On last weekend, I woke up late at around 09:30 AM and impulsively reached for my mobile phone. I turned the mobile data ON and opened WhatsApp to check who had viewed the status/story I had updated last night. I don’t expect messages from anyone over there. I am a member to no WhatsApp group, neither do anybody responds to my stories. It’s because I’m mostly sharing quotes that I can relate to.
So, after checking the names of 16 people who had viewed my story, I threw the blanket away and climbed out of bed to brush my teeth. While preparing a cup of tea, I checked Facebook sitting at the corner of my bed. I spent the next half an hour scrolling through the feeds on Facebook and Instagram. Rarely do I enjoy the content shared by most of the people, that includes political stuff, people justifying the reasons to support Narendra Modi, stupid memes, TikTok videos and more.
11:30 AM—Two hours of Facebook and Instagram
It’s 11:30 AM already and I have done nothing worthwhile that could help me pay the rent for my apartment. I give myself reasons to use social media, because it is a key aspect of digital marketing. At work, I also coordinate social media for my abilities to write catchy content and drive engagement. But nowadays I am finding Facebook and Instagram a little boring.
Social media is becoming boring
The main reason behind it is that I get to see or read the same post hundreds of times. For example, Pakistan Army released Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan recently. All the people are sharing the same stuff and my feed is nothing, but the same thing posted by numerous people.
I realize that social media is necessary, but it sucks out the productivity and wastes time. As I write this piece, the browser on my laptop has 9 tabs open and only 2 are related to my work.
Book addiction vs Social Media addiction
I know that I am addicted to social media like many other people, but things were different a couple of years ago. I was addicted to books then, which was better. I also know that I have the power to shift my attention to books again and let go of social media and other such things that waste time.
When I loved reading books, I used to spend three-fourth of my pocket money on buying books. I had bought around 150 books in two years. But things have changed today. I am making money now but have purchased only 3 books in last 18 months.
So, the thing is that I thought of getting rid of social media for few weeks. I decided that I will open a book and start reading, whenever I feel the urge to browse through Facebook and Instagram.
The next day
The home screen of my mobile has Google Play Music, WhatsApp, Gallery, Instagram, Facebook, and Camera. Every time I unlock it, I feel the urge to open Facebook and Instagram. So, I decided to change the items on Home screen. I added Cricbuzz and Uber, in place of Facebook and Instagram.
However, I still found it difficult to keep myself away from it. At office, I had to use it for official work as part of my role. But I decided not to open my personal account. I can now realize how people with alcohol addiction feel when they try to quit it.
A week later
Facebook had observed that I hadn’t logged in for a week now, and sent me a notification that I had 45 notifications. My friend suggested me to just check once and not use. But I didn’t want to give in and cleared the notification. I picked up Milk and Money by Rupi Kaur, the book gifted by my closest friend.
10 days later
An office colleague had thrown the party and the group photo was uploaded on Facebook. I was also tagged in it, but I opted for seeing it in his phone only.
I had started to feel a little lonely now. I live alone, and don’t really have friends here to talk to. I started giving more time to my girlfriend over the phone and on weekends. She is a hardworking person unlike me, but always finds time for me.
I had missed out on hundreds of memes and stupid things that might seem cool and funny to everyone. I might have missed out on several conversations. But, hey, I have finished reading three books in the month. And it’s worth it.
Getting rid of social media addiction not only helped me find my favorite hobby back, but also helped me do things that matter. While I am totally out of social media (I need it for digital marketing), I have set specific time to login. I have filtered on who to follow and what to browse.
Other than reading a number of books, I have also completed Google’s Digital Marketing course. I have learnt new skills related to my work, which I can add in my resume. I have also called up some of my college buddies and got in touch with them.
Suggested reading: Why I no longer care about being happy?
Time flies, but you are the pilot
Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms invest millions of dollars to engage users and grab attention of users. They change their algorithms every now and then to serve you the content you enjoy. If you go away, there are several ways they try to bring you back.
But the thing is that it’s up to you not to get manipulated. By investing the time into right things or the things that matter mire, we can improve our productivity and skills in work, achieve personal goals, and more.
To conclude, I would say that I have also improved the quality of my sleep as I don’t stay up till late watching random videos on YouTube.
Virendra is a passionate reader and writer. He is currently working for two leading IT media portals. This blog is where he shares everything, whether it is a book review, technical article, author interviews, things he has learnt (and still learning). He also writes about his take on this world through unique, helpful and odd stories.