Tuesday 22 September 2015

Results: 1 Week Social Media Detox

I thought it would be really tough. I deleted the apps from my phone to avoid temptation. It helped that once I'd blogged about giving up Facebook and Twitter for a week, I couldn't sneakily go on them or everyone would have known! 

Day 1 - Social Life

So used to scrolling through my social networks , I found myself with a phone in my hand and not sure what to do with it. I turned to WhatsApp and got in touch with an Argentine girl I'd met here in Mallorca, suggesting a drink one day this week. She replied, "Tomorrow?"  So often in London you'd have to book a date with your friends weeks in advance, so I was very excited about the spontaneous meeting with a new friend.  

Day 2 - Battery Life

The drink with my friend morphed into a lively dinner at her flat, as her Argentine flat mate was cooking Matambre a la Pizza. I stayed in the spare room as buses had stopped running. Since I hadn't been checking my phone all day, I had plenty of battery left to set an early morning alarm and check my emails. 

Day 3 - Brain Retraining

Despite not checking Twitter, my brain kept automatically composing tweets about what I was doing or feeling. Then I'd think, Oh wait, you're not on Twitter, it doesn't matter! Here are some of the tweets I might have written:

Thought it was a cockroach. Thankfully only a baby gecko. Aw.
Cor blimey. Gareth Bale looks hot with his new long hair and beard combo. When did this happen?

2,600 word today! #amwriting

Bloody hell Catalunya. Two nationalities is complicated enough for me. Don't goooooooooooo

I'm dancing on a table with my mother-in-law and half of Mallorca @OktoberFest #doesntgetbetterthanthis

Erm, yeah, so all essential observations... In fact I'm quite relieved I didn't post them. 
Ah. Oops. 

Day 4 - Good News

I wrote 1000 more words than my usual. When I felt a pull to check Facebook or Twitter, I went on the goodnews network. It's still procrastinating, but at least the articles didn't leave me feeling frustrated or upset. The truth is, every day there are incredible acts of kindness and inspirational people doing amazing things. If only the mainstream media shared some of them... 

Day 5 - Everyone's addicted

When you're not checking your phone all the time, you notice how many people are. They arrive at an event, they update. They order food, they update. Don't get me started on the amount of selfies being taken! Or Selfie Sticks! I felt like it was more important than ever to stay off my phone. 

Day 6 - Take it or Leave it

Towards the end of the week, I felt only a mild curiosity to see what I might have missed while being off my networks. My husband mentioned things being shared, like 'Pig Gate' (?) that I hadn't heard of. Does it make any difference knowing where the prime minister put his genitalia at university? Maybe, but I'm not sure...

Day 7 - Resolutions

I decide not to re-install my Facebook app on my phone. It's the one I wasted most time on. Being off it for 7 days has been a liberating experience.

Day 8 - Aftermath

I checked my Twitter and Facebook today and realised I'd hardly missed anything. I had warned people I'd be off it and of the 41 Facebook notifications, half of them were invites to events I wouldn't have been able to go to in the UK, birthday alerts and close friends updating their statuses. 

I know I would have checked each notification and then I would have spent 5 minutes or more scrolling through other posts. That's a potential 205 minutes I reclaimed! 

I hadn't missed much on Twitter either, although it's always great to hear from people who are reading my book and it would have been nice to reply to some of those tweets sooner. Still, it shows that instead of checking Facebook and Twitter every hour of the day, it would be quite enough to check it once or twice (depending of course what you're using it for).

Conclusion: The world does not end when you have a 1 week Social Media Detox. On the contrary you might feel freer and happier as your brain relaxes and you make space for other opportunities to arise.   


Unknown said...

Hi Emily, I totally agree and I'm going to do the same. I wrote a blog post myself about it recently.
So glad you are happy in your new home. Lots of love xxx

Emily Benet said...

Thanks lovely! I just read your post. I know the feeling well. Setting goals really helps, doesn't it? XX

Samantha said...

So love this. I quit social media on August 30th forever (apart from YouTube as I use it for education). I've noticed so many of these things since then, but I am loving my time away. I will never go back. But you do notice how much everyone else use it....and how much more time you have

Unknown said...

Thanks Emily, and yes it does help. You've quit social media for good, Samantha? Wow! It's so good to know you both have such positive thoughts on doing this xxx