7 Signs It’s Time for a Social Media Detox

A friend of mine recently sent a text, asking me where I’d been. He was concerned because hadn’t “seen” me online. I had to smile because I was in the city all summer long, blissfully busy at work and play. However, his inquiry reminded me that no matter where we may be physically, in today’s day and age people get accustomed to our social media patterns – how often, when and where we show up. And when our patterns change, others take note.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this summer my digital footprint changed in a big way. I underwent a bit of a social media “cleanse.” It started in June because I was experiencing a bit of a bandwidth issue. I was feeling as though I didn’t have enough time in my week to get things done and it was seriously starting to stress me out!  So, I decided to take a long, hard look at my schedule to see where I could “find” more time.  Much to my surprise, my involvement (or should I say over-involvement?) with social media was where I found it.

Twenty minutes here; a half hour there.  I had never considered how much time I was spending on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  What’s more, as a small business owner, each week I tasked myself with a rigorous schedule of days/times that I “should” post, rather than posting in a more organic way. It started to feel forced.  To make matters worse, my list of “shoulds” often grew when I viewed the posts of what others were doing.  I soon realized that I needed a break from social media and I took the summer off.  Guess what happened.

The sun still rose in the east and set in the west. (I’m being a bit cheeky here…smile.)

Suffice to say, I felt less overwhelmed.  I made a more conscious effort to show up in person. And, much to my surprise, my business did not suffer because I took a social media sabbatical.  (In fact, it was the business summer I had in years!) My split from social media freed up much needed time for self-care, personal connection and business planning.  It made me think about why I felt compelled to constantly be connected and how many people were feeling the same pressure?

If you’ve ever asked yourself if you’re spending too much time on social media, there’s a good chance that you are. With that in mind, here are seven signs to help you to determine if too much of a good thing is well, too much.

  1. Social media is the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you check at night. And/or…you can’t go 15 minutes without checking your feed.
  2. You are more interested in photographing the moment than you are being in the moment.
  3. You are on social media when you are with (A little rude, yes?)
  4. Your productivity is suffering and more specifically, your to-do list is not getting done.
  5. You are developing a mild (or not-so-mild) case of A.D.D., responding to the constant “ping” of notifications.
  6. When something good (or bad) happens, your first inclination is to post it, rather than reach out to a good friend, family member or significant other.
  7. It either thrusts you into a place of “compare and despair” or you’re overly concerned with the number of likes you receive. Either way, it makes you feel bad.

If you can relate to even one of these telltale signs, you may want to revisit your relationship with social media. Please know that I am not suggesting that you should cut yourself off it completely. (For most of us, that’s just not realistic.) However, cutting back is another story. Remember, there’s no right or wrong here. How many platforms you’re on, and how often you’re on them, is completely up to you.

As for me, I am still figuring my most comfortable rhythm and my new social media norm. But personally I’ve discovered that in this case, less is proving to be more.

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