Social Media, The bane of baby boomers. That mysterious glowing “f” that baffles everybody above the age of 50. Who isn’t hooked to it today? 1.47 billion people log in into Facebook every day! The traffic coming in and out of that site is ASTRONOMICAL, and I bet one of those is you. Why else would you be here? Chances are, you are one of those people who seems to have developed a synergy with your smartphones, and your soul has bonded with your social media accounts already. People whose second instinct after waking up in the morning is to grab their phones the same way an asthmatic grabs an inhaler whenever the attack commences.
It is undeniable that today’s world is inextricably linked with social media. Rare are the instances where a person does not have any presence in any social network platform. Everything today requires a Google plus account, or a Facebook profile. It is of little surprise then that many people took this a step too far; many people today admit to being addicted to social media use. An average person alive today spends 4-6 hours of his/her day browsing social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, Google plus and Youtube. These are the people whose lives revolve around their social media accounts, and who simply can’t bear to be separated from their accounts by even a fraction of a second.
These platforms have given us a lot of benefits, ranging from the egotistical to global benefits. While it has indeed given us this curse called “selfies”, it has also allowed us to connect in near real-time to any other people around the world, provided they have an account. They have facilitated the movement from dreary office work to broader, more diverse online entrepreneurship. It can be said that such platforms have also made a considerable dent in the current economic structure. But for all the good that they have given us, they have also with them undesirable consequences that often cloud the benefits that they bring.
Biggest among these issues is them being so addictive. Too much of any good thing is bad, so they say. That is why many people today go on what they call a “social media cleanse”, which I take to mean purging yourself of any trace of social media presence for a considerable period of time. But why do people do this? And what effect does it bring them? Is it really good for everybody, or just the select few who are really addicted to social media use?
Evidence suggests that this “Social Network cleanse” is in fact, good for everybody. It simply means getting a break on one’s use of social media. How long? It varies. Some manage to totally purge themselves of social media use, resorting instead to good old snail mail for communication purposes. Some think that a month of break is good enough, while others manage to only do for a day. So what are the real effects of this cleanse? Look no further, for here are the 12 benefits of quitting social media:
1. It pushes you to actually talk face to face to other people.
Talking face to face has become such an awkward thing nowadays. Typing something on a screen is a whole lot different than actually conversing to people face to face, with all the verbal and nonverbal cues being utilized by a person to convey his/her message. No matter how much you shout at your monitor, there’s little chance that your rage becomes noticed by other people. Many people attest that after quitting social media, their attention had been diverted to actually talking to physical beings, not virtual ones, thus improving their capacity to create and maintain relationships.
2. It helps you establish actual, meaningful relationships
Following from the first benefit, interacting with actual people and not virtual ones trains our interpersonal skills, allowing us to become more adept in relating to various personalities, not glamorized by social media. In short, this makes us friendlier rather than fiendlier.
3. It reduces anxiety
Come on, there’s already tons of things in real life that often give you anxiety. As a rule, Facebook’s comment section is a restricted area meant to be opened only by those whose constitution is strong enough. Otherwise, a sensitive person might end up being totally hysterical just after reading the first few lines of the comments in a Facebook article. Social media adds to our anxiety because of the various problems it creates and/or goes through it. Quitting your social media account might result in a sigh of relief (as many artists say so) as you are now not expected to uphold any definite standard set by somebody else.
4. It helps you get enough sleep
Just one more… and a few more scrolls… until the morning breaks and you realize you have been up all night watching memes on Facebook. Seriously though, how many teens today actually do that? Our circadian rhythms are disturbed when we stay up late, and social media is one of the primary culprits of this today. Quitting social media will help force that rhythm back to its usual cycle, and thus improve your sleeping pattern.
5. It helps you get out of that bed/couch
Quitting social media might actually help you become fitter, as the additional time might just be the right duration for a quick lift in the gym.
6. It enables you to allocate more time towards more important things
Related to the one above, that 6 hour you spend on social media (although not consecutively) can be used to do more productive things such as cleaning the house, finishing that task your boss just sent you, or watching over your kids before they get hit by a semi because you didn’t notice they already ran to the road while you are busy liking that food porn pic.
7. It might help with your self-image issues
Facebook is an advertising tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. Manufacturers want you to buy their products, and tons of it as well. How do they get you to buy sets and sets of make-up? By making you feel like you are the ugliest duckling in the entire world. As such, maybe that nagging voice at the back of your mind telling you that you are ugly is actually a product of your too exposure to FB ads?
8. It helps you become more aware of your surrounding
Remember that kung-fu stuff about being all woke and noticing every drop of dew dripping around? Well, you might not get that woke, but maybe if you just pry your eyes off away from that phone screen and look around you for a while, maybe you’ll notice that you have been walking miles past your house already.
9. It helps you reconnect with your past enjoyments
Remember a time when happiness was so simple? A single rubber band will make up an entire day’s playtime. Similar to that, many people admit that their once creative hobbies have disappeared after they started getting hooked to social media. They lost interest, or simply lost the time to pursue it. Maybe you are also one of these people. Quitting social media can help you recall those simple activities that gave you immense satisfaction and pleasure, plus making you productive as well.
10. You become “out of the loop” but “in with the life”
Yeah sure, social media’s full of gossip, but why do they matter anyway? Quitting social media might make you less informed of who’s who in today’s fast-paced world, but it will allow you to relate more on your immediate surroundings. What good is it knowing Nicki Minaj’s newest rumoured boyfriend if you are unaware of that new neighbour moving in, who happens to have a track record of quarrelling with neighbors?
11. You get social, for real. Also good for your eyes.
“Social media” is not so social, come to think of it. The physical interaction of two human beings can never be simulated in a virtual world. Quitting social media might make you more attentive to the lives of your friends as they really are, not as they appear on their profiles. It nurtures this desire of “seeing it out for yourself”, thus enabling you to become more hands-on with their experiences. Plus, it lessens the strain on your eyes. The two benefits are not related by the way.
12. It makes you “human” again.
The essential point of quitting social media is its humanizing aspect. Physical interactions are now replaced by “chats”, friendship is reduced to liking or disliking, building relationships are as easy as they are shallow. Quitting social media forces us to stop seeing things and people behind a glass door; it forces to go out of our ways to converse with people, to feel that human touch again. To experience that precious heart-to-heart conversation that can only take place in a sincere, interactive environment. By quitting social media, we stop becoming mere bots, keen to respond quickly but not deeply.
Take in mind though, the decision is still yours. One does not have to quit social media if one isn’t ready yet. Again, quitting might not even be option if one is able to strike a balance between the good and bad effects of social media. But if one is intent on experiencing how much social media had changed us and the way we relate to people, then quitting it might just be the key.