Social Media & Me
Rachel writes about the impact of social media on her and what she's doing to make it less intrusive
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"It’s an endless abyss that has sucked me in and I can’t quite get out."
Another buzz, another noise, another incessant push notification from one of my several social media accounts. I’m now looking at my phone for the twelfth time in an hour and it has finally dawned on me that I have a problem. If someone gambles 12 times in a day, that would be seen as an addiction. Yet it has taken months for me to realise that I cannot seem to cope without my phone and that social media is partly to blame.
Social media has been an excellent invention but it also has its drawbacks. I have a routine now. I wake up, I scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat before I even get out of bed. I then continue this routine right throughout the day, right up to before I go to bed. As soon as a push notification comes up on my screen, I have to check it immediately. My face is buried in my screen and I find it harder and harder to pay attention to a TV show or football match without scrolling through Twitter at the same time. The more time I spend on Twitter and Facebook, the more anxious I become over every little thing.
I know I’m wasting time but I can’t stop myself. I should be studying but instead I’m arguing with people on Twitter over abortion or feminism. I could be doing something constructive with my time but instead I just scroll constantly through the new profile pictures, the statuses and the memes. It’s an endless abyss that has sucked me in and I can’t quite get out. That is me in the last year or so, a zombie plugged into social media. I made up my mind after I realised how my mental health was being affected by the amount of time I spent on Twitter and Facebook. I was much more anxious and upset after spending hours on the sites.
I knew I had to do something because the problem was only going to get worse. I started by removing the Twitter application from my phone. It’s so easy to end up scrolling on Twitter for hours on end because there’s always new tweets to be read. I figured if I removed the application, I’d be less tempted to scroll. To counteract the endless scrolling through Facebook on my laptop, I installed an extension called “Newsfeed Eradicator”. It was something my boyfriend recommended to me. It’s a simple thing that removes your newsfeed and ticker and replaces them with a quote while still allowing you to send and answer messages and check your notifications as shown below.
I’ve found this to be incredibly helpful as I now spend very little time scrolling through Facebook yet I am still contactable. Unfortunately you cannot install this extension onto the iPhone but it has made me strongly consider uninstalling the Facebook application from my phone as well.
Habits are easy to form and incredibly difficult to break and I don’t see myself breaking away entirely from social media. I’m still using Twitter via the Safari browser on my phone but I am spending much less time scrolling through it which is an improvement. Oftentimes, I find Twitter both enjoyable and interesting but spending too much time on it does take a toll on your mental health. I am enjoying spending less time on social media and I have noticed an improvement in my overall mood and self esteem. Here’s hoping that continues!