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Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
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A Week without Social Media | Part 2

As I’m writing this, I  just have a couple of days of social media fasting left, but to be honest, this could go on forever. I wouldn’t have thought that not using social media would make a great impact on me but it did. Let me explain.

One of my ‘rules’ of this social media detox challenge was that I wasn’t gonna use Facebook or Instagram. To make it a little easier, I gave myself the possibility of being online for a couple of minutes each day – if something important happens. (Let’s be real for a second: on social media nothing important ever happens). However, I only took advantage of this loophole 2 times to participate in group chats.

fomo

I didn’t really miss it. But I did realize that something was missing. My routine was off. When I switched on my computer in the mornings (aka noon), there was nothing to do except to start working. I couldn’t procrastinate on Facebook. If I didn’t do something on my computer, I could just do something in real life. Instagram felt meaningless. There’s nothing there for me except for photos making me feel bad about my life and giving me FOMO. I see more value in Facebook: Not being online made me feel completely out of touch on what was going on in the world. Also, I probably missed 20 of my friends’ birthdays. #sorrynotsorry

When you can’t get 8 people together around a table in a restaurant for conversation without somebody needing to check how many likes they have on something, it’s kind of sad.

Joshua Shea

Without social media, I was less distracted which, of course, was horrible in my job but a delight when working on private projects. There was nothing keeping me from productive working sessions other than my own procrastination and my Netflix addiction. I’d say I’ve pushed myself quite far creatively in this week. I finished my Spring/Summer fashion collection and even though I feel silly calling it a ‘collection’ or ‘fashion’ I am quite proud of it and I’m excited to finally release it March 23rd. Here’s a little preview – more designs to come.

muffin1.jpg

Intriguingly clever hidden advertisement for my merch.

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are built on the guidelines of addictive design (Yes, it is actually called just that!). That means that a model of algorithms controls a system of gratifications, similar to e.g. slot machines. (You can read more about that here). However, one thing I realized while talking to Rory was that while social media might be addictive, it lacks real entertainment value. Social media doesn’t give back in a way winning the lottery does. There’s nothing to gain from it. And no matter how great it feels to have posted a photo which grossed a lot of likes, it doesn’t make me happy. It doesn’t do anything for me. It only makes me obsessed of doing it again without the process being fun or cool or entertaining or joyful. It’s actually just a waste of time.

blackmirror

Now, I know this post sounds like me having found a new cult that I want you all to join. But no, that’s not what I am saying. I won’t go completely offline either. I just wanna be careful with my usage and log off any apps when I don’t use them. I will also turn off any and all push notifications because I see now how much they annoy me. I will also keep my phone in airplane mode at night. I wanna focus on what I feel is important and use social media as an enhancement, to stay up to date and to find interesting events. I don’t believe that social media will kill our society but yes, I do think that it will harm us. If you wanna find out for yourself what a social media detox does to you, go ahead and don’t forget to tag me in any related posts/content! I’m looking forward to hearing from many of you! Until then…

Ben

Compulsive nonconformist who left the 9-to-5 world after studying psychology and has since then devoted himself to design and writing on a freelance basis. Has at least four different kinds of chips at home at any given time.

Comments

  • Avatar
    22. February 2019
    reply

    Masud Rana

    I also stayed without social media and Internet for two weeks and it was surprising how much time we do spend on our phones and looking at other people\’s photos. It does help to avoid it for a while.

  • Avatar
    22. February 2019
    reply

    Thanks for your sharing. I have more knowledge because of the posts. Your pieces of advice help me so much. They are awesome and helpful. They tell me exactly what I want to know. I love to read your posts. I wait for them everyday. I’m very excited to enjoy new articles. Once again, thanks a lot. Have a good day!

  • Avatar
    25. May 2018
    reply

    Social Media fasting is right on. So much of modern society is tied to this tool that we forget social media is a tool, and we need to live your lives, not our social media.

  • Avatar
    16. April 2018
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    I think breaks are good. I often abroad do not connect to the WiFi, so that I have a break.

  • Avatar
    16. April 2018
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    Do you count blogging as social media?

    • Avatar
      16. April 2018
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      Not really. The \’social media\’ aspect of it is smaller. I don\’t consider Instagramming as blogging though.

      • Avatar
        16. April 2018
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        Think it has some of sane addictive quality and portraying self in one way.

  • Avatar
    21. March 2018
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    Fantastic advice. I\’ve been off 21 days. So freeing.

  • Avatar
    21. March 2018
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    I went for years without a mobile phone so it was very easy for me to go without social media when I went on holiday. I loved the fact that I could be in the jungles of Sumatra or Africa and have no idea as to what was happening in the rest of the world.

    • Avatar
      21. March 2018
      reply

      True but not knowing what\’s going on at all is something I personally have to get comfortable with.

  • Avatar
    19. March 2018
    reply

    I want to do a week without social media too. I think we are all too distracted with social media, rather then talk to people face to face. Thanks for sharing.

  • Avatar
    18. March 2018
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    I think most things now are built around the kind of addictive design. We are like pavlovs dog and keep coming back for more. I am not sure what that says about us. Congrats on able to being able to abstain for so long.

    • Avatar
      19. March 2018
      reply

      Well, Pawlows dog didn\’t really have a choice cause it\’s food we\’re talking about 😉 Social media addiction is so weird because we\’re talking about something so abstract. And I don\’t even know what we\’re coming back for. It\’s not like social media makes us super happy. So, I also don\’t know what any of that says about us lol

  • Avatar
    17. March 2018
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    Congrats on the release this month! A week without social media sounds like a vacation to me! Oh, and yes, Netflix can be addicting!

  • Avatar
    17. March 2018
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    i love social media,as much as the next person. i always feel it is better to use it in moderation and to try and think some of the images we see are not real. i try not to immediately jump on social media when i wake up.
    at times i have days/ weeks where i haven\’t really indulged in it. its all about balance, i believe.

  • Avatar
    17. March 2018
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    It is so great to hear all the benefits of staying away from social media. I did something similar a while back and it did help alot

    • Avatar
      19. March 2018
      reply

      That\’s great to hear! Actually I\’m so interested in this topic at the moment, I\’d love to hear more about how you\’ve benefitted 🙂

  • Avatar
    17. March 2018
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    Tonya W

    Social media can definitely take over your life if you let it. It is definitely nice to be able to take a break and just focus on life!

  • Avatar
    16. March 2018
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    Its good to take social media detoxes. We are too obsessed I know its crazy but I dont have a FOMO like that…

  • Avatar
    16. March 2018
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    Sometimes we need to give it a break. At times it can be overwhelming.Great post and I am glad that you held out.

  • Avatar
    16. March 2018
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    I am honestly not sure I could do this, though I have to admit I\’m probably not on social media as much as other people anyway as I can find them quite tedious. I normally have FB open to natter to friends but I never get lost in it.

    • Avatar
      19. March 2018
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      I think you can do it, especially when you\’re not super active. I find that having Fb open all the time is really distracting, maybe you benefit from logging out too 🙂

  • Avatar
    16. March 2018
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    I tried to delete my social media once a long time ago, and my family got upset that they couldnt see photos of my daughter! I feel so disconnected without it.

    • Avatar
      19. March 2018
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      Yeah true again, there are so many perks to social media, especially with people living abroad. I just realized I have to keep an eye on my personal usage time to avoid the rabbit hole of addiction.

  • Avatar
    16. March 2018
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    What a great blog! Good on you for sticking it out. It\’s sad to see the social media addictions taking hold and I must admit I fall victim to it sometimes when I\’m isolated/bored (I work away from home). I think it\’s important to schedule time like you said for social media and avoid it\’s constant distraction

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
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    Andrea

    I honestly feel like it is so important to take time off social media, I mean even though I am very grateful for it, and it keeps me fed and everything, I still think it\’s important to live life and be in the present.

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
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    Amber

    Sometimes I do go on social media breaks. I think everyone needs a break once a while, or else they can go nuts.

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
    reply

    I went a few weeks without social media when I was in Africa, and it was so weird because I love posting Instagram Stories – but otherwise, it was a total breath of fresh air! I think EVERYONE needs to take a social media break here and there!

    • Avatar
      19. March 2018
      reply

      I can totally relate! Of course there\’s something fun about social media but living some time without it was totally unexpectedly refreshing 🙂

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
    reply

    i need help on this. I really wanna have a break from social media but job relies on social media. hows that?!

    • Avatar
      19. March 2018
      reply

      Well, I guess this depends on your personal situation. If you\’re working as a e.g. social media manager you can still minimize your personal social media usage. It gets more complicated when you are working in a field where you\’re getting job offerings via social media (e.g. as an \’Influencer\’). If that\’s the case I would start by cutting down on the apps you don\’t really need and set certain times to use social media and stick by them. Let me know how it went for you!

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
    reply

    I have to make it a point to stay away from social media several hours a day. I do what I have to do with my work and then shut it down. Go outside or read.

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
    reply

    I agree that social media is toxic. We judge ourselves by how many likes our blog or comment gets. I have pulled away several times to get my writing bearings back. I also have sworn off Yahoo news, sliding over anything to do with Trump. The media may be half way innocent but they strive for more readers so every little burp and sniff gets reported. And all that crap pumps me up. So I agree..everyone needs to take a break now and then.

    • Avatar
      15. March 2018
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      It\’s true I often think about what I could write to get THAT kind of likes again instead of thinking about the creative side and what I want to write about. And you\’re absolutely right, it\’s not just \’classic\’ social media but all kinds of media it sometimes help to reduce. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂

  • Avatar
    15. March 2018
    reply

    I also stayed without social media and Internet for two weeks and it was surprising how much time we do spend on our phones and looking at other people\’s photos. It does help to avoid it for a while.

    • Avatar
      15. March 2018
      reply

      Yeah I really feel refreshed after this week and decided to keep it going for more 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

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