• Cara Goulding

The Effects of Social Media Silence

If you are here to read some insightful post about how going social media dark was enlightening and a positive experience you are in the wrong place my friend!

I HATED EVERY BLOODY MINUTE. Do you know how disconcerting it is to be disconnected in a world that thrives on connection?! It wasn't just the aimless scrolling. I realised pretty quickly that I also use Facebook for all manner of things and in fact I had to make Leigh go on my account to get some important information about a hen do that had been messaged to me. Because it isn't just a case of updating a status, it is also used as a communication tool often in place of email or text proving easier to find everyone and get information out.

Leigh thinks the experiment has failed because I didn’t realise that I could live without social media, but I think it was a success because it confirmed to me a fact I have always known. I have to stay social and I have to stay in touch. There is nothing worse to me than feeling adrift from people and I guess in a way experiencing FOMO on a massive scale. I was good and I didn’t pump anyone for information about what was going on but I missed it keenly. I’m ok with that fact that I hated it and that I’m not now some social media free zen space. I’m ok with the fact that I need to feel connected all the time. I found that I missed Facebook and Youtube the most, and Twitter (obviously, as I rarely use it normally) the least.

It’s also interesting to note that I didn’t miss scrolling through Instagram and thinking every other post, “I wish I had that life,” “I wish my blog had taken off like that,” “I wish I didn’t love food so much and I was slimmer.” I became a little more satisfied with the life I had than trying to compare mine to others. That I have realised this I think also gives me an edge. I can look at this behaviour and ask myself – why? Why am I not able to be happy with what I have in life? Which is strange because if I actually think about my life I am happy. Of course there are things that I wish I’d perhaps done differently but as a whole I am content with what I have. So why then the feeling of doubt when on Instagram? I think this may be the feeling of most people though, I certainly hope that I am not alone in this. I believe the majority of people are always looking to others and thinking “I want that!” when in fact they may also be looking at you and thinking the same thing. It’s the age old tale of the grass is always greener.

I didn’t find that my sleeping increased dramatically or that I had more time in general. With regards to my attention span I suppose I was more focused on the television whilst watching but I found I kept picking up my phone, looking at it, realising I couldn’t do anything with it and putting it down again. Apparently it takes 21 days to kick a habit so maybe on a long experimental scale I might have seen a greater impact but there is no way I’m doing this again!

My friend bought up an interesting point quite early on into the week when she saw me sitting on my phone and demanded to know what I was doing. ‘’I’m sending a Whatsapp!” was my indignant reply. “Well that’s still social media!” she retorted. I argued that this wasn’t the case as it was no different from sending a text message and you wouldn’t class that as social media but she was adamant that it was. ‘You are still being social’ was her main argument for this. Interestingly I had considered banning Whatsapp as well but decided that as it wasn’t a technical form of social media and more a communication tool it was fine. What are your thoughts on this? Should I have also banned any form of talking for a week, and literally have gone completely blind cut off from everything?

After a week off I rushed back on to social media with the glee on Monday. I knew I would feel at being able to feel included again scrolling through a whole week of posts trying to catch up with any news. To be honest there were some things that had happened whilst I’d been gone. A baby had been born, an engagement had taken place and most importantly Craig David had released a new single! Mostly though it was the same old videos, Buzzfeed and Ladbible posts that clutter my feed as no one actually posts real statuses anymore but I embraced it all like an old friend and warm pair of slippers.

Would I do this again? NO Did I learn anything? A little about my own insecurities and how to embrace these.

Cara x

#socialmedia #socialmediadark #socialmediablackout #life #goals #facebook #instagram #happiness #inclusion #FOMO #youtube