Confession: I love social media and I am almost always using it. I love Twitter, Instagram, and especially Snapchat. Each of these platforms holds a different purpose for me. Twitter is mainly something that I look at when I need a good laugh. My feed is mostly just memes and old vine threads. Instagram on the other hand, is where I look to for inspiration for my everyday life. I follow a ton of girls my age whose fashion I admire, Chicago foodies, my favorite stores, fitness accounts, and celebrities. I also follow a lot of friends on Instagram, but besides text messages and phone calls, I primarily use Snapchat to keep up with my friends.
Technically, I guess my WordPress page is also a social media platform, but I don’t really consider it to be in the same way as the other ones that I use. Anyways, lately I’ve felt very uninspired and my mind has been cloudy. I have also found myself focusing way too much on what others think and spend too much time comparing myself to others. I feel as though I have been focusing so much on social media, that it’s been taking away from my own life. A couple of weeks ago, a girl who I follow on Instagram, announced that she was doing a social media cleanse. This girl is about a year or two older than I am and is a socialite in Chicago. I follow her page because I love her fashion sense and aesthetic. When she announced that she was doing a social media cleanse, I was very surprised, because she is constantly posting. It also made me wonder why someone with what seemed to be in my eyes, a perfect life, would want to take a break from showing it off. Upon thinking this, I immediately realized how superficial it made me feel for even having that thought. I have to remind myself sometimes, that a person’s social media does not necessarily reflect how their life really is. Social media is really just the bits and pieces of a person’s life that they decide to share with the public, so that they are perceived a certain way. Outside of Instagram, I do not know this girl or her every day troubles. All that I know about her is that she is always sipping on fancy cocktails at Chicago bars and has an impeccable wardrobe. So many times I think that we forget that the people we see on social media, have lives and real problems that are not always made visible for us.
This whole instance and the way that I first reacted to it got me thinking, “Do I need a social media cleanse as well?” I clearly was so deep in this internet world that I was forgetting that it didn’t always represent reality accurately and I was accepting it as my own reality. I decided that the answer to this was yes. So I deleted the Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat applications on my phone. I don’t really have a set amount of time that I want to do it for. I just figured that I would start out doing the “cleanse” for several days to a week and depending on how it made me feel, I would either continue it or discontinue it. I’m not worried about going without Twitter or Instagram, I think that the two of those will be a breeze. The only one that I think I will struggle with staying off of is Snapchat. I mentioned earlier that I keep in touch of most of my friends on this application, and for some of my friends, it is the only form of communication that I really keep with them. I’m currently casually seeing two different guys and I mainly communicate with both of them through the app. I don’t really know how this became my main source of communication for both of them, but I guess that most of it was my doing. As of right now, I’m not looking to exclusively date either of them, and I think that Snapchat keeps the situations more casual. I dislike texting very much and I’m also really bad at it. I don’t always (okay, I never do) text back in a timely manner and this really offends a lot of people. With Snapchat, whether we’re snapping back and forth pictures or utilizing the messaging part of the app, it’s more laidback. I don’t have to worry about replying in a certain time frame without hurting the other person’s feelings or even replying at all. I guess more than anything, I’m just anxious to see if either one of them will reach out to me in another way. This brings me to my next point, that social media is an interesting concept all together, because anyone who has social media accounts, probably has relationships on it that do not exist outside of the accounts. For example, the person who you do not know that always comments advice on your blog posts, the mutual friend of a friend always commenting nice things on your pictures, etc. So if we take away social media and we lose all of these relationships, will it affect us positively, negatively, or not at all? I guess that’s a topic to dive into after the cleanse, but for now, it’s just something to think about.
I’m not really sure what I expect to get out of this cleanse. But it will be interesting to see how I feel in terms of my mental health after it is done. Like I stated before, I do struggle with comparing my life to those on social media and ending up unhappy a lot of times because of it. As juvenile as this may sound, I know that there are thousands (probably way more) of other people like this in the world and that’s pretty problematic. More updates to come on how goes. Until then, wish me luck.