Quantcast

What I Learned From My Two-Month Social Media Fast

Wellness

Back in August, I made a decision: social media and I needed a break. I didn't know for how long or what would come of it, I just knew that something needed to change about my relationship with the social apps on my phone… and quick.


My time away from social media had me asking myself an important question: Why did I need to take time away from these seemingly harmless apps in the first place? When did Instagraming and tweeting stop being about the joy of sharing moments to becoming a job I no longer wanted to show up to everyday?

As a blogger, a huge part of my traffic would come from my social media platforms. This meant that every post had to be handcrafted and meticulously rolled out according to algorithms and the gamification that the platform has recently introduced. All of this extra work began to consume my time and energy; I even started to avoid plans if they would cut into my scheduled posting times.

If that wasn't extreme enough, social media began affecting my mood and self-esteem. I would find that I would compare myself to the accomplishments that other bloggers and classmates of mine would share on my timeline.

Enough was enough.

I finally came to the decision that something just wasn't right about the way these apps would leave me feeling once I returned to my home screen, so it was time to say goodbye – at least for a little while.

Taking two months away from social media was like removing processed sugar from my diet; I was thinking clearer, felt less dependent on my phone, and was able to form complete thoughts instead of being influenced by the constant inundation of other people's ideas and opinions.

When you've taken time away from something that was once a huge part of your daily routine, you finally begin to see things for what they really are and here are just a few of them:

We’re Not Addicted to Our Phones

Giphy

Technically, it's not our actual phones that we're addicted to, or else we'd see more people taking phone calls as opposed to have their heads down in a state of blinding distraction. In fact, the opposite is true: it's the apps on the phone that we've grown addicted to. Remember when phones were mere devices used solely for basic communication? It wasn't until phones got the "Smart" added in front of them that things started to change. Apps that allow us to share photos, update statuses, and constantly refresh new trending topics have become the time consumers, not the phone itself. App developers want us to spend more time on their apps, so it feels more difficult to put the phone down. So you're not crazy; it was designed that way.

Real vs. Online Friends

Giphy

The interesting part about taking time away from social media is that you learn the difference between your real friends and associates who just like you for what you post online. After about three weeks into my social media fast, I started to get texts and emails from people who were "just checking in on me," and I can't express how much I appreciated that. It's easy to keep up with people when you see them on IG Stories and Snapchat every day because they're literally right in your face. But once that person removes themselves from being easily accessible, the people that really care show up. I didn't go away from social media to be missed, but it did show me that the people who truly care about your well-being will find a way to let you know, no question.

Everybody’s Drunk

Giphy

Have you ever been to a party where everyone is drinking except for you? That's exactly what it's like watching people on their phones while you're disconnected. You see people walking with their heads down, avoiding conversation and bumping into things. When you take a step back and become the spectator to this phenomenon, you're able to see just how distracted and anti-social we've all become. Not judging, but we could all benefit from getting back to our roots of communication. It only takes a few seconds to strike up a conversation with your Uber driver or even the cashier at the grocery store. One of the great things about being human is that we are able to connect and share life with one other, just don't forget that you can do this without your phone.

Reading Is Still Fundamental

Giphy

Once I gave up social media, I had time to return to my first love: reading. Not just reading novels, but news articles and my Bible. I was no longer getting my news from the opinions of my Twitter feed or depending on influencers to give me my dosage of inspiration for the day, I had to seek it out for myself. Instead of checking my social feeds before bed, I would crack open a book or magazine and fill my head with something insightful or educational. In the end, I found that finishing a book or article gave me a sense of accomplishment that I missed and allowed me to exercise my brain instead of leaving it on autopilot.

Related Stories:

Why Taking A Break From Social Media Is Critical For My Self-Care Routine – Read More

How to Shoot Your Friend Shot in the Social Media Era – Read More

I Took A Digital Detox From Social Media And This Is What Happened – Read More

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

Naomi Osaka has recently released her self-titled Netflix docuseries, and giving us a rare glimpse into the 23-year-old tennis player's personal life. She shows off her relationship with rapper Cordae, and we also see her close bond with her older sister, Mari Osaka. Like Naomi, Mari is an experienced tennis player. The 25-year-old made her professional debut in 2014, then retired in early 2021.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

I started dreaming about moving abroad when I was about 21 years old. I remember returning from a two-week study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland having my eyes and mind wide open to the possibility of living overseas. This new travel passion was intensified after graduating from college in 2016, and going on a group trip to Italy. I was intoxicated by my love for Italy. It's hands down my favorite place. However, my post-grad life was one twist and turn after the next. I'm sure you can relate.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

If you are a frequent reader of my articles, then you know that I am front-of-the-class here for the culture. Using all of my platforms to be vocal about Black women and all things Blackity, Black, Black, Black is how I get down, and frankly, if you aren't here for me bragging on my people, then we probably won't have much in common. The wave has been snowballing too, because so many feel the same way I do, which is something we've had to consciously build up as a community.

Keep reading... Show less

Whether still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic, not being able to get enough time off or money being a little on the tight side is what's preventing you from going on a romantic vacation this summer, who's to say that you can't do a sexy staycation instead? If the mere thought of that feels like a poor man's — or woman's — consolation prize, I promise you that it absolutely does not have to. Opting to stay at home while possibly throwing in a couple of day trip adventures (which is a classic definition of a staycation, by the way) can be loads of fun, super romantic and also really cost effective without feeling mad cheap.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

'Insecure' Writer Mike Gauyo Talks His Journey From Med School To The Writers' Room

"Meeting Issa Rae was a story of perseverance, following up, being persistent and all of the characteristics and attributes you need to be a successful writer."

Latest Posts