When was the last time you detached yourself from the world? Wait, let me rephrase my question. Do you still live in the moment?
Did you know that the average person spends at least 1 hour and 40 minutes per day looking at their favorite social media sites and apps. Too much wasted time, isn’t it?
Two months ago, a friend and I did this Social Media Detox. It was her idea and I willingly (despite my violations) accepted the challenge of uninstalling the social media applications and not opening, browsing and engaging until the agreed date comes.
We had a written agreement where we proposed our objectives and rules:
1. Social Media Detox starts on April 23 (the moment we wake up) and ends on May 31 (the moment we sleep).
2. The detoxification includes uninstallation of the following applications from phones: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We don’t need to deactivate these social media accounts.
Browsing, liking, commenting or any kind of engagement on the above mentioned platforms’ prohibited.
3. Social Media Detox is not about cutting people off our lives.
And other details. Weeks of not getting updates from random people I see while scrolling down was surprisingly refreshing. In some ways, yes, it was stressful too.
For one, FOMO or the fear of missing out is something the millennials are quite aware of. I’m guilty of that, too. It’s the anxiety kick that we feel that something exciting is happening somewhere like for me, one of my favourite music bands released its latest music video but it was uploaded on Facebook and there’s no way for me to see it. Yet.
Second, it could be that one of your friends was ranting via Instagram Story but you weren’t able to view it and failed to attend to his emotional needs.
You see, the terms offline and connections do not oppose. But when talking about the online world, it does somehow invalidates the one from the other.
To me, not being able to see the latest music video and not being able to be there for my friend is not on me. Again, we have put so much trust on our social media identities that we forget to consider the realness and quality of connections that we have.
In my examples, I could listen to the song via Spotify and the music video will soon be uploaded on YouTube (which was not part of the detox) and other platforms. For my friend, my lines are always open, he could have called me or sent me direct messages or wrote me emails so I can hear him out.
More than the things I missed, I focused on the things I witnessed without worrying that my followers should see it too.
I have learned to choose my battles well. It’s a fact that social dedia have given us unnecessary fights and invited us to irrelevant debates.
To answer the question above, “Do I still live in the moment?” – YES!
Yes, by not grabbing my phone the moment I see something Instagrammable. Instead, I examine its presence and appreciate its artistry.
Yes, by looking into the eyes of the people I talk with without glancing at my screen checking for online messages from people who aren’t present. But you’ll also know who really wants to connect with you. It’s one way to truly live in the moment.
Yes, by talking about real stuff and not about how awful the dress of that friend you saw on Instagram.
And yes, by enjoying a lot of free time. Cause let’s face it, it’s taking a lot of our precious time.
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is an important technology for messaging and has helped us reach family and friends from miles away. However, it has also detached us from the people who are with us. Keeping us away from the kind of reality that we currently face. Sure, it’s a useful tool but every tool has its weakness and as users, we should be aware of that.
Albert Camus once said, “Never have I felt so deeply at one and, at the same time, so detached from myself, and so present in the world.”
That Social Media Detox exercise helped me to really exercise my way of dealing with people and retracing the line that separates online from reality.
Take time to unplug.