On the 9th of July I decided to take a break from social media, specifically twitter. I’ve been trying since the beginning of 2019 to at least spend less time on social media but it was so hard. I’ll log out and a fews hours later there’ll be something on my mind that I want to share or vent about.
I’ll log out of Instagram and few hours later I’ll see something fancy that I think will look good on my Insta stories.
Lucky for Snapchat I deleted it when Rihanna said we must boycott it after that incident where Snapchat mocked Rihanna’s abusive past with Chris Brown.
With Facebook it has always been a storeroom for pictures to be honest. I just post to save my pictures.
So here I was first week of July adamant to take a break for 4 weeks. The first step was to deactivate twitter so no one will even see my account. I then deleted all my apps leaving WhatsApp. The first 7 days were really difficult because it felt like I had so many things on my mind that I wanted to tweet about. In fact my brain was telling me that I had to tweet, that it was a matter of national importance , that black twitter needed my content as much as we need oxygen. LOL…
But I had to fight it by getting a journal so that every time I felt the edge to tweet, I just write it down on the notebook. The satisfaction was not the same as when I tweet something and it goes viral because tweeps are engaging on it. I mean, for me twitter is a place where I start conversations on topics that people shy away from. I tackle racism, sexism, politics and even issues like colourism . I used to tweet about sex too until my now X said I must stop. I do not mince my words when it comes to having an opinion and people who follow me always tell me that’s what they like about me and that’s why they follow me.
But sometimes it gets me into trouble more especially with people who misunderstand me. Most people are used to me having strong views on their actions, in fact some will recognize me at events and ask me to tweet nice things about them. Of course I giggle and say “if you do the right thing, I’ll be nice” ….But not everyone understands me. Some fail to see the conversation I am trying to start. I don’t tweet to be liked or politically correct.
So when I was away, people started calling me to ask if I was ok. What made my break difficult was people screenshooting tweets to show me. LOL …It defeated the purpose. It’s like when you are trying to quit alcohol and your friends keep on taking you to bars and liquor store.
7 days into my break I realized I had missed having a public opinion and so I started saying a few things on Facebook and went back to Instagram just for Insta-stories . I was relapsing and there was nothing I can do about it. But I still refused to log in on twitter until one politician did something that made me angry and so I went back on twitter . The first rant within minutes was on more than 50 RT and many likes. 3 hours later it was on the hundreds. People were excited I had logged back in and they told me I was missed. After venting I felt good about getting it all out but I felt like I had betrayed myself because I was supposed to be on a break for 4 weeks.
Guilt made me continue tweeting. That’s social media for you. The problem with twitter is that, the reaction that comes after what you tweet makes tweeting fun. I for one tweet to engage even though sometime I don’t respond to everyone . But when you tweet you go back to your mentions to see what other views people have on your topic.
After a week of relapse ,beginning of August I decided that I needed a serious break from social media and that’s when I really committed.
I deleted all my apps again including Whatsapp, changed my numbers so no one but family can call me and deactivated all apps. For 2 whole months I had no access to social media and it was the best break ever . I feel like the 2 weeks break in July prepared me for the 2 months break that came after . So it’s important to start small until you can handle 2 months.
Watch Netflix on your phone
I continued to use my journal to write my thoughts instead of tweeting them. I started watching more Netflix from my phone because my hands kept on reaching for my phone so instead of tweeting or being on Instagram I will go straight to the Netflix app and watch Lucifer which is one of my favorite series. I ended up watching all the Cable Girls seasons . I watched so many things on Netflix just to stop myself from getting to social media . I watched a lot of movies including a sad one called True Story which, funny enough reminded me why I became a journalist in the first place.
Reach for a book in the morning when you wake up instead of your phone
I realized that social media took a lot of my time. First thing I did before when I woke up in the morning was to check what’s happening online. But during my break I reached for a book after saying my morning gratitude prayers . I finally fished “The Year of Yes “ by Shonda Rhimes and Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi . I was also re-reading Oprah Winfrey’s books and decided to download some of her motivational talks. Reading took away the attention from the edge I had to tweet .
Say no to invites that add no value to your life
I also realized that I sometimes attended events only to post about it on social media not because I wanted to go or even enjoyed it. And so I started ignoring my emails . I only went to book launches. I still went out to Instagram worthy restaurants but only if I was craving something not because I wanted to feed my Instagram. At first I’ll take pictures and not know what to do with them but eventually I got used to not taking pictures at all. Not worrying about pictures made me to be fully present in every moment .
There were times when I missed social media so much but I had to remind myself why I had started in the first place. I was not worried about being forgotten because I knew that was not going to happen. And so when the two months was over and I logged in, everyone was still excited …….and now I’m back to the addiction.
But the break was really worth it. Social media can be toxic and sometimes you need to step aside and tell the world to go on without you .
Pictures :Same View Pictures