AFTER I LEFT the (traditional) office life for good two years after I began This Is Glamorous, every night, before I went to sleep, I found myself really looking forward to the next morning. That first cup of coffee, reading, working at my desk in my pyjamas. It was, and has been ideal for a long time. But on Wednesday morning of last week, I awoke feeling a little out of sorts, just as I had the morning before. For the past two nights that week, I slept restlessly. I thought it had to do with the troubling book I had just finished, but on the second morning after two sleepless nights, I began my morning differently: I opened a blank journal and began writing, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. What I discovered was that somehow, my morning routine had changed. In my 2019 New Year’s Resolutions, I stated that I was going to begin every morning of that year reading. Not internet articles, but an actual book. And for an entire year, I stuck to this resolution.
But, something changed when 2019 faded into 2020. I realised that I was no longer beginning my mornings with a book, but somehow had moved to mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and worse still, to checking Twitter as well, a platform that I only ever used before to link to new TIG articles. This change began quietly, with the first Coronvirus lockdown in March, and has continued for the past eight months. Perhaps I had been searching for information, but whatever the reason, it has affected my mind in serious ways. This digital overload has made me less productive, less creative, and I began consuming rather than creating. This digital overload has also affected my sleep, refusing to let my mind rest, keeping it engaged all the time.
There really was only one solution: to quit reading anything on Twitter and to scale back on Instagram for a while. And in that time, it turns out, I really wasn’t missing much. In fact, there were many times before, while checking Twitter or happening upon the comments section of a news account on Instagram, where I would feel truly discouraged about the level of intelligence and the general state of the world.
During my time away, I returned to reading again, to thinking again, and to writing again. I began creating again. Recently on our Instagram Stories, we asked our followers if they still liked social media―why or why not? The answers were telling. Most answered no, for many reasons, including that it’s no longer original and posts feel inauthentic; some just had to have it to keep up with family, but were “So over the influencers [and] the product push.” Others felt that while it is still inspiring, “it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of comparing your life to others. Some liked the ability “to connect with others but feel it has gotten distant from what it began as.” Others still had a more positive experience, stating that they still liked it for inspiration, “but it’s not the fun community that it once was where people became friends online.” And a few had very positive experiences, stating, “Still love Instagram. Great to be able to follow and connect with people who share my passions” and “I like seeing beautiful things and places on IG especially now that we can’t travel!”
Social media is a complicated thing, especially during a worldwide pandemic where connecting with others online is important now more than ever, so we all have to navigate it in the way that works best for each of us. And it can’t hurt to step back every once in a while to see how it is affecting you and your outlook on life.