
When I signed out of social media for the required 24 hours, at first I was a little uneasy. I realized I scroll a lot while just sitting still. But ten minutes after breaking the habit of checking to just check, I felt this amazing amount of peace. There really is no other word for it. All of the sudden I was focused on my day, what I needed to do, where I needed to go. I was lighter and happier without the constant barrage of other people’s nonsense and…. I was more productive.
SO, do me a favor: Pick a 24-hour period and try it out. Call it a “cleanse”. (You did a juice cleanse after all, so you will live through this Susan, I promise!) Let me know your thoughts and even more importantly, results from this social experiment…(See what I did there?)