Social media cleanse diary: Day 1

An ELLE writer is going where no millennial would go: into the land of the phoneless

By Lydia Chan | Published: 28 Feb 2017

No Facebook: Day 1
Photo: ELLE Malaysia

My name is Lydia and I'm a social media addict. I'm constantly glued to my phone, tagging people in funny Facebook videos and memes, and Snapchatting my food before I eat it. I can give you a person's entire life story (who their exes are, where they like to party, what their favourite VSCOCam filter is) by creeping on their Instagram alone. It might sound sad, but I know I'm not the only one. 

In her new book, The Power of Off, New York psychotherapist Nancy Colier observes that we are spending too much time with technology – and it doesn't make us happy. In a recent interview she said most people now check their phones 150 times per day, or every six minutes. But being #InstaGoals is not all it's cut out to be. A study conducted by the UK's Lancaster University found a link between depression and excessive use of social media. Similar research published in the Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking Journal also demonstrated a link between social networking and depression, particularly when we start comparing our life to someone else's (something we've all definitely experienced while looking at that girl's #OOTD). We know in our heads that Instagram isn't real, and even fitness stars have spoken out about how misleading carefully posed pictures can be, but we can't always convince ourselves of it. In a way, social media is all about presenting your best self and yet it takes you away from it.

So, I've decided to take a step back. I've lived without social media before (before it was invented!), so I'm sure I can do it again right? I've vowed to go on a complete social media cleanse the whole week leading up to Chinese New Year (yes, that should be fun). That's right – absolutely no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. Here's hoping I come out of this alive.

Day 1
I wake up this morning and instinctively want to check Instagram. I resisted. I take the LRT to work every day, so this morning the journey felt a little slower as I couldn't pass the time on Facebook. Thankfully Spotify's not a social media outlet, so John Mayer was there to keep me company as I people-watched. Around lunch time, the social media notifications on my iPhone began to annoy me but I just ignored the little red numbers. A notification told me that a friend of mine from America had sent me a message on Facebook to say that she's coming to Kuala Lumpur. I had to resort to responding to her the old fashioned way: via email. It just didn't seem as fun without the cute emojis.

Related: Social media cleanse diary: Day 2

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