In 2019, the number of social media users worldwide reached a 9% increase to total 3.484 billion, so it is safe to say that we are living in a world ruled by social media and the internet. People like the Kardashians become famous for their exploits on social media and Instagram Influencers are the new #goals because they get paid $100,000 of cash, free travel, free products and fame for simply posting beautifully curated photographs on their Instagram accounts. In fact, according to Traackr 72 percent of major brands say they are dedicating a sizable portion of their marketing budgets to influencers alone.
It’s caused a brand new revolution of FOMO (or Fear of Missing Out) and a rise in mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, as people create a life built on likes and project only the wonderful and fabulous versions of themselves. This creates a lot of low self-esteem in people who spend hours and hours on social media, and can cut many people off from having personal interactions, face-to-face conversations and genuine connection with people. As Taylor Swift’s most recent song “You Need to Calm Down” suggests “You say it on the street that’s a knockout, but you say it in a Tweet that’s a cop out” blatenly showcasing that the world of social media is never what it appears to be, and you should never compare.
But the problem is, we still do. Everyone knows that with the inventions of filters and the rise of social media everything is pretty much fake online now, but it doesn’t stop us from reaching for our phones when we wake up in the morning, and being on them all day until we literally climb into bed.
People do try to minimise the affects of social media and screen time on their lives, proposing “no screens an hour before bed” which has also been researched to showcase that this helps you sleep better and is better for your health. There are also applications that show you in terrifying numbers just how many times you unlocked your phone and for how long, using scare tactics to minimise phone usage.
But what if we instead didn’t simply minimise our screen time, but instead maximise the positive parts of the internet that are so hard to avoid completely?
I love my phone. I use Instagram as a daily diary of photos I like, current feelings and ponderings, research into different items, and a way to track my life and the fun things I do. I dont get a lot of likes and am certainly no influencer, but I do like to see my little follower number rise. I am constantly on Facebook scrolling, and I have three different blogs and a book that require advertising and promotions.
I’m also a shopping addict who is greatly influenced by photos of perfect blondes sunning themselves on the beach and the wonderful expensive jewellery we should have.
In short, I am a sucker for these modes of advertising.
It’s hard because it is a constant war of who I am and what social media projects I should be – Social Media says I should be a basic bitch in popular mass-produced clothes, with blonde hair, and a desire for expensive clothes. In reality, my look is a bit more rockier, with a penchant for black, and I tend to go against the grain in my thinking. But I am certainly identifiable as both a Halloween Queen and a Basic Bitch, and that’s because essentially social media made me this way.
When I realised that my constant scrolling and advertisements on Facebook was what caused this essentially low self-esteem and conflict of personalities, I made it my mission to change that. I unsubscribed to all email mailing lists selling me things I knew I probably wanted but couldn’t afford because I was subject to the advertising. I know what my favourite brands are, so when I needed something I would certainly search there for what I needed, but I didnt need another leopard print dress.
I certainly didn’t stop there either. What I did next was then cull my Instagram pages down to things that were actually inspiring to me, rather than giving me FOMO. This even included deleting a person I personally know from my account because it was all model shots and just made me feel bad in a deep-seeded level. I left pages that inspired me with the hashtags #stopcensoringsluts and pages that provided information on self-care and witchy spells that I partake in. I saved gothic photo accounts, and nice travel photos, but deleted all the cute accounts of couples who influenced their way around the world – I dont need to be reminded of a life I dont have, but also dont really want. I deleted product accounts, kept book accounts that raised my knowledge and interests, and deleted fake workout inspiration accounts, keeping only ones that were actually inspiring.
What was left was that when I inevitably reached for my phone in the morning, I was instead given an influx of beautiful, inspiring, enjoyable images that made me feel good about myself and the world around me, rather than bad and filled with low self-esteem and hatred for people who were obviously prettier than me. The impact of this change was astounding that I greatly urge you to not just reduce your time on social media, but to reduce the amount of influences on there that may impact your negatively.
You’ll be surprised at the positive lift it will give you!
If you want more information on decluttering your digital life, check out my article here.