Blog post

Social Media Side Effects

December 28, 2017

This whole social media detox has become really interesting…

Not so much the break itself (that’s been surprisingly easy) but the conversations it’s led to with others who have experimented with limiting their social media use as well.

They, too, noticed their anxiety was getting out of hand. But the interesting part is that anxiety seems to be the tip of the iceberg of undesirable side effects. There’s a heck of a lot more going on here…

Our focus is shot. The cost of switching tasks (work to Instagram to work to email to Twitter to work again) if huge. And it’s not just time, it’s energy lost.

Our attention span is shorter. It’s hard to stay on a task and we seek out distractions when the work gets hard (“I’ll just take a quick break then get back to it”) . So not only are we not being productive, we’re not being efficient.

We’re not doing the work. Because we can’t focus we’re stuck at the surface level, bouncing around between tasks and not doing any of them particularly well. We’re not doing the real, deep, meaningful work we’ll be proud of in years to come. We’re not making the change we want to.

We’re more irritable. Not just when we’re on our phones or computers, but throughout the day with ourselves and the people around us. We’ve got a shorter fuse and that’s not good for anyone.

We’re consuming more than we create. We’re not accomplishing as much as we want to with the time we have.

I know this isn’t news. I know people have been banging on about this for years (looking at you, Cal Newport) but it’s crazy to step back and really analyze this relationship for yourself. When something can be so good/useful, it’s hard to admit how much it can be hurting us. It’s hard to see not just the obvious side effects (anxiety, caring more what others think of you) but the ripple effect it has across your life.

I’m not going to throw it out altogether, but I will be revisiting my social media boundaries after this New Year.

A reminder to go back to basics. Taken in Kensington Market last fall. 

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