On Friday, I had the honor of serving as the social media expert on Windy City Live. In the spirit of the New Year, we discussed a common resolution in 2017- detoxing from social media. I recognize that I’m the biggest hypocrite EVER here because I’m just as social-media-obsessed as the next person (okay, maybe a bit more than the next person!), but for those who want to continue to venture into 2017 with a little more clarity around your social media obsession, I’ve taken the liberty of recapping and expanding upon the tips that I spoke about with Val, Ryan, and Ji.
1) Choose the one you love.
For some, detoxing entirely just might too big of a commitment. So, choosing only one platform to invest in is one way to approach a detox. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be on all of the channels available, and since time (and our sanity) is our most sacred commodity, that's just not realistic. So pick the platform that resonates the most with you and dedicate your time to just that one. Say it's Instagram, then stick a cover photo on your FB and Twitter profiles that says- "From now on, find me on Instagram." Be bold and crystal clear with your audience that if they want to find you, they must come meet you where you are.
2. Embrace the algorithm.
Whether you want to admit it or not, Facebook is smarter than you. Or at the very least, is AS smart as you. The more you comment, like, share and engage with the posts of people you see in your feed, the more you will seem them. I call it an echo chamber. So know that every action you take on Facebook (and the same goes for Instagram now) is accounted for and is ultimately customizing your feed, so be mindful when you’re browsing. Also, in regard to what you DON'T want to see, be fearless in your unfollowing. You can unfollow someone's posts without technically de-friending, which causes no drama. Just a cleaner, more detoxed experience.
3. Turn off your notifications.
This one is simple but something that people fail to take the time to do. Go into your Settings and ensure that the entire notifications are gone (no sound, no buzz, no push notification). The problem with our addiction to social media isn't necessarily our incessant push, but its incessant pull. Another great way to do this on the web is to sign out of your accounts. Even if it's just for a few hours at a time, completely logging off is absolutely freeing. "Ignorance is bliss" as they say.
Research shows that we actually get a small rush of endorphins when we receive a new message. Talking about ourselves also triggers the reward centers in our brains, making it even more compelling to narrate our daily lives. So start by taking a small step back, get honest with yourself and ask yourself some of the key questions below. There are no wrong or right answers here, but getting real with the root of the addiction or addictive action will give you perspective, which is always useful:
Is it necessary to share this? Will it add value to my life or to other people?
Can I share this experience later so I can focus on living in the now?
Am I looking for validation?
Am I avoiding something else I should be doing?
Am I simply feeling bored? Is there something else I could do to engage myself?
Am I feeling lonely?
Am I afraid of missing out?
Can I use this time to just simply be instead of looking for something to fill it?
Do I just want to have mindless fun for a while?
5. Announce to Your Community You're Taking a Break and Delete Your Apps.
Go big or go home. By making a declaration to your "public," you'll feel more inclined to honor your own word. Most people will respect you (and even admire) you for it.
We are all guilty of letting social media take up a large part of our lives. It happens to all of us as it’s become part of our culture to tell our audience of people what we are up to at all times. Choose the tip that’s most appropriate for you, and know that your apps will always be waiting for you whenever you want to jump back into the game