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Social Experiment: give up social media during a long weekend

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Could you do it? Could you give up social media for a long weekend? Given the Easter long weekend is on our doorstep, this could be the perfect time to try.

Don’t tweet, don’t like, don’t blog, don’t tumble, don’t snap, don’t vine, and don’t do whatever the hip word they use for Instagram is. If I’ve missed anything, I apologise for being out of touch, the Internet moves really fast these days.

You may be thinking “Are you crazy? Why are you writing about this?” Or you may be thinking about clicking on the Facebook tab you have open on your browser or taking a selfie. Please stick with me for just a minute.

Social media addiction

There has been debate around the addictive nature of social media for some time now. Just Google “social media addiction” and you will be presented with pages of results discussing the very subject.

While you may or may not feel like you are addicted, if you are reading this blog in your browser with 4 other tabs open for your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, or if you’ve glanced over at your phone several times while reading this, it may be a good idea to give it a break for a while. It’s not an uncommon sight to see a gathering of people sitting silently and staring at their phone. In fact in Japan they even have a phrase for it: “Smartphone Zombies”.

Why take a break?

There are two ways we interact with social media: incoming and outgoing. Or in other words, what we consume from other people and what we create for the consumption of others.

Here are some reasons to take a break from both sides of the coin:

  • Negativity: Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or even the evening news, people are far more likely to share a negative experience or complaint than a positive one. This is for a variety of reasons, from human nature to the general negativity out there. But it can be quite taxing on the brain. Taking a break for even just three days can leave you in a much better state of mind.
  • Stress: Of course the negativity I mentioned previously can lead to stress, but social media can stress us out in other ways. When sharing pictures or stories on social media, we always want to look our best and be as cool and smart as possible – completely understandable. But this can create a feeling of inadequacy. You may be introspective enough to understand and see through all of this, but it can still get to you – another reason to take a break.
  • Attention: As convenient as it is, social media still demands quite a bit of our attention. Not just checking and viewing other people’s posts, which, depending on how many people you follow (or vice versa) can take a while. But also finding that right angle for a photo (selfie or otherwise), coming up with a cool and funny tweet or even just examining a situation to think about how you will post about it later. These might seem like small harmless actions but they take you out of the present and divert your attention from what’s happening around you and who you’re with.

Just give it a rest

Cook yourself an awesome meal and don’t take a picture of it (definitely don’t blog about it either). Put on a fancy outfit (no selfies) and go have a nice long weekend without social media. You don’t need to quit it entirely, social media is still awesome. I just believe that those of us who can admit that we are somewhat addicted or perhaps check our phones a little too often can benefit from a rest every now and then.

All I’m suggesting is just one long weekend, your brain will thank you for it and maybe even your friends and family.

 

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1IIC8WN

5 comments

  1. Tovia Alefosio says:

    Nice blog mate, I gave it all up for over 12 months and after reading your article will do it again for the long weekend.
    I hope that people will take on board what you’re suggesting because it can only create connectivity in the human form through been in the moment with who is in your presence. My fiancé is always asking me to be more present, and my 4 year old daughter said to me a couple days ago that Im on my phone to much and tried ti grab it off me.
    That broke my heart. And now I am conscience of my time on my device and on social media.
    Thanks again and I wish everyone would have the long weekend off too.

  2. Richard says:

    So while iinets network suffers massive congestion every night now, iinet suggest we simply turn it off? Well, that’s about all its good for currently.

  3. Steven says:

    I don’t have a “social media” presence. I find that those who are obsessed with such things tend to have diffuculty relating to people in face-to-face situations.

  4. Wendy says:

    I agree with Steven. I have no wish to publish my life, nor do I want to have someone else’s life pushed at me. On a radio interview this past weekend, a psychologist? said that by the constant use of mobiles, computers, etc. we’re not allowing our brains enough downtime to properly process memories.

  5. Mike says:

    I am so happy I never got into the internet social media.. Steven is absolutely right.

    It must have been tough for humanity in the 90’s when we had very few mobile phones, and forced to have real, face to face relationships. And ive been working in IT for 15 years..

    I mean, I can sit on a train, and most people are just sitting at their mobile phones, yes, like zombies. Books are better and train the brain

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