Social Media Detox

The last time I took a purposeful social media vacation was during a four-day vacation in 2019. It was just a quick break and what I needed as a reminder to focus on in-person connections and nature. Last week I was on vacation in Maui, visiting family during my spring break (Hi JJ!). On the flight over, I decided that I was going to detox from social media for the entire vacation. Before spring break started, I had found myself “doom scrolling” through endless Instagram stories and reels, past the posts of people I know, past the celebrities I like, and well into the rabbit hole of random content, by total strangers, about something and nothing and who knows what.

Once I hugged my family and got my toes into the white sandy beaches of Kihei, I was in my happy place. At first, I had no problem putting my phone aside to soak in the moments. However, my vacation was 8 days long, and I had plenty of downtime in between family fun and book reading. I soon found that the minute my time was unscheduled, my hands automatically wanted to open up Instagram, Facebook or even Twitter to begin scrolling. When I was waiting to check in for my flight and for my luggage to arrive at the airport, I watched how many people were on their phones around me. I saw families standing together, yet millions of cyber miles apart on different devices. I felt the pull to open up my apps, but I resisted. In fact, I am happy to report that I didn’t cave in to the temptation, but it was noticeable. So much so that when I returned from my vacation, I decided to keep going for a few extra days.

I waited 10 full days before I opened up my social media apps. On the first day, I decided to only get on Instagram, and I consciously looked at the clock before I started. I told myself to set a timer for 10 minutes, but then I just jumped in and began scrolling. Twenty minutes later I caught myself and logged off. That’s when it really hit me how easy it is to get sucked in and loose all sense of time. And even in those twenty minutes I found myself viewing mindless content that had no purpose or meaning to me. That realization made me consider how I want to use social media differently moving forward. The next time I went into Instagram, I unfollowed a LOT of accounts. I love Instagram for the pretty pictures (to see and share) and witty captions. But I whittled down my follow list to the people I know and love in real life, and the creators who post content that is positive and meaningful to me, and the content that uplifts me. I don’t want to be dragged into negativity, internet trends, or mindless ranting by strangers. I’ve also vowed not to just go to the search field or the suggestions for me, because I don’t want the algorithm controlling what I view.

Since then, I have gotten back on Facebook and Twitter a few times, for very limited amounts of time. Before I open one of these apps, I’m asking myself what my purpose is. If I’m bored, I stop and choose a different activity. As always, this is where I reflect on what I’m learning and trying. We will see how this goes.

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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