30 Days without Social Media
What goes on in one's brain and life while they are trying to break a social media addiction? Will my blog still be successful without social media? Will I be bored? Can I actually make it 30 days without caving in? Follow along and let's find out together!
Let’s talk about social media.
I was 16 years old when I joined the world of social media. Good ol’ Myspace. Myspace was a place where I could have my own little room on the internet that my parents didn’t see and, as a teenager, that was cool. Now the was year 2008 and, at the risk of sounding ancient, the internet was just different back then. Myspace was mostly just a place to express myself and talk to friends, you know the ones you already spent all day talking to during school.
In 2010, I was a senior in high school. We all left Myspace and joined Facebook. I remember my brother complaining how all the young kids were joining Facebook and ruining the college kids’ vibes. Facebook in 2010, and in fact until about 2014, was a pretty awesome internet space. It was just pointless status updates and everyday pictures. There was no re-sharing. Very little was about politics. And the best part? I connected with people from all times of my life. I found my best friend from kindergarten. I was able to stay in touch with people I met at various places. And though I was in college at the time, I was able to see pictures of my high school friends, and that was nice.
I wasn’t addicted to Facebook. In fact, I didn’t even have Facebook on my phone. I got on maybe once a day at night, looked at the status updates for a few minutes, closed my computer, and went to bed.
Fast forward to creating the Laura The Gastronaut Instagram page in 2019. Through this platform, I was connected with so many others that appreciated the works of Julia Child. I met others from all over the world. How amazing is that! I made friends, people that I still talk to even today. We share stories. We talk food. We give each other advice. I like that.
Despite these wonderful connections, I still felt depressed about something.
Every time I got on social media, I would feel empty. And then next thing I knew, I was on social media again. The first thing I did when I would wake up in the morning? Check social media. The last thing I would do in a day? Check social media. In the passenger seat of a car? Check social media. Waiting for the coffee to brew? Check social media. You get the point. How did I ever manage to get anything done?
Embarrassingly enough, I didn't realize my social media addiction on my own. It was actually just getting worse and worse. About two months ago, my Laura The Gastronaut Instagram page took a big hit thanks to the new algorithm. Previously, when I had 2000 followers, I could easily get 200-400 likes on a post. Now I could barely get 50 likes despite having 1000+ more followers. I spent hours researching how to fix “the problem.” I tried everything. I started posting more. I posted videos. I made reels. I posted multiples stories every day. Nothing worked. My engagement levels tanked.
I felt defeated. I was playing this social media game, but I didn’t even know the rules. Every day, I lost. I had heard about the documentary, The Social Dilemma. I had been wanting to watch it for months but kept putting it off. Perhaps, I knew that it would convince me to quit social media, and I wasn’t ready for that. What would I do with all my free time? I thought life would be so boring without social media to fill the voids. What if I missed an important announcement?
Last week, my husband and I sat down to watch the documentary. I turned off the TV feeling used and sad. How could I fall for this? How could I put the people sitting right in front of me on hold so I could endlessly scroll on my phone?
If you haven’t watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix yet, I highly recommend you do so. The interviews are with former presidents and CEOs of the most popular platforms. Some of these people even helped create them. They aren’t on social media anymore, and they don’t even let their children on social media. That speaks volumes to me.
I’m not saying that everybody needs to quit social media because there’s some really good things that it can provide. But I fully believe that if you use these platforms, you deserve to know what’s happening to your own brain. Each post you see on social media is designed specifically for you. That may sound nice, but eventually that will start to change how you think. You are trapped inside your own little echo chamber hearing the same things over and over again until those are your beliefs. Social media has changed who you are as a person. Isn’t that scary? Our world has never been more divided, and our teenagers’ suicide and self-harm rates are skyrocketing. Anxiety is being diagnosed more and more. We are comparing our lives and looks to others constantly. These apps are designed to keep you coming back for more. Our brains love that quick fix of new “information” that we get when we refresh the page. So much in fact, that we now have a difficulty focusing on long-term tasks. Social media is a drug. We are lab rats.
I looked at my screen time on my phone for the previous week, and I wanted to vomit. Hours and hours and hours wasted on apps. I wanted a life that was full and rich. How did this happen? This has been 7 years of my life…
I AM ADDICTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA. And there’s a good chance that you are too because a lot of our world is..
I’m not saying I’m giving up social media forever because I love the connections. I am, however, quitting for 30 days. Some of it has to do with I want to prove that I can do it. Most of it though has to do with getting my life back. I want to have a conversation with my husband without needing to look at the notification I just got on my phone. I want to go hang out with friends without having the urge to “just check and see what’s going on.” I want to take a picture for my own pleasure without thinking, “Instagram will like this.” I want to go on vacation and leave my phone in the hotel room. I want others to know that it’s okay if I miss their call or I don’t respond back to a text for hours. It’s not that I don’t want to talk, but I don’t want to be chained to my phone. I want to work efficiently and not be distracted by my phone. I want to take a food picture for my blog that I love and not tell myself a couple hours later that it could be better because I saw another food blogger’s “even more beautiful food picture.”
I want my life back.
For the next 30 days, I’ll take you through my real and honest social media addiction recovery. My hopes are that just one person out there realizes that this is a problem and makes a change too.
I’ll also be tracking my blog data and seeing if spending less time and not posting on social media decreases my numbers, makes no changes, or increases my numbers. Can you successfully run a blog in 2021 without any social media presence? I’ll let you know.
All social media apps will be removed from my phone, but I will still be posting my new content here on my blog, Pinterest, and YouTube. Pinterest and YouTube will be used solely for posting- no scrolling or watching!
If you want to contact me during these 30 days, feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com. I’ll love to chat about the experience or any food-related content.
You can read more about The Social Dilemma on www.thesocialdilemma.com.
Read my 30 Days without Social Media ->
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