Taking A Break From Social Media

Every day I see a new story about Musk and Twitter or Zuckerberg and Meta. None of these stories are positive. They are always negative. I’m sure there are hundreds of stories and articles about how social media is a terrible scourge of modern life, but nothing seems to have changed that much.

From Twitter to Facebook to Instagram, the amount of time people spend scrolling through these platforms is only increasing. But as the world spins into the third decade of the 21st century, social media has become increasingly intolerable, unhealthy, and downright sad.

In the age of Musk and Zuckerberg, it’s become increasingly more work to keep up with the latest trends and news. Everything is changing so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up. The constant barrage of news and updates from these platforms can be overwhelming and exhausting. For me, I had a strong feeling of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and would constantly scroll to see the latest news and rumors. This has never been healthy, but it is precisely what these platforms are designed to do.

Ads are everywhere, and it’s hard to escape them. The amount of advertising and spam that comes with social media has also become increasingly intolerable. Not to mention, the amount of fake news and conspiracy theories circulating on these platforms can make it hard to know what’s real and what’s not.

When using Instagram, I can’t get away from the ads. With Twitter, I used Tweetbot and Tweetdeck, which stopped the ads. Of course, now Twitter has banned third-party apps. The Twitter app for my iPhone is unusable dreck. Tweetdeck, so far, is still up and running.

The negativity and toxicity of these platforms have also become increasingly hard to ignore. From trolling to cyberbullying, there’s no shortage of people trying to tear each other down on these platforms. With Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I’ve had to curate my follow list within an inch of their lives to make them work. When things can easily be broken, I’m not interested in staying.

Finally, the echo chambers of these platforms can be hard to escape. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of reading the same things repeatedly. Over the last several years, I’ve been accused, rightly so, of not being focused on what’s in front of me because my attention is on whatever is on my phone. The lack of connection to the world outside has hurt my relationships.

The psychological effects of social media are hard to ignore. Constant comparison to others, loneliness and isolation, and an unrealistic worldview can all stem from too much time spent on social media.

Starting last year, I was feeling those effects. I had stopped checking Facebook, but Twitter and Instagram were still full on all the time.

The physical effects of social media were concerning my wife. I was experiencing poor sleep and neck/shoulder pain, and she equated it with spending too much time on my phone. Plus, the blue light emitted from screens disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythm and makes it harder to fall asleep. I was definitely bathing in that blue light a bit too much.

I will likely never not have my phone on my bedside table, but I need to get into the habit of not checking it once I’m in bed.

Being on Twitter and Instagram started to harm my relationship. While I wasn’t oversharing, I spent too much time scrolling through my feeds.

So, I decided to take a break from social media.

First, my goal is to be free of the constant feeling of FOMO. By taking a break, I can focus on the things that matter, like spending time with family and friends or finishing all the creative projects that have been languishing.

Taking a break will allow me to focus more on what’s happening with my family and friends in a way that I haven’t done in quite some time. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to what you see on Facebook and Instagram. The idea is to focus on myself and my journey and goals.

I hope this break can help me focus on my life and successes rather than comparing myself to others or constantly refreshing my feed because I’m bored.

So what am I going to do instead of scrolling through my feeds? I’ve got a few ideas.

I’m going to try spending more time outdoors. Going for a walk can be a great way to get some fresh air and take a break from the phone. I used to listen to podcasts or music when out for a walk with the dog, but lately, I’ve been forgoing that and just staying within the thoughts in my head. I found it a great way to clear my head and relax.

The next thing I’m going to focus on in 2023 is my health. I want to get healthier and lose some weight. My wife got me a rowing machine for the holidays (I asked for it), and I’m slowly developing a 10-minute routine intending to slowly ramp up to twice as long.

Finally, I’m going to spend more time with family and friends. Taking the time to connect with the people in my life is easily the most crucial reason to take a social media break. By spending the time this way, I hope to strengthen my relationships and create lasting memories.

2023 is the best time to stop using social media. From feeling more connected to the world around me to changing my focus to me and mine, I expect I’m going to like this new social media-free world I’m creating.

It might be something for you to consider doing too.

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