Simple fact – social media is addictive.
I find that when I wake up I am instantly on my phone, checking instagram, twitter, you name it. Have you watched the the youtube video ‘Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace’? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU). A friend sent it to me and it basically made me re-think my whole attitude towards social media. For a while my housemate and I had been talking about the socially damaging affects of it. For example it is so easy to appear brave and confident online, but in person could be painfully shy. We can put a mask on who we are…it seems almost unnatural? I often find I reach for my phone for no apparent reason but to start scrolling through instagram without purpose. Sometimes I would come across images of women who looked amazing, they seemed to have the perfect life, but no one can be perfect. We see glimpses of their day, not every second, not every emotion they felt or experience they had.The Guardian published an article called ‘Is social media bad for young people’s mental health?’ which mentions David Baker, ‘a trainee clinical psychologist at Lancaster University’ who stated that ‘people who compared themselves with others online were more likely to feel depressed’ (https://www.theguardian.com/mental-health-research-matters/2017/jan/20/is-social-media-bad-for-young-peoples-mental-health). I remember uploading a particular image of myself revising in a coffee shop once and it seemed relaxing, fun. Clearly I had had a great day? But I had actually had a day filled with anxiety over an exam and was in tears by the evening. Social media can be a great tool but also very deceiving if we lead ourselves to believe that it can tell us everything about someone.
The same friend I were in a coffee shop once and we were talking about how you can be sat in a restaurant and see people on their phones, not talking to the person they came out for lunch or coffee with. That moment we both realised we had our phones on the table, lighting up with notifications….guilty as charged.
I’m not saying social media is bad as it provides endless possibilities for communication etc. My Dad lives abroad and so having tools like Instagram and WhatsApp is a very easy and extreme useful way to keep in touch. The same article by The Guardian also presents social media in its positive light by mentioning Ashleigh Ponder, a 17 year old girl who had anorexia. From this experience Ponder created an Instagram page called ‘balanced not clean’ (https://www.instagram.com/balancednotclean/?hl=en) which promotes how to eat a healthy, balanced diet. At the time of publication, The Guardian stated that Ponder had 23,000 followers on Instagram (now 24,000), showing that social media can be used to help others and connect with people across the globe. (https://www.theguardian.com/mental-health-research-matters/2017/jan/20/is-social-media-bad-for-young-peoples-mental-health). I also love Instagram pages like SimplicityCity (https://www.instagram.com/simplicitycity/?hl=en) as I learn a lot about fashion history and style. This provides me with endless inspiration for the Fashion / Art Reviews section of this website (you can find a review of SimplicityCity in this section).
But, the fact still lies that social media can be used in the wrong way which can be hurtful and can damage real life conversation. The first rule I gave myself was to not check my phone on a morning before I had said hi to at least one of my housemates. I haven’t always followed this rule but it has made the initial wake up feel more refreshing – it definitely clears a lot of headspace.
So, 2017 is my year to be more in touch with the world, learning more about it, but not just through social media – instead through developing relationships, having experiences that I don’t feel I need to document every second of.
I’ll be writing another post in a few months to update you on this social media cleanse 💫
De-gluing my phone from my hand right now 😉