Yesterday, both Facebook and Instagram suffered the biggest outage in their history. I was wondering what was happening to those who say they are addicted to social media. Were they shaking or panicking? I suspect not.
What is unique about yesterday’s outage is that nobody could use it. That is different from you alone abstaining from social media. The problem with the latter is that you become anxious about what is going on without you, what people are saying about you, what you are missing out on, who is trying to communicate with you, etc. Since nobody could use Facebook and Instagram yesterday, there was no need for these concerns.
In a way, this is the idea behind weekends. It is not necessary that we all take Saturdays and Sundays off. We could agree to take two days off every week but give everyone the choice of which two days. But imagine if this were the case. You won’t be able to relax because you would be anxious about what is happening on your days off. The stock market would be trading without you. Some potential customers might be trying to contact you. Important decisions might be being made at work without you. Etc.. Part of what makes social media addictive and stress-inducing for many of us is that it never stops. There are no weekends or holidays. Out of fear, we feel compelled against our wish to participate.
There are now therapists who specialize in helping people unplug but it would be challenging as long as all their friends continue using it. An ideal solution would be the concept of social media weekend where all the social media platforms shut down for two days every week. If this were possible, I would think that even those who feel addicted to social media would find the time off enjoyable.
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