Why I Quit Social Media for 2 Weeks Text on an Iphone

Almost 2 billion of us wake up every morning to check our phones for “likes.”  We are addicted to wondering if what we posted yesterday was accepted and popular with our “friends.”  I started to notice that I was posting content on Instagram based on whether what I shared would please others.  I bet I’m not alone…

Why I decided to do the Two Week Social Media Ban:

I REALLY LIKE Instagram and started to notice that I was spending countless hours creating content for it every week.  It was starting to take some of the fun out of my lettering and it started to feel like a job instead of a fun hobby.  I also started to feel tired of comparing myself to others and had heard a podcast from The Minimalists about quitting social media for a month and thought that this was a great time to do it.  I was thinking about social media WAY more than I should and was actually creating different situations with my kids just to share online…and I know you do it too!  🙂  It was time for a break.

Everyday I wrote down a few things I noticed during the two week break from social media.

What I did with my time during the Two Week Social Media Ban:

  • I read a book.
  • We played dominoes at night with Cole.
  • I pinned some new meatless recipes.
  • I actually enjoyed watching my baby giggle while she was taking a bath.
  • I created some DIY projects and lettering art without sharing it just yet.
  • I had a clean house (most of the time.)  🙂
  • I read my bible more.
  • I wrote a blog post that I had been dreading to write.
  • I did yoga almost every day.
  • I went to bed early almost every night.
  • I took some naps (which never happens.)
  • I minimized some of my childhood memorabilia that I had been putting off for a long time.
  • I talked to my kids and husband more without my phone constantly in my hand.
  • I went on a movie date with Dane.
  • I wrote a thank you note to a blog friend for some recipes she sent me for my new diet.
  • I completely redesigned my blog (and it’s SO pretty now!)
  • I finished watching Downton Abbey.  🙂

How I was feeling during the Two Week Social Media Ban:

At first I felt a sense of relief which I thought was strange.  I really don’t like Facebook but I thought I would miss Instagram right away.  A few days later, I did have a small sense of missing out.  I was wondering what was going on there without me.  What if someone said something to me that was time sensitive?  What if I missed an opportunity?

As the days went on, I started to realize just how addicted I was.  I had all of this free time that used to be taken captive by planning my next lettering post or thinking of a clever picture for my Stories.  I had more time to focus on practicing my lettering and writing blog posts instead of just creating some random quote that I thought other people would like.  It gave me time to improve and plan instead of just “keep up.”

I also didn’t think about other people so much.  I know that sounds selfish but I have a problem of making other people’s problems my own.  I had that time to deal with my own issues instead of trying to solve the problems of others.

I didn’t compare my life to other people’s lives that they portray online.  I didn’t compare my amateur photography to the professionals.  I didn’t compare my blog to the professional blogs with a staff of 20 people.

We are addicted to social media in the same way someone would be addicted to drugs and that should scare you a little bit.  The creators of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets create their websites to be addicting, from the color choices of the buttons to the algorithms they use to decide what you see first.  We need to be aware of this going forward and set boundaries for ourselves.

I totally agree with this quote about how checking our social media affects our brains from Forbes:

Part of the problem with “using” is that we think social media will give us a boost, but it doesn’t—it makes us feel worse. This is a “forecast error” that keeps us coming back, even though it often has a negative effect on our mental health. And this cycle sounds eerily like a classic addiction.

I recently heard about an artist who removed phones from images to show just how addicted we truly are.  The artist is Eric Pickersgill and the project is called Removed.

Here is an example of one of the photos and I really encourage you to go look at the others. It makes a very powerful statement about how disconnected we are from the people who are actually in the room with us.

Self portrait of the artist Eric Pickersgill and his wife Angie as they lay back to back while using their non existent phones. The black and white portrait shows the young couple ignoring each other in bed.

The two week social media break also hushed that inner voice in my brain that was always trying to create a caption for a post, a new Stories video, or a cute phrase that I should write.  My mind was free to think about more important things like my kids story about school or Dane’s story from work.  I wasn’t distracted anymore.

Now I won’t lie to you…by the end of the two weeks I was missing some of the friend connections I have on Instagram.  I was missing the constant inspiration from the other lettering artists I follow.  I did without it, but I was ready to come back.

How I will use Social Media going forward:

Instagram:  I will still be sharing my lettering but I won’t just be writing something just for the sake of sharing it.  I will still share what I write but I am going to start lettering printables that you can have for free or share products I’ve created.  I will occasionally participate in the “lettering for no reason” posts, but I will be much more intentional with what I write and why because it does take time to write, edit the photo, and post.  I am still going to share pictures of my kids in the Stories because I’m a proud mommy and I can’t help it!  🙂

Twitter:  I am keeping my Twitter account and I am still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with it.  If you have any ideas, let me know!

Facebook:  I have taken breaks from Facebook in the past for years at a time and I am currently going to stay away.  I don’t really enjoy it and I’m not going to waste my time on something that I don’t enjoy anymore.  I might return someday, but for now, I’m not coming back.

Do you feel like this is something you have a problem with?  Do you need a break too?  Let me know in the comments!  If you want to cut back and need help, I recommend downloading the Moment App which will help you set boundaries for your time on your phone.