Why I Took A Social Media Cleanse
To cleanse yourself from something is to rid the body/mind of things that pertain to being ‘unhealthy’ or ‘toxic’ in some way.
Many people do liver cleanses, juice cleanses, and other cleanses that rid the physical body of toxins in the system – highly processed foods, chemicals, products, etc. However, while I love the various aspects and power of social media in our world today, I also have some skepticism about it. Like processed foods, social media has a toxic component to it when overused. Anything that can be overused (everything) can also become toxic.
As someone who is making her way into her mid-twenties, and trying desperately to heal myself – mind, body, soul from the horrors of my teenage years, I found that my college career and everything surrounding it was predominantly, directly influenced by factors relating to social media. Whether it was directed towards me, or a friend about another friend, it seemed as though the minute someone was angry/upset with someone else, the subtle hint was all over their social media accounts.
I never understood this.
Why share every little mental thought about another person with 1200 of your closest friends?
Almost everyone I met throughout my time at college I had scrolled through their social media pages before ever having a face to face conversation with them. Without even trying, I had seen their name pop up on ‘people you may know’ or saw their Twitter account’s latest tweet through everyone that followed me who liked it.
If you haven’t thought seriously about the difference between your parents’ generation and yours, you should. Think about how connected we are to one another, and how much just a generation before us, they weren’t as connected. Yes, that can be a really great thing, but as I’ve noticed in college, and everyone around me, it can also be toxic.
If anything can be addicting these days, it’s social media. And anything addicting or overused, can become toxic.
If you are angry at someone, I guarantee your next Instagram post will be in direct correlation or at least influenced by what is bothering you. I know that may sound uncorrelated, but once you think about it, or even see it, (just scroll through Instagram, I dare you) it begins to make sense.
That is exactly why a few months ago I decided to do a very small (baby steps, baby steps) social media cleanse. I did this gradually, not all at once. First, I deleted my Twitter – not just the app, the whole thing. I deleted the account beginning in the summer. It wasn’t a ‘fresh start’ or anything – I was just sick of the constant scroll, and I thought, if I am not going to use this for a particular purpose other than seeing what people are talking about, then why have it?
Let me tell you, it was amazing. The feeling of having an immiediate thought and then considering to tweet it or not went away because I didn’t feel the need to put each witty or self-deprecating thought out into the online world. I could just be my witty and self-deprecating self without anyone knowing.
Next, I deleted my snapchat. Come on guys, admit it, it can consume your daily routine. It is your daily routine. It can be if you have the snapchat app. I began thinking why do I feel the need to constantly have to keep up facial conversations with my friends all the time? FaceTime is pretty much the same thing without the goofy filters, and 10-second rules. Why do I feel the need to add my Starbucks coffee to my story? Why is that completely necessary? It’s not. Trust me, not as many people care as you think they do. That can be extremely freeing.
Then, I took it a step further and deleted my Instagram app – not the account, just the app. I decided to give myself the room to enjoy the sights and friends and family around me without having to share them through filtered pictures or ‘grams’ if you will.
Because believe me, when girls went out on the weekends, especially in college, if you didn’t post a picture, did you really go out?
I really wanted to pull a 2016 Ed Sheeran social media break and cleanse myself from the sometimes all-consuming day to day adventures of all the people I ever went to high school and college with and just live my day to day adventures without the need to tell my social media accounts about it.
I can enjoy aspects of my day to day life without having to show friends what I am doing, and that’s freeing. Privacy and freedom are becoming two things that we constantly crave on a day to day basis, and you can control both those things in your life, to some degree and how much of each you get.
Pro tip – you are not obligated to share aspects of your life with everyone on social media. You can retain many aspects of your privacy and personal life, and guess what – shocker here, YOU control what you share.