As a social media executive, I spend a LOT of time on social media. Seeing the world through tiny messages and images people put out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Twitter is where I first hear about most news stories, either through what is trending or what comes into my newsfeed. I tend not to post to Facebook much these days and I think since doing so the algorithm has kicked me out of most people’s newsfeed. I still use Facebook Messenger (and Whatsapp) to stay in touch with my friends. Snapchat is a slightly pointless but very addictive platform (which I don’t use for work so I can definitely cut out). Instagram is my favourite, due to its anonymity and less intrusive nature, I also prefer the style of content that comes into my newsfeed; it is inspirational, artistic and beautiful, and not endless pictures of my long-lost school friends on nights out or feeding their children.
Last week I read an article written by a woman who decided to replace the urge to scroll on social media with yoga. Of course, these urges come throughout the day and so she found herself having to do seated yoga poses in very awkward situations. She did find though, that she felt better from not looking at social media relentlessly, and it made me think about how much I use it.
With my job it is inevitable that I will spend nine hours a day either on social media, scheduling content for social media or carrying out tasks directly linked to social media. That is ok, because in a work capacity it is interesting and I am learning new things through inspirational content, engaging with clients and planning exciting projects.
From a personal perspective I am not really sure how often I use it but I do feel like I would like to use it less. I lead a really busy lifestyle and always feel like I don’t have enough time to do things, but I wonder whether replacing scrolling mindlessly on social media with something productive would change that. Our iPhones are designed to make us want to use it, they are seamless and incredibly addictive, but when you think about what we get out of all the time we spend on them it isn’t much. I always feel revitalised after a trip away, and not just from visiting a new place or getting some sun, usually it is the feeling of exhilaration from not being chained to my phone.
Obviously doing the job I do means that I am a big advocate of social media, I don’t think it is destroying our social lives like some people claim, if anything it helps me to stay in touch with people I otherwise would have lost contact with. However, there is a difference to staying in touch with friends and just filling your mind with rubbish, and it’s the latter I want to cut out. Much like the woman from the article I read, I want to stop myself from scrolling away an evening by looking at 25 high-speed makeup tutorials on Instagram or reading updates from someone I haven’t spoken to in three years.
I am going to challenge myself to replace social media scrolling with writing or reading something that I am interested in. Depending on the circumstance that could be a quote or a full article, a book or a website. I think removing the obsessive element of social media will help me remove a lot of ‘noise’ from my mind and focus on something more productive.