Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. are a few of the most popular social media platforms used by most people around the world. After all, digital connection is a must in a world where families are separated by the oceans and continents.
However, the younger generations have been witnessing a massive rise in social media usage, more like obsession, if you ask me. And I am not referring to the usual eating-sleeping-shopping-traveling posts. With an ever-increasing rise in issues across the globe, ranging from political to humanity issues, we have taken to social media to vent our feelings and thoughts out. In my opinion, this is a disturbing trend.
Amongst all social media platforms, I had been active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Being an introvert, I was and am a private person. Hence, rather than sharing photos of my life, I was more keen to express my thoughts in writing on social media.
I used to be obsessed with likes and reactions from my followers and social media ‘friends’. And if they were less, I got really upset. In simpler words, I let virtual people get the better of my mind. There was this one time I was spending my day with my cousins. And one of my younger cousin sister, she was so worried about her Instagram followers (she had newly joined the platform, at that point in time). All she kept asking me was how I had more followers than her. I had to try hard to not roll my eyes in exasperation. The point here is even though we had gathered to spend time with each other, a major part of our conscious mind was focused on social media relationships with people whom we didn’t know much.
I had faced several instances where I envied my family members for getting more reactions and likes than me. I also had another cousin who, I felt, began to compete with me. She had joined Facebook, long after I had. I could see her constant posting of photos and the steady increase in her friends list. I admit, it kind of left me feeling insecure. That is a major psychological negative side-effect of the social media platforms. And this was in 2015.
Till 2018, I was posting my thoughts left, right, and centre on social media. I loved writing. But by second half of 2019, I learnt to resist the urge to post anything on Facebook. By 2020, I withdrew from Twitter and most recently, my personal Instagram account. I deleted it. I only have a blog account on the photo-sharing platform.
What went wrong for me when it came to social media? I tired myself out mentally. I spent lesser time with people around me. I was always on my smart devices. So far, with the ongoing protests against racism across all professional lines and countries, I see so much of positive and negative vibes on social media. The dirty comments, the moral advices, the back-and-forth arguments, and the cuss words being fired like the AK-47. I won’t disagree with the fact that social media connects like-minded individuals, regardless of the geographical distance.
I did go through the social media withdrawal symptoms. Yes, just like when you go sober after years of drinking addiction. I worked on removing the word ‘obsession’ from my personal dictionary. Today, I am in a better frame of mind because I no longer am taking the plunge into the nasty sea of unhealthy debates.
I am currently working on detaching myself from WhatsApp as well. I do have a couple of close family members who live abroad. But with the constant up-and-down waves of mental vibes in my mind, I only seek peace. Digital detox is on top of my list. And it has been really helpful, to be honest. I had realized in the past few days that WhatsApp, though it connected me with everyone everywhere, it never helped me gauge the emotions of the person I was chatting with. Video calls are another part of it. I had been misunderstanding people. I still get restless when I don’t get the replies I’m waiting for. There were nights where I couldn’t sleep. I was exhausted of waking up every morning with hurting eyes and improper sleep.
Hence, I decided to use the Thrive Away app for a proper digital detox routine everyday. Try it out and you will feel its magic as well. My next book on the list is The Sleep Revolution by this platform’s founder, Ms. Arianna Huffington. A note to her: Please, please keep inspiring me and every girl and woman on this planet.