So, unless you been living on Mars, by now you would have heard of the latest Netflix craze called The Social Dilemma. To sum this up for you, data, technology and social professionals have taken to the screen to talk about the dark side of social media.
The thing is, we all know there is a dark side, don’t we? We know that the majority of celebrities are editing their photos so much that you wouldn’t even recognise them in the street, we know that we spend too much time scrolling, liking, commenting and comparing. However, this documentary really looks into the analytics and artificial intelligence behind it and how these organisations are targeting us and trying to change our behaviour. I am 29 years old – I have lived half my life without social media and I like to think I have a grasp on what is real and what is not… but what about a 15 year old, even a 20 year old? Is this doing damage to our younger generation who one day will think sitting in a room alone, messaging friends they have never met is a REAL connection? Or comparing themselves to hundreds of edited photos thinking they’re not worthy? My heart breaks at the thought. We have never been so connected, but as a nation – we have never been so alone.
If you’re unsure about making a clean break from social media and just want to give yourself some time back, I have put together a list of things I have done myself over the last year or so.
Here’s how you can start:
- Turn off notifications for Watsapp, Insta, Facebook, Linkedin (whatever you use!). This will stop the constant buzz which sets off our biological alarm telling us to LOOK NOW.
- Try a 2 day detox. Pick your days, what suits you best? The weekend is always a good time to do it, it means that you can truly be present with your family and friends. However, if you find scrolling impacts your working week most, this will be a great way to get you more focused. If you find 2 days easy, gradually increase it – but make sure you can do it each week before you start increasing.
- Take photos, take videos, do as you please but DON’T upload them straight away. You are automatically removing yourself from whatever lovely (photo worthy) situation you’re in. Also, when I am in the company of someone who is constantly updating their socials – I find it bloody rude! Don’t you? If you don’t, think how your family member might feel when you do it? Uploading later will help create a natural habit which will help you realise you don’t have to INSTANTLY tell the world where you, what you’re doing etc… it works a treat and if you’re like me and think you have to reply to every message as soon as you receive it, it helps you understand that you don’t – it can wait and you will reply in time when you’re more focused.
- Buy an alarm clock – yep, an old school alarm clock. This means you have no excuse to have your phone next to your bed. No reason for it to be the first thing you touch or look at. Chuck it in a drawer an hour before bedtime and grab it again once you’re up and about.
- Create a new healthy habit! Check your average daily time spent on your social apps. On your detox days try and spend some of that time on something new or something old; start running or walking, colouring in, baking, a board game with a family member or simply RELAXING – watch a film all the way through without checking your socials!
My two drivers behind the social media breaks have been to look after my mental health and to encourage my productivity in work. I am very particular about who I follow purely because of the emotional impact; I don’t follow super models, fitness fanatics (if I think it’s not healthy habits), highly edited reality stars etc because I recognised my negative feelings from looking at these people who are showing highlights of their lives which look PERFECT (however, we all know it’s not!), but every now and then I find myself saying to myself “look at them exercising by 9am, why haven’t I done a workout yet? I am so lazy”….. And then I know it’s time for BREAK.
I really hope you can take some of my tips on & I hope you feel the healthy benefits from it. Please leave a comment & let me know how you get on!! I would love to hear what you did instead of scrolling!