Why are more and more people giving up social media?
- Suzanne Burn
- Correspondent for business and finance
When Gail MacDonald reached the highest peak in Spain’s Sierra Nevada earlier this year, she couldn’t stop absorbing the moment.
Instead, the 45-year-old did what many people do when they set out to find the best selfie spot to post on their social media accounts. She even admits that she came dangerously close to the edge of the top.
After this incident, which her husband abused because of her, she decided to stop using social media.
Gail, a British expat living near Granada, Spain, recalls feeling, “This should stop… before I took a picture was the first thing I thought about as soon as I got out of the car rose”.
“Thinking about creating content all the time, worrying about what to say, it all took up too much space and demoralized me.”
A week later, she wrote on her Facebook and Instagram pages that she would stop using the platforms. “Amazingly, this was the post with the most Instagram photos. Everyone made comments like ‘I wish I could do that too’ and ‘What courage!'”
Gale works as a psychiatrist, or “life coach,” who specializes in helping people break out of alcohol addiction and spends an average of 11 hours a week on social media.
She says the thought of quitting those apps was more scary than actually leaving them.
She adds, “Once my withdrawal symptoms initially went away, I didn’t craving it anymore. I felt liberated. I haven’t been on social media for six months, and I’ve regained some of that sense of freedom and peace that I felt when I stopped drinking.”
Many of us spend a very large portion of our time on social media. A global study conducted last July estimated that a person spends an average of two hours and 29 minutes a day on these applications and websites, up 5 minutes from a year earlier.
While some see this as a bad habit that should be broken, for others it is an actual addiction that they need help to break.
UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT), which runs social media addiction treatment centres, has seen a 5% increase in the number of people seeking help with the problem over the past three years.
“There is no doubt that since the outbreak of the epidemic, society has developed a strong dependence on social media and the internet in general,” says Nuno Albuquerque, one of the leaders at UKAT.
Increased awareness of these concerns has caused more people like Gale to stop using social media, or at least reduce the time they spend on it. This caught the attention of these pages.
Earlier this year, Meta Corporation, which owns Facebook, reported that the site’s number of active daily users had declined for the first time in its history. Meanwhile, an internal Twitter memo leaked last month suggested people who were previously the most active users were posting fewer tweets. Twitter did not dispute the veracity of this leak.
Even Twitter’s new owner, billionaire entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk, asked earlier this year, “Is Twitter dying?” views on freedom of expression and its plans for the service offered by the website.
But back in the real world, what are the other reasons people leave social media?
Entrepreneur Urvashi Agarwal stopped using Instagram in 2014, but it only lasted about a year. In August this year, she closed her personal accounts for the second time, confirming she won’t be getting back to it this time.
“It’s definitely done,” says the London-based founder of JP’s Originals tea bag brand.
“One hundred percent,” she adds. “Not only does it waste a lot of time, but it also makes us feel less and less private in the world. Everything you do becomes public.”
Urvashi also stopped logging on to Twitter and Facebook, noting that it gave her a sense of liberation: “I’m very happy with this situation. Now I can read 15 pages of a book every night instead of [تصفح مواقع التواصل]”.
Hilda Burke, psychotherapist and author of The Phone Addiction Workbook, says there is now a greater awareness that more and more people are “crushing” social media platforms.
“Seeing the effects of use can be a powerful wake-up call. Many of my clients have reported a link between heavy social media use and their increasing insomnia and anxiety.”
Pork advises people who want to stop using social media to tell all their friends so they don’t keep trying to contact them on these sites: “Offer other means of communication… and maybe a traditional phone call would tie up relationships in absentia.” better served by direct messages.”
Kashmir, who declined to give her last name, is a 27-year-old public relations executive based in Rochester, Kent, England, and said she stopped using Instagram 10 months ago, at the same time shutting down her Snapchat account.
“The main reason was my mental health. Although we’re under a lot of pressure to keep up with what other people are doing [الصور التي تعكسها مواقع التواصل] It doesn’t represent the reality of these people.”
“I used to surf these sites at night, then sleep less and not feel energized when I woke up. Now I don’t attract comparisons in my daily life and I don’t know what celebrities do.”
“It has allowed me to be more present, decisive and committed to the decisions I made, rather than being exposed to outside influences.”
Kashmir adds that staying away from Instagram and Snapchat doesn’t affect her PR work, and she still uses LinkedIn when she needs to look for a job.
UKAT’s Nuno Albuquerque says people can become addicted to social media for many reasons, the most prominent of which is that it’s a form of escapism, particularly for the younger generation.
“It’s just a way of communicating without physical contact, and for many, 24/7 companionship is available. But addiction is fueled by loneliness, and when a person spends more time online than in real life, it naturally becomes isolated and isolated.” they can become addicted.”
Albuquerque welcomes the fact that more people are getting off social media: “Perhaps we’re finally starting to see the damage it can do to our relationships, to our mental health, to our real-world experiences.”
Back in Spain, Gail MacDonald says she’s much happier without social media: “What a liberating feeling to sit down for a cup of tea without worrying about the picture or the caption I’m going to write under it, and if it should develop into a story or a short video.” Or a contribution. The fact that there are more important things in life.”
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