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“What It Means To: Unplug From Social Media!”

Welcome back, Sit, Stay, & Bloggers, and Happy 2018!  Is your New Year’s resolution to unplug from social media?  The mere fact that you’re reading this blog on a social media platform tells me one of two things:  1.  You’ve broke your New Year’s resolution;  2.  You’re starting your resolution on the day that never comes:  tomorrow!

No, I did not unplug for the purposes of this post.  My social media news feeds are loaded with never-ending cycles of adorable puppy photos.  With that I ask, can you blame me?  Therefore, today’s post, a Q & A style blog, was inspired by Alex’s (my boyfriend) recent experiences unplugging from two social media platforms:  Facebook and Twitter.

Pinella blog
Pinella can’t unplug from social media!  Who do you think gives you blog updates on Facebook and Twitter?

Background Information:

  • What is your rationale behind maintaining a Facebook account?
    • Alex described that he utilizes Facebook as a way to remain connected with family members and friends.  He additionally described that life updates posted via Facebook appear to serve as a social lubricant when reconnecting with friends and family at holiday gatherings, parties, etc.  For example, if I adopt a dog and post about it on Facebook, this provides my friends and family with an easy conversation starter  –>  “How is your new puppy doing?”
  • What made you decide to temporarily disconnect from social media?
    • Alex stated that one of the motivating factors was to discover whether or not he had the willpower to actually do it.  He recently recognized that he was checking social media “too frequently”  and defined “too frequently” as approximately 9x/day on weekends and 3x/day on weekdays.  He explained that it was overwhelming to repetitively read negative comments, posts, or complaints from others.  Alex interestingly stated that the start of a new year also often prompts statements such as “2017 was such a terrible year, so 2018 has to be better,” which he wanted to actively avoid, hence the timing of the disconnect (New Year’s Eve).
  • Did you unplug from all social media outlets or just Facebook and Twitter? 
    • Alex continued to use Snapchat and LinkedIn; however, he now questions how his experience would have differed if he unplugged from all platforms entirely.
  • How long have you been unplugged from your social media platforms?
    • Nine days at the time of this interview.

What Happened? 

  • Did you find yourself wanting to check social media more or less frequently as the days progressed?
    • Alex stated that on days one, two, and three, for example, he had less of a desire to check.  However, as time progressed, he found himself wondering what he has missed out on.
  • How did you spend your newfound free time not spent checking social media?
    • Something that I observed and Alex admitted to was that he spent more time physically reading a book, a treasured pastime of his.  He additionally stated that the quantity and quality of time spent playing and interacting with Pinella improved.  He ultimately felt more relaxed and spent less time with his phone at his fingertips.
  • Were there any aspects of your physical health that changed upon disconnecting?  
    • Alex admitted that, with less time that his eyes were fixated on a screen, he noticed a reduction in eye strain and felt as if his eyes were “less heavy.”
  • Were there any aspects of your mental health and mood that changed upon disconnecting?
    • The mental health counselor-in-training in me was intrigued to hear about Alex’s experiences with regard to changes in mental health and overall mood.  He stated that he didn’t feel as “down,” which he attributes to the reduction in the amount of negativity that he was previously surrounding himself with via social media.
  • What was the most interesting thing you noticed? 
    • He discussed a recent realization regarding how frequently individuals prompt conversations with, “Did you see _____ on Facebook?”  (Apparently, I’m guilty of this too!).  He stated that social media posts allow people to share a similar “Facebook world,” and when you unplug from that arena, you’re instantly out of the loop and disconnected from those conversations.   He said it was surprising and amazing to have recognized how much of the “Facebook world” enters real-world conversations.
  • Were there any negative effects you experienced?  
    • Alex noted that he doesn’t feel as connected to others as he previously did and  that disconnecting from social media has also required him to lose access to minute-by-minute news at his fingertips.  While he previously may have learned about somebody’s recent job offer two minutes after it happened (Thanks, Facebook), he described now having to possibly wait days before learning about this news from other sources.

What Happens Next?

  • Will you reconnect to your social media platforms? 
    • He confirmed he will eventually return to Facebook but cannot identify when.  Alex noted, however, that he has since deleted his Twitter account because he recognized he was only posting for the likes and retweets, received a lot of “junk” on his news feed, and had many of the same people on Facebook and Twitter which resulted in repetitive content.
  • Do you anticipate any challenges upon reconnecting to Facebook?
    • He expects that returning to Facebook will likely be overwhelming partly due to the anticipated flood of missed notifications and seemingly never-ending status updates.
  • Do you have any recommendations for individuals wishing to unplug?
    • Alex acknowledged that you don’t have to be somebody who thinks “Whoa, I use social media too much” to unplug.  Unfortunately, unplugging appears to be the primary way to begin to recognize how much time is spent on Facebook and the rationale for doing so.  He recommends unplugging from social media to anybody but especially stresses that it may be of benefit to individuals who are overwhelmed by negativity on their news feeds.

      “No matter who you are, there is something that could come out of [it] for everyone.  Any time you make a change in your life, it is then that you start to see differences.”

  • In a society that utilizes social media to stay connected and receive minute-by-minute updates, do you foresee any negative outcomes arising from a disconnect from social media?
    • In responding to this question, he shared a personal experience while in grad school where he was geographically distanced from all friends and family.  He stated that, at that time, social media was one of his primary mechanisms to stay connected with loved ones.  In that sense, Alex concluded that unplugging may be of less benefit and cause an increased sense of loneliness to those who already feel a sense of disconnect from others such as students, travel nurses, flight attendants, truck drivers, etc.

Concluding Thoughts:

Upon asking Alex if he had any concluding thoughts, here is how he responded:

“I don’t know how my phone just went down to 87 percent.”

Apparently, there are many benefits to unplugging from social media, however, a longer-lasting battery isn’t one of them! 😉


I hope you all enjoyed this style blog and found it insightful and/or relatable.  While I firmly believe that there are many positive aspects to social media (puppy photos and videos), it is important to balance your social media and real-world experiences.  Take time to enjoy nature through your own visual senses and not through a camera lens.  Don’t neglect quality time with your pets, even if it means reducing how often you innocently scroll through the most adorable photos of others’ pets on Instagram!  Most importantly, take care of yourself and the ones you love.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed by negativity on social media platforms, breathe, take a step back, and reflect on your physical world!

If you are achieving your New Year’s resolution, leave a comment below and tell us about it!  You deserve some recognition for your hard work! 🙂
As always, thank you for reading (especially if you’ve read this far).  Stay tuned for the next blog post entitled, “What It Means To: Impersonate a Service Dog.”

-T.

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