These days, social media has become a survival tool, without which most people simply cannot function. But then there were few who quit it completely!
A 7-year old girl once told me, “I have to have my tablet early in the morning. It is okay if I don’t brush but without my tablet I have nothing to do.” This speaks volumes about our addiction to the virtual world and the pseudo-satisfaction we derive from it.
There is a constant anxiety lurking around us to check the number of likes on our latest updates and see what others have committed. It is no longer a mode of bringing people closer – it is more like distancing people who are already close to you.
While some people – the rare sort – manage to use the social media as a platform to showcase their talent – the others see their social media accounts as tools of gossip. What’s going on in another’s life? Are they happy? Are they sad? Whom are they dating? Are they working? And such other questions, knowing the answers to which is completely unnecessary.
So, some people decided to quit social media and get rid of the invisible chain that had bound them.
A 2012 study by Anxiety UK found out that 45 per cent of people who couldn’t access their social media accounts felt uncomfortable and worried. And, 60 per cent of those that were studied said that in order to have a good break, they felt the need to completely switch off their phones and computers.
Ben Jacobs, a DJ who had thousands of followers, quit Twitter. He told The Independent, “One of the reasons I quit was because I found myself devoting an unhealthy proportion of my spare time on Twitter. I was one of those people who would wake up in a cold sweat at 3am and drag down the little glass rectangle to see if I had received any responses to my latest pithy proclamation.”
According to Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, giving up social media for just 7 days boosts happiness and reduces anger and feelings of loneliness!
Nearer to home, a 26-year old woman named Mayuri told the Times Of India, “I started detesting people for talking about the better B-School they’d gotten into or the better job they’d secured, and yet I couldn’t stop myself going back to Facebook and reading these posts.” Later, she quit Facebook but choose to continue using Instagram as she found that to be a platform for ‘creative expression’. Another woman, Ranjini Iyer said, “The number of pretty pictures and soppy testimonials about people’s lives started getting to me. Nobody has that kind of life. I started feeling there was something unreal about it.” She too quit Facebook and now feels that she has ample of time on her hands.
Now, many schools and colleges have decided to screen the social media accounts of their potential-students before granting them an admission. That shows us how important it has become in our lives.
According to statista.com, in 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe, up from 2.46 billion in 2017.
While the figures continue to rise, the question we need to ask ourselves in whether we are compromising our privacy and giving a part of our ‘me time’ away only to attain false gratification from the likes and comments on our posts. Are we letting the virtual world that might not even be real, rule the real one?
It is not necessary that you quit social media for some peace of mind. What you need to do, is make sure that you control it and that it does not control you.