Sometimes you just need to take a step back and shut down and shut everyone and everybody out.
I hadn’t planned this social media detox, I mean, who am I to purposely logout of my Instagram account indefinitely? Nope. Not me.
Last year I planned to give up social media for a week in January. It was bloody hard, I did it to see if I firstly could, and also what I would learn from the experience in the hope that I would use it less throughout the year. I had good intentions, promise. But that never happened.
I continued to reach for my phone when the TV programme I was watching had only been on for a minute. I continued to use Instagram as my daily newspaper. I had to be asked a question 3 times before I snapped out of my Instagram fuzz. I hadn’t changed. Who was I trying to kid? The addiction still ate away at me, it was going nowhere.
But something happened last week. Last week was a dark week for me. But I can’t blame it on just that, I felt like something had been simmering beneath the surface for a little while, I wasn’t myself.
I couldn’t deal with people looking into my life anymore, I didn’t want to be replying to people, I didn’t want to keep consuming peoples shit that I didn’t want to see. Saturation point had been reached. So I logged out of everything and didn’t look back once.
Unlike last year, I haven’t missed it. I haven’t been itching to get back onto the gram and start sharing my life again. I feel like I’m finally seeing it in a different light and how damaging it is and can be.
I’ve recently found myself getting hung up on people who are looking at my Insta stories who I’ve not seen or spoken to in years, wondering why they’re still lurking, waiting for you to mess up and celebrate when things aren’t going so well for you.
THAT is the reality.
I think about the people who follow my account and whilst 70% are bloggers/people who actively follow and like the stuff I share, what does that further 30% of people represent?
That 30% of undesirable followers. The lurkers. The passive participants of the Instagram underworld. They don’t like, they certainly don’t comment. They’re the ones that will screenshot your images and share them in their WhatsApp group, the ones who think you’ve changed or the ones who laugh every time you post a personal story.
I laugh, because on the grand scale of things I barely have any Instagram followers, 2900, neither here nor there. But it affected me, and the best thing about social media is that I have a choice. I have a choice to leave it whenever I want, pick it back up when I want and not take it seriously.
I’m going to be putting my middle finger up to the lurkers from now on because a) haters gonna hate whatever you do and b) I don’t give a fig roll what my arch nemesis from year 1o thinks about me. It certainly says more about them than me if they’re still following me.
If my break from it has taught me anything this time it’s that life is too short. Life is too short to be spending every weekend consumed by the beast, ignoring your loved ones and seeing the real joy in things rather than thinking whether it would make a good picture or not.
I’ve appreciated the little things in life like no other in the last week. Even in the darkest times, light can be found. Light can be found to spark that passion and drive for life again that you thought burnt out. Sometimes we just need to take that step back before we can step back into the game and be the best version of ourselves.
Life can be hard, but so are we. Social media is not the be all and end all, and the sooner we realise that, the sooner we can start to connect and engage in real life relationships that nurture and fuel our soul.