I pulled the plug from social media. I deleted all my social media apps from my phone. The moment I did it I felt an ease come over me. I didn’t want to feel the constant pull to check the feed. I didn’t want to be bombarded with the constant up and down each post forced upon me. Maybe you should do the same.
I couldn’t totally delete my accounts though. Because I manage The Refuge Homeless Shelter I also manage the social media accounts for this ministry. Facebook is a huge tool when it comes to communicating with our volunteers. So I can’t totally unplug. But, I can limit my access.
Why would I limit my access? Isn’t everybody on Facebook? I too look at people weird when they tell me they are not on Facebook. But, I kind of envy them too. It seems social media is constantly screaming, “Look at me!!!”
After I deleted my apps I stumbled upon a podcast describing how social media works and how it preys upon our worst emotions. What you see in your feed, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and even your search results on Google, are determined by an algorithm. The algorithm is designed to give you content that is catered to you and your interests. It seems like a perfect model to give you what you want. However, the down side is every post you see, every advertisement you see, is made to elicit an emotion in you. When you respond to posts you tell the algorithm you want to see more of this same content. So it feeds you more of the same content to your feed.
The problem with this is the most easiest emotion to elicit is the fight or flight response. In social media it turns into anxiety and rage. The end result is you see many things that you’ve responded to with anxiety. You respond, which changes the algorithm to give you more of the same, you respond again, which changes the algorithm to give you more of the same, rinse and repeat. Soon you find yourself anxious all day due to the constant barrage of anxiety ladened posts from people and advertising. Social Media Anxiety Disorder is a real disorder. The number of people diagnosed rises daily, and many more go undiagnosed.
Perhaps I had the disorder and didn’t know it. I do feel less anxious just in the three days I’ve deleted the apps from my phone. I have resolved only to go on social media once a day from my computer. I also resolve to only be on social media for ten minutes at the most.
If you are feeling anxious, distracted, and have that constant feeling to always be checking your feeds, perhaps you need to think about unplugging for a while.