Your Summer Social Media Detox
Updated: Jul 4
I cut social media cold turkey three years ago this summer. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook all gone. As someone who constantly snapped pics of iced matcha or martinis before I drank them, posted pouty selfies, generally bragged about my privileged life—I never anticipated that I would be someone who goes socially MIA.
Social media was so all-encompassing that I could hardly be anywhere, do anything, without the urge to share it with everyone I "knew" online. I wasn't living in the moment because I was preoccupied with sharing how the moment looked to other people, zhuzhing everything up to elicit more likes and reactions. Despite the filters, life got more dull.
In this Psychology Today piece Azadeh Aalai says, "The time spent on our digital gadgets isn’t just about quantity, it is also about quality regarding our lifestyles. For instance, time spent scrolling through our phones in and of itself may not be a problem until we consider what we are not doing because we are scrolling through our phones."
I didn't give it any forethought. I deleted everything. I was liberated. I felt confident with a life shrouded by mystery instead of a life publicly touted. My "friend" group narrowed. I could text a vacation photo to a friend instead of sharing it with the infinite virtual void. Those who cared enough to know about my life probably had my phone number and could reach out to me personally.
A comprehensive social media removal isn't for everyone and that's fine. If your life is better off because of social media, I commend you. If you're worse off from it—emotionally, mentally, productively, spiritually—consider this a sign. It might seem daunting, but maybe it's time to social distance from social media. Opting out of the often intrusive and intense digital landscape, if only for a few days, could give you the reset you didn't know you needed.
A temporary unplugging from social media is an option for those who aren't ready to permanently delete every platform and step out of the Matrix. Kendall Jenner, Lizzo, Justin Bieber, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Meghan Markle, to name a few, have all temporarily purged social media at some point in their careers. If they're capable of cutting off from their multimillion-person fanbase, you can let your mother-in-law wonder where you are for a change, and you can definitely live without seeing daily workouts from some girl you went to high school with who's a swimsuit model now.
There are highly contested arguments about social media usage as broached in this Forbes article:
It provides a creative outlet.
It lowers self-esteem.
It offers opportunities for friendship and love.
But, if you're ready to take the plunge, check out this Wired how-to called "How to Delete Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok" to navigate the complex journey of deactivating your platforms. Good luck and Godspeed.