I’m quitting social media. The HORROR. Whoa, whoa there: I’m not about setting unrealistic goals so I’m still allowing myself the occasional browse (capped at 10 minutes) but strictly no posting. Now, I’m not the *biggest* ‘poster’ ever anyway, maybe once or twice a week on Instagram and Facebook, but I’ve started using Instagram Stories daily and my browsing is bi-hourly.
The reason for my resolution – which as it turns out is quite a popular one this year, with more people planning to quit social media than smoking according to a survey by Bidvine – is largely to do with a realisation I had over the Christmas period. With a lot of free time on my hands, I found myself absentmindedly picking up my phone and scrolling vacantly past images I’d already looked at less than an hour ago.
I’d be watching a really good film with my family and find myself tapping on the holy trinity – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – and making that cursory scroll. I wasn’t giving either my full attention, or my family for that matter, and I just ended up in this weird haze between screens – something most social media users can relate to, I’m sure. Then before bed I’d switch off the light and spend up to half an hour squinting at a bright light LOOKING OVER THINGS I’D ALREADY SEEN. But of course this wasn’t restricted to Christmas time. I, and many people I know, do this sort of thing all year round.
I’d also be posting things pointlessly. If it wasn’t photos from drinks with friends on Facebook, it was adding snippets of my day on Instagram Stories. I realised it was just unnecessary; half out of boredom, half out of habit. You know those people who rarely do anything on social media? The elusive silent browsers? I admire them. They have some mystery about them and that is something that seems healthy to me in a day and age when everything is so accessible and available.
Social media has so many positives, and, as I say, I won’t be going as far as to delete my apps, but I think abstaining temporarily, and picking up a book to read, calling my mum or doing some life organising instead can only be a good thing. Right?