Life update: I moved to Birmingham last month to start a new job.
Accepting the new job meant packing up my things, moving further away from my hometown of Hull than I have ever been, and leaving my best friends and boyfriend behind.
My life in Brum is good. A lot of that is down to the fact I really enjoy my new job; which allows me to do a range of what I enjoyed at university and at my old job in Lincoln. Birmingham itself is big and exciting – one of those places you don’t realise is lovely until you move there – and I’m being paid enough now to be able to afford the things I couldn’t while I was an intern.
But, and this may sound weird, one of the biggest changes in my life since I moved here is that I now don’t have time for social media. Whereas before I used to be on social media constantly (my old job was fine but it did lend itself to idle fingers scrolling through Twitter feeds every 30 minutes or so), I now only have time for a short look through the “highlights” that my apps have picked out for me in the evening before bed.
You guys don’t need me to tell you that taking time off social media can be great. The main cause of my accidental social media detox is because I’m occupied with more interesting things: my job, exercising, reading, cooking good food, face-timing friends and my boyfriend, phoning my mum or even just catching up on YouTube. Things that have a variety to them and actually give me a sense of accomplishment because, don’t get me wrong, stalking the successful people I went to uni with is fun and everything but it definitely impacted my self-esteem.
Mindlessly scrolling through your feed only succeeds in contributing to the feeling of never being content with where you’re at.
Which leads me onto another great benefit: my mental health is crazy better. I don’t think people realise how hazy you feel with your head stuck in the Twitter and Insta cloud, surrounded by people who are funnier, go on more holidays and meet more famous people than you do (and they’re only two years older than me?!).
Mindlessly scrolling through your feeds only succeeds in contributing to the feeling of never being content with where you’re at. It’s a weird, dark figure (picture a Dementor if you will) hanging over you; always telling you that you must do better and do it right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re only 21 – how the fuck aren’t you a successful fiction author by now?
Being forced out of my social media cloud means I’ve broken the apps’ spell too. Twitter and Instagram used to have this hold on me where I would check every single push notification, even if I knew I wasn’t going to be interested in what “Jack and 38 others” have liked on Twitter, but now I am happy to swipe anything away that I don’t care about. It’s great – because the “Take a look at this tweet and 13 other highlights” notification I get through is always bound to be a barrel of shit not tailored to my interests at all (srsly Twitter, whoever is in charge of that feature needs to sort it out).
But going without social media does have its drawbacks. Breaking out of my digital routine and checking my apps only once a day (maybe twice if I’m on my own for lunch), means my notifications at the end of the day can be a little overwhelming and, as I said before, mostly a load of crap. The push notifications I receive are genuinely horrendous, both in quality and quantity, and have led me to changing my apps’ settings so that I only get notifications for when the accounts I have on notification tweet.
Reducing the amount of notifications I get is fine, but I wish I didn’t have to do it. The internet moves so quickly and the culture around memes is so fast-paced means that if I don’t check Twitter that much, and I don’t get the notifications through, I’m missing out on a whole load of jokes that could be really fucking funny. And that makes me sad because one of my favourite things about social media, especially going way back to my Tumblr days, is the weird, millennial, this-makes-no-bloody-sense-why-have-I-laughed-so-hard-I’m-crying sense of humour. And now I’m missing out on it which, I think in my head, equates to me getting too old for the internet? Oh God.
My friends and I don’t live near each other anymore, so I do feel like spending less time on social media does contribute to feeling less close.
Not only do I miss out on memes though (a true tragedy) but I also miss out on my friends’ updates and it takes me a while to respond to their messages. I understand that the constant pressure to reply to people within an hour is crazy and I do restrict myself to only messaging back a couple of times a day or less, but when my friends tweet something in the moment – and then I get to it six hours later after I’ve finished work – it feels like the moment’s gone and I’ve missed out, especially if they’re tweeting about something in the moment.
My friends and I don’t live near each other anymore, so social media and meeting up every month or so is all we’ve got. Adult life/friendships seem to be this way for a lot of people, so I do feel like spending less time on social media does contribute to feeling less close with one another – which is pretty shit ngl.
Do you guys feel like you don’t have time for social media anymore, or do you still love it and use it all the time? Or maybe you purposely don’t use social media much as a way to clear your head? Let me know what you think, I’m interested in how others feel about this sort of stuff!