Social Media Detox is Coming

close up photography of smartphone icons

Derek has challenged me to go on a 30-day social media detox. I’m going to do it in 2024. That will mean no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Threads or LinkedIn for a month. No Randy Rainbow, Holistic Psychologist, Anthony Jeselnik or Michael Rappaport.

No updates on Cuddles’ fascinating (sort of) life or sharing something clever Derek said. How will I ever go on?!

This cold-turkey & temporary quitting won’t happen right away. Erin and I have already promised to do a Facebook Live session on our Gracefully and Frankly podcast Facebook page in January. It will happen at 6 pm EST on January 15th in a celebration of our first year as podcasters and the wonderful listeners who inspire us to do it. We will take questions and suggestions and whatever else comes up. Erin and I will be together with our friend Anita in California at the time.

So, the detox won’t happen in January.

There will never be a “good” time to avoid social media for a month. And that’s kind of the point. It’s woven so tightly into my consciousness. I enjoy it and kind of resent it. I enjoy hearing from people I no longer see every day, watching their life events and their kids growing up. I resent the occasional unfair leap that people sometimes make. “Oh, if you like THAT then you must be like THIS (which is always something they hate).” And I can’t stand it when someone posts a photo and doesn’t identify the supposedly famous person they’re with! Just put it in brackets and write, “for the dum-dums who don’t know” – I don’t care! But please don’t assume we all live in your world.

~end rant~

Bots, Trolls, and Decent People, Too

I make a lot of satisfying and happy interactions on the social networks. I’ll instantly block dimwits, trolls, and dum-dums as soon as they reveal that they’re going to mess with my otherwise mostly harmonious experience. But sometimes it’s still too much. Too much intrusion, information, opinion, involvement. I got on social media for my work as a broadcaster and I’ve stayed with it as a content creator, podcaster, and author. Plus, it can be fun. I’m torn.

But I do agree with my husband that I need to take a break and prove that it isn’t running me, instead of the other way around. Part of the issue is the convenience provided by my smartphone. I’ve been practising leaving my phone in another part of the house. Most times, I come back to it and find that nothing much has happened. Smartphones and social media have created a false sense of urgency about ordinary things. I developed this habit when I was in the business of breaking news. I’m not in that business anymore.

Little by little I’ve whittled my news services down. I have only a couple of apps and I never – I mean never – watch TV newscasts. (Sorry TV friends. I still respect what you do!) I subscribe to only a couple of newsy newsletters that are as unbiased as I can find. Generally, I know what’s going on. But always keeping up to date on the nuances of every story? Those days are long gone.

Canadian News Will Return

It’s been a bit of a relief to not have news stories posted on most social media. As you might remember, social media companies reacted to Canada’s Bill C-18 by banning Canadian news on their sites. I agree with the federal government’s stance. The bill requires those massive non-Canadian social media companies like Meta (Facebook) and X (Twitter) to pay media outlets for the use of their content. It’s like compensating song rights-holders when their music is used. Google and the feds have already come to an agreement of about $100-million a year. It’s inevitable that the other companies will relent, and news will return. But it was nice while it lasted.

I know this detox won’t be easy. Creators developed Meta and X with our brains in mind. We get a tiny rush with each like, comment, or retweet. When someone famous responds to us directly, we never forget. (I’m talking to you, Lewis Black, Will Forte, and Sarah Cooper!) Checking social media isn’t how I spend most of my time. But I do spend too much time doing it. So, I’m due for a cold-turkey break.

I’d love to know whether you’ve tried a social media (or Internet) detox and what it was like. It seems pretty straigthtforward to me. I’ll probably need to remove the apps from my phone to avoid temptation. Beyond that, it will be a test of my willpower.

What This Means for You, Dear Blog Reader

Avoiding social media means I won’t be sharing this blog for 30 days, either. But I’ll still be writing it. If you’d like to get notified of a post, just subscribe at the bottom. It’s free. It will always be free. No salesperson will call. You won’t end up on a list, or get anything spammy. When a new post is published, an email will arrive. End of story. 😊

21 thoughts on “Social Media Detox is Coming”

  1. I can only imagine the withdrawal from love it or hate it, the absence of social media could mean for some, specifically people like me.
    I left a small town I’d called home for 36 years in July. During my time there, I created several social media sites featuring local content. Stuff you normally might find in a small town newspaper, now that those seem to be going into the mists of time.
    Sadly, one of the most frequent subjects is obituary announcements or dates for celebrations of life. Until yesterday, I didn’t realize how some rely on these small circulation sites, which play an important role within the community .
    A young woman whose parents have been a foundational presence in the community, lost her mom last Sunday. She expressed on social media how saddened she was that no one in the community had reached out to her to offer condolences. The simple answer is ,with the exception of her close circle of friends and family, no one knew.
    There’s very few who continue to receive a newspaper delivered to their home anymore, opting for an online version, if they still have any desire to read that which in most cases is stale news. That publication used to include the obituary notices making it the primary source for sharing news of someone’s grand exit.
    Back to the bereaved young woman and her family. A friend reached out and asked if I’d known of this lady’s passing. I scan the obituaries daily, sometimes more than once, looking for this content and had I seen her name, I’d have made a post, so, no. Even that isn’t as simple as it used to be. I’ve discovered FB in particular, sporadically will categorize sharing these notices as spam and remove them. It’s always a multitask cut and paste of the photo and obituary to avoid that, but the challenge doesn’t end there. Many obituaries never make the paper as funeral homes have their own website sites and will post the notice there, skipping newspaper publication, which is now quite expensive.
    Upon scanning a few logical venues I found the notice, and added it to the page. In no time at all, comments filtered in from friends, neighbours, in rapid succession. It took seeing comments posted under the posting to assure this family their mom, grandma and friend were not forgotten.
    Social media is a dark place at times, but you never know what is capable of lighting a candle.
    I’d never miss seeing the food porn or stupid memes, but I’d feel the loss of missing the human connection this platform offers to those I don’t stay in physical contact with due to geography or opportunity.

    1. Sarah, that’s the best use of social media and what I love about it. It’s when the balance gets out of whack that it’s a problem. For some people – no big deal. For others – yikes! 🙂

  2. I have been contemplating the same. As you said, never a good time. I will be curious to know how it works out for you! All the best!!

    Mary Ann

  3. Coming from an background, I’ve always viewed social media and the smartphone as a tool, so setting it aside or putting it down has never been a problem. My smartphone is for my convenience, not yours! So if I choose to answer/respond to your text, message, E-mail or call, it will be at my convenience.

    I ditched Twitter now X over a year ago and recently suspended my Facebook account and I’ve cancelled numerous social media accounts throughout the years. Initially I miss them but discovered it was more a habit to log on verses an actual need and one sided virtual relationships just ain’t in the cards these days.

    Good luck. Investigate suspending your accounts during this period and thus you won’t get notifications which will pull at you to login.

    1. Great point Allan. It was a need for a business environment with a conscientious amount of attention paid to the timing and content of my posting which became a tool associated to my employment opposed to my drug of choice.

  4. I cannot imagine stepping away from checking sites for a day let alone one month. Just like my friends who do a “dry February” challenge or say no to chocolate for a month……. Shaking my head. I say Derek gets coal from Santa for suggesting it!

  5. This is a huge commitment and you and I use our socials for business reasons; when I decided to stop contributing content to X it also meant that we don’t get our messages out about a new blog, the latest episode of Gracefully and Frankly and my own Drift sleep stories. Yes, we’ve seen a slight drop in numbers of downloads (am I imagining that?) and it gives me pause; where do we draw the line between hurting our bottom line and taking a stand? It’s a hard one and I hope that my decision doesn’t hurt US, Lisa – and yours too. Maybe we just use the socials to promote, and keep our own self-made content from putting money in Musk and Zuck’s pockets? Hmmmm….

    1. I think you have something there. Civil interaction on social media isn’t what it used to be. So many people use it to “push out” content. Maybe we should keep our friendly interactions on Facebook where we’ve created a safe little playground, and use Twitter/X for updates only. Knowing all the while that there’s no perfect answer!

  6. That’s quite the challenge Lisa. Good luck to you, and like you say, always baby steps in quitting any big habit in life. Merry Christmas to you and Derek and family.

  7. Social media has changed so much in recent years (especially since the last U.S. presidential election). When I see some of the posts in my daily memories, it becomes evident to me how the innocent, almost naive posts back then weren’t as bold and stressful as they are now. For that reason, Lisa, I think it’s healthy to cut back or take a break from it all every once in a while. I’ve cut down immensely on my interaction with “friends” who began showing their true colours during Covid and elections. I feel better about that. I now find myself focusing on a few chosen podcasts, doing crosswords for brain health, virtual visits from family in Italy and south of the border, and certain people who are of the same mindset as I am. Stress gets eliminated.  Pictures of Cuddles,  Dottie, my grandkitties and grandpuppy are always most welcome.  Good luck to you, Lisa!    

    1. Thank you, Claire. I almost forgot that – you’re right that social media used to be fun. Too bad there’s no turning back.

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