As with every millennial, I am prone to always being on my phone and checking all forms of social media. Every morning, I go through the same “routine”: check Snapchat, Instagram and then Facebook, all before even getting out of bed. Although common among many of my friends, it has become a rather strange habit, a vicious cycle of becoming detached from the real world to tune into an alternate reality created for you and by you.
Yet among the millions of millennials glued to their phones, some are now signing off. A recent Financial Times article, More millennials switch off social media, picked up on this burgeoning trend. Journalist Jonathan Margolis points to a high number of millennials buying basic phones to avoid the constant nagging of social media and open up more time for engaging in the world around them. (http://www.ft.com/content/)
Checking Facebook is now less of a fad than it was 5 years ago, with more and more people realizing how disenchanted they become after they see their friends socializing and traveling more than they do. People constantly compare themselves to supermodel picture-perfect posts flooding social media. I too fall prey to following one to many models like Olivia Culpo, Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima, whose airbrushed pictures taken in exotic places are aspirational and seemingly impossible to replicate. But even in a world where most of our life is lived online, people are finding peace by distancing themselves from the constant buzz of computers and phones.
A “social media cleanse” has become the new juice cleanse for millennials. Even A-list supermodels like Gigi Hadid are participating in this trend. She is one of the many celebrities taking a short hiatus from social media platforms. As Gigi explained it to InStyle (article [here]), “I really want to still pay most of the attention to my job as a craft and not lose the art in it and the relationships that are meaningful to me not because of the money or the contracts but because of how I inspired designers and how they inspire me. I want to go back to focusing on that kind of relationship within fashion when I go to work for the next month.”She like many others are stepping aside from the pressure of maintaining consistent online presence to assure friends, family and followers they are ‘active’.
Signing off from social media is an effective way of signing on to the reality of the world around us. Leaving those notifications aside allows you to attend to what is happening in real time rather than virtual time. By being aware of the present, you can connect with those who surround you in your everyday life.
As 2017 is in its first few months, many of us are thinking about how to meet our New Year’s resolutions. Realizing how much people depend on their online presence and understanding that it is not the key to happiness has changed the way I relate to social media. It has become a way to be more connected to the world than ever before, but has detached ourselves from our real lives. Maybe a social media cleanse isn’t such a bad idea at all!