7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days

7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days

Wake up. Check account. Notification. Like. Share. Prepare for work. Check notification. Like. Comment. Arrive in office. Log-in. Post. Check notification. Work. Break. Check comments. Comment. Feeling happy. Go home. But before that. That viral video. Click. Post with witty headline. Share. Go to sleep. But before that. One last look. Check notification. Post good night world. Check notification. Okay, none. Good night.

Social media sites may have fulfilled my want for constant interaction. But it may have also slowly controlled my everyday routine – or worse, my own life. So before things got messy, I did what I thought was best.

I quit.

For 7 days, I deactivated my active accounts and went on a social media fast. I thought the self-challenge would be grueling. I was wrong. It was easier than expected.

7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days

 7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days

Challenge accepted: The 7-day social media fast

7. DETACH FALSE ATTACHMENTS.

Before deactivating the account, I had to fill up a mandatory page explaining why I had to leave. I reasoned that it was temporary; I’ll be back. After that, pictures of friends who will “miss me” popped up.

Now, seriously. How will these people miss me when two of them are my officemates and the others are unitmates in our rented apartment?

My virtual existence does not need to reflect my value in real life. These friends won’t really “miss” me; I see them often. The same goes with virtual likes. Being liked for my status does not automatically mean I am liked as a person. By deactivating social media, I also deactivated my attachment from virtual sources of validation.

6. PRODUCTIVITY LIES IN ONE’S HANDS.

My social media rituals used to eat up a lot of my time. Without them, I went straight to my to-do list and accomplished tasks with fewer distractions – no more likes, comments and shares to worry about. Scrolling through the newsfeed was replaced with reading the newspaper – or writing down random thoughts, or attending to a personal project with more focus. I had better control with my schedule and became more productive.

  

5. VALUE QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY.

I have a thousand friends on my account – but am I really friends with all of them? Do I even know all of them? Not really.

Deactivating my profile placed me back onto solid ground and reminded me that quality of friends trumps the quantity of peers and that I just have to regularly communicate with a selected number of good old chums. (This time, more through SMS) I invested time in them and they did the same – because they truly matter to me and vice versa.

 7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days

Reach out to a selected number of people. Quality, not quantity, matters.

4. CONFRONT THE PROBLEM DIRECTLY.

Guess what? I didn’t have a 140-letter space dedicated to my rants anymore. Without a virtual outlet to dispense how I feel about the universe, I had to confront problems directly. I tuned out, reflected on the situation, and asked for some advice from trusted friends. If the problem involved a person, I talked to him or her with carefully-chosen words – which is healthier compared to initiating a virtual war and calling someone ahas, unggoy or some other derogatory word online.

Feeling irritated? Confront the problem. Don’t post it.

3. KEEP IT TO ONE’S SELF.

Maybe that’s why it’s called a selfie because you need to keep it to yourself?

There are things that hold more value when they are not shared online. These memories become more memorable when kept in private. You gain full ownership of these experiences. No one will steal or claim it from you.

 

2. CARING LESS MEANS CARING MORE.

In social media, I had to maintain a certain personality. Online, I am the ultimate Survivor fan, the accounting prof, the full-time lover of advertising. Though these personas are valid, they do not completely define who I am. I still have both good and bad sides. What I show online is selective – an indirect form of self-branding. Without these profiles, I cared less about how people perceived me – because there was no more image to manage. Want to know me? Talk to me in person.

 

7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days

In my profile, regular posts included my favorite reality show and my adventures as a college professor.

1. IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD.

We are never bored – we are in social media. We meet with our friends, talk for a while and then silence – we are back in social media. We tend to have that urgent need to be constantly updated with the virtual world that we often neglect the more important things offline, in our real, outside world.

So, don’t just bow your head and let your thumb do the scrolling. Talk to your friends and share an intimate conversation. Or take a stroll in the park while listening to your favorite music. Or spend more time with your favorite hobby.

You’ll be surprised by how much you can do when you are offline. After all, as Louis Armstrong said, it’s (still) a wonderful world.

It is past seven days since the experiment. I have not reactivated my account. I am not ready. I am enjoying this hiatus.

But if I ever do return, I know one thing is for sure: I am now in control – not social media.

Related topic: 10 Top Tips on How to Craft the Perfect Online Dating Profile 

7 Things I Learned from Quitting Social Media for 7 Days






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