I’ve been mulling over whether I need a social media detox for the past two weeks or so. Since being in Berlin, and using public transport for around 2 hours every day I’ve found myself logged on and locked in to my phone and apps such as Instagram and Snapchat more than ever before. This is something that doesn’t sit quite right with me, and although I think that there are many positives to come from social media, I can’t ignore the niggling feeling that I’m experiencing more of the negatives right now.
Partly spurred on by a blog post written by Sophia Rosemary called Instagram killed the Radio Star and a long chat with my friend Emily, I decided to really think about social media, how I use it, what I gain out of it, and why I shouldn’t use it so often.
Let’s talk about Snapchat first. I’ve got around 80 contacts on there, mostly friends or people I know and a few celebrities to follow. I find myself watching videos of people that frankly, I don’t care about. But why can’t I just delete them and get on with my own life? It’s the human trait of nosiness…I don’t care yet I must watch their life through 10 second snippets on my phone. I’m bothered by the fact that I spend minutes of my time watching these pointless ‘snaps’, and even more bothered by the fact that I too upload snippets of my life to my ‘story.’ Who cares that I was out on Friday? Literally no one, so why am I posting? Honestly, probably in hope that people will think what I’m doing is fun or cool (I also tend to think everything is hilarious and thus, everyone will want to see it when I’ve had a little to drink).
I don’t want to delete these people from my contacts, in the case that they think I’m being rude…again why do I care? Well, no one wants anyone to dislike them! So, I’ve decided simply to delete Snapchat from my phone. The account isn’t gone, but the easy access to people’s life and the ability to upload my own snippets is! I don’t know if I’ll download it permanently again, or just check in once in a while, but I hope it doesn’t consume my travel time/life so much anymore, and I hope it helps me enjoy my time more rather than saying ‘Do that again, I need to snap it!’.
Next up, the real devil here: Instagram. I don’t know how or why this seemingly global obsession with Instagram has grown over the past few years, but it’s really become a huge part of people’s lives. I first got Instagram when I was 16, and back then it was rarely used, no one really had it and I uploaded the occasional blurry iPod touch photo mainly to use the filter part of the app.
But now it seems to be consuming my life. That is not even an exaggeration. I find myself scrolling on Instagram more times than I’d like to admit. Maybe it’s because I have to spend so much time on public transport and don’t usually carry my Kindle with me. Maybe it’s because I haven’t started university work here in Berlin yet, and am keen to see what my friends are up to. Both are plausible, but I think it’s more than that. I followed around 550 people on Instagram before I wrote this post, now only 396. Why? Not because I want to have more followers than be following, but because my friend Em suggested I unfollow everyone I didn’t know on there.
I’d been struggling with body image (not in a major way, just in the way that I think every young male/female does when they regularly use social media), and was confused by which body type I should be aiming for and celebrating. Was it the ‘fitness’ fanatics, lifting weights and achieving Kim K style rears? Or was it the #BOPO leaders, pushing for acceptance of plus size and the skin you’re in? I was confused, I fit neither of these moulds that were being offered to me. So I unfollowed all of them: Alexis Ren – gone. Gigi and Bella Hadid – gone. Megan Crabbe – gone. Em made me realise something: if I didn’t see these people and their bodies and lives on display nearly every day, my own body and life wouldn’t be on my mind. Same for other celebrities and ‘influencers’…I’m sure Tammy Hembrow has stressful days and down days like the rest of us, but we don’t see that!
I realised I needed REAL life on my Instagram if I was going to use it at all. I’m going to try and spend less time on the app from now on, but in this day and age, and being away from friends, there is no way I’m not using Instagram. By removing these carefully created and displayed lives from my timeline, and following people I actually know, I’m hoping I’ll feel comfortable with my ordinary life and body!
Let me know your thoughts!