Minutes turned hours. I was “just” browsing instagram and I found myself so glued on what’s in my feed. Then it hit me. I realized how much time I spend each day “just browsing” and please don’t get me wrong, it was only a form of entertainment most of the time. However, off the back of it, I suddenly wonder the reasons behind why, including me, millions of users in the world use social media on a daily basis.
Wait a minute, REASONS?
Yes! Remember what I shared when I started blogging? It is always important to know and understand the “why you do what you do”. It’s the same question that led me to the decision of going offline in any form of social media (in my case it’s only Instagram) for 21 days. Surely there are reasons behind “entertainment” or wanting to share with my followers some sensible or inspiring content, and it did not disappoint me. Social media detox has taught me three key lessons – oh and please note that I am writing from my own personal experience and thought processes. You may or may not agree with my three points but either way, you are welcome to continue reading! 🙂
Disconnect to get connected
I’m sure i’m not the first person to tell you this. How many times do we see people at restaurants not talking to each other while they wait for their food to arrive because they seem to prefer what they see online than offline. I am for sure guilty of this, but I realised it even more when I ceased using Instagram for 21 days. There were no flatlays before eating, more convos while food hasn’t arrived and just the pleasure of spending time with people is refreshing. Your attention is not divided. Notifications can wait, but moments might not.
Don’t always assume
Social media could put you at the risk of assumption. While it gives us a peek into the whereabouts of our friends and family, it has the tendency to let us assume that what we see online is everything as they seem. As a result, we become less intentional reaching out offline and be connected. We ask less about how they are because in our mind, we see their stories or posts and all looks well, what’s there to ask?
Assumption endangers effective communication and could put relationships at the verge of disruption. Going offline for 21 days enabled me to remember genuinely about how my friends are, their whereabouts and what they are up to. I assumed less and were able to really connect with them intentionally.
Don’t let social media define you, rather define its purpose for you.
Social media can expose how strong you stand for your identity. How many times have you heard that social media is no good? That it causes insecurity, steals identity, creates a feeling of jealousy and makes you less thankful about life. Countless times. One thing I realised from social media detachment is that it can actually prove how well you know yourself and how strong your outlook about who you are is. When you look at other people’s post, do you feel more or less grateful about the life you are living? Do you feel unpretty? Pause for a moment and reflect.
This reflection made me proud of myself in the end. 21 days was not hard, it was only on my third week when I realised i’m wrapping up. I owe this to the rekindling of my passion in reading books since the beginning of this year.
I hope that whatever your answer is, that you will choose to display who you really are online. Don’t be caught up by trying to portrait a persona that disagrees with your genuine principles. People who loves you will love you and accept you regardless of your whereabouts, what you have, or what you don’t have. If after answering this question, you realised that social media puts you in an attitude of always comparing, do something to change that mindset. If you have to go offline to rebuild or strengthen your identity, then go for it!
One of the great lessons that the 21 days fasting showed me is that I want people to see my version of truth more than anything else. I share because I care. I want to cheer up people with my corny jokes, inspire them by showing a preview of the places I’ve been to, share my perspectives about anything yet respect what their viewpoints are, and most importantly, use it as a platform to help people with the same passion as I have – travels, random reflections, and books to name a few. I care less if people will misinterpret it. I care more about how I can influence and help people make decisions.
And last but an important point I want to make is that to me, Social Media is not bad. There are many benefits of using it which may be another story worth blogging about. Don’t blame it when your perceptions go wrong, or when you realise using it has impacted you negatively. After all, it’s just a platform. You, as its user holds the responsibility of how to use it, why you use it and what you use it for. At the end of the day, it won’t post or browse by itself without your voluntary actions, right?
Now next time you post, ask yourself these two questions:
Why am I posting? How will this impact me and the people who are going to see it?
If you can make peace with whatever your answers, then rest assured that your intentions are clear. Share to inspire and browse to get inspirations.