When It’s Time To Log Off Social Media

It’s March, how are you? No, but I mean it actually: are you burnt out? Are you tired? Do you feel like the winter was an endless montage of the bleakest possible scenarios? Do you have a headache every day? (That last question comes from a more personal place: is adulthood just having a headache all day, every day until we die? Or should I finally go to the doctor about my tendency to clench my jaw?) Or perhaps most importantly, is it time to log off social media today?

With only a week of winter left, I want you to go out with a bang. So to help you recharge, here is my guide to whether or not it’s time for you to log off the internet today.

Are you enraging yourself? But for reasons outside of the state of the world?
Let’s begin here: when I find myself suddenly cursing everybody I’m scrolling past on Instagram or actively creeping a stranger eight people removed from someone I met once, it’s time for me to tap out. Nobody asked for my underserved wrath, and my sleuth skills are better served by the solving of actual mysteries. Where so-and-so hangs out on Fridays is of no concern to me. So when it becomes a concern, it’s time to go outside or even look outside to remember a larger world exists.

Are you comparing yourself to another person to the point of it being a little much?
We all compare ourselves to everybody, and I’m not about to sit here and pretend I’ve figured out the secret behind not doing that. But if you’re beginning to blur the lines between reality and a very fabricated version of reality, it’s time to take a break. Especially since Instagram in particular only offers a very small slice of what’s actually real. And you know this. And I know this. But if you’ve been on the internet too long, this knowledge no longer seems to exist and you suddenly find yourself terrifyingly jealous of anybody who can pull off a hat.

Are you hate-following?
We all hate-creep because we’re all petty (and if you’re not, I don’t want to hear about it). But if the mere presence of a particular person is upsetting you, not only should you log off and go see a movie (you can’t tweet or scroll in a movie), you should mute or unfollow them altogether. Life is too short to have an enemy barge into your brain with the latest addition to their manifesto. Unfollow, put the phone down, and then do anything other than touch it.

Are you reading this, hoping you don’t fall into any of these categories?
Look, if you’re here, you know it’s time to log off. Not forever! Just for a few minutes. Just put your phone in your bag and then leave the bag at your desk, and then wander over for a tea and remember that you are an active participant in the world. Yes, social media is part of that world, but it is not the entirety. (And I say this as someone who begins 75% of all sentences with, “Today on Twitter . . .”) Your relevance will not cease if you don’t like every photo for a couple of seconds, and you will not be forgotten if you don’t upload a story. Don’t forget yourself amidst the noise of what everybody else claims to be. Especially since social media is like a party, and it is always better when you know it’s time to duck out for some fresh air outside.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, helpful pointers for social media, social media, social media detox, social media hiatus, top story, topstory

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