Should You Consider a Social Media Cleanse?

Nowadays, I find myself seeing life through a Snapchat filter rather than my own eyes. When something funny happens I immediately feel an urge to tweet about it, and every social gathering becomes the perfect opportunity for a new Instagram post. Though I’m surely not the only one with this reliance on social media, I think we should all be more aware of how often life passes us by while we’re caught up following other people around on platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram.                  

If you often find it a struggle to meet assignment deadlines and take one too many study breaks during exam season, there’s a good chance social media has played a part in this. Apps such as those listed above are specifically designed to encourage addictive behaviour similar to a drug dependency, and from personal experience I can say they are quite successful in doing so. Giving in to this desire to be constantly updated may be satisfying in the short term, but can wreak havoc later down the road. Once these habits have been formed, they can be difficult to break and may contribute to a lifestyle of procrastination that no one wants to adopt.

Do you find yourself with a constant urge to check your phone, even at times when it is not appropriate to do so? You’re not alone, and this was the intended goal of cellphone and app designers. How can we combat this issue? A strategy that works in my life is a “social media cleanse”; in times where I need extra focus (during exams, etc.) I delete all social media apps off my phone so I cannot become tempted to distract myself. Social media can be a good place to find out about current issues, but most content on my feeds is trivial and should not be prioritized over my academics. This “social media cleanse” is a method I’ve found to be successful in balancing my overuse of these platforms, and it can be a good place to start for others who may also struggle with reliance on social media.