This week, my buddy Josh joins me to discuss the new social movement that is gaining steam…Why is Unplugging From Social Media A Thing?
When I first heard of unplugging, or shutting off my social media contact for a period of time, I thought…Great!, because that makes sense.
Let’s face it, basic common sense would lead anyone to the conclusion that having your face buried in your phone 24/7 might not be the best choice for a rounded, fulfilled life.
There’s even a National Day of Unplugging that will happen from sundown on March 3rd to sundown of March 4th.
According to the organizers, “the National Day of Unplugging will vividly demonstrate the positive impact a 24-hour digital power-down can have on individuals, families and entire communities. People in every corner of the world are being encouraged to come together to reaffirm their humanity, combat societal disintegration and find reprieve from the persistent digital distractions that define our modern lives, by detaching from their devices and connecting face-to-face.” And, if you do go to their website and take the pledge, they will send you a free cell phone sleeping bag! For the record, I’m taking the pledge!
So, from that perspective, I’m all in…but should something that obvious be a “thing” which is beginning to look like a new social media “movement”?
Well, this is the question Josh and I tackled, and in doing so, I found some fascinating stats about how many of us are caught in the web and I found a few examples where people and organizations are using unplugging as a marketing stunt.
First, let’s talk numbers…
Ninety percent of young adults (ages 18 to 29) use social media. (Pew Research)
Just over half (52 percent) of online adults now use two or more social media sites. (Pew Research)
Seventy percent of the U.S. population has at least one social networking profile. (Statistica)
Of the 7.2 billion people on earth, 3 billion have Internet access; 2.1 billion are active on social media; and 1.7 billion use social networks from a mobile device. (Link Humans)
The average social media user maintains five accounts. (Link Humans)
From the Financial Times: A study published last month by Britain’s telecommunications authority, Ofcom, showed that 34 per cent of internet users have at some point voluntarily gone offline due to the pressures.
From the Harris Poll: two thirds (67%) indicate they make an attempt to unplug at some point during the year. Over four in ten adults (45%) say they try to unplug at least once a week.
Millennials are the group most likely to say they make an effort to unplug in the first place (82%)
Nearly four in ten adults (37%) each say it’s simply unrealistic to unplug for more than a few hours at a time and they have a fear of missing out when they’re unplugged. Just over one quarter (27%) say it’s difficult because their business never sleeps.
Looking at all these numbers, including these social media facts from BroadbanSearch, it looks like Millennials are fully vested in social media, but, they are the group most likely to realize they need to unplug once in a while.
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This brings me to the, what I like to call, Bullshit Reason for Unplugging…as a marketing stunt.
In the show I talk about a specific example of an Instagram “personality” that used the concept of unplugging to separate herself from the pack in order to gain more pub…and, it worked.
I also brought up a few example of how some large corporations have used the concept of unplugging for marketing purposes.
At this point in the show it was time to pivot the conversation to the positive reasons why everyone should work in some unplugging time.
Obvious Reasons include: Balance, re-centering yourself, bringing life back into perspective by bringing the focus back to you instead of focusing on other people’s lives/activities/accomplishments.
Huffington Post had an article indicating benefits such as better quality sleep, improved memory retention and mood, enhanced productivity, and satisfaction in simple enjoying being in the moment.
Forbes had an article that referred to Researchers at Kansas State University have found that although we may resist it, we really do need down time after work to mentally recharge for the next day. Conclusions from the research recommends setting boundaries on your work communications outside work, and making colleagues aware of your after-hours availability. Drawing a line between work and home life not only benefits you, but it may benefit your employer, too, since, you’ll be coming back to work the next day relaxed and recharged.
And, there have been rumblings in the psych community about classifying a new disorder caused by overuse of social media, called Internet Use Disorder. If being offline makes you feel jittery or anxious, you may have a mental illness. Psychiatrists have decided to list Internet Use Disorder (IUD) as a condition “recommended for further study” in the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM.
From Forbes: Research has shown that people with internet addiction have demonstrable changes in their brains – both in the connections between cells and in the brain areas that control attention, executive control, and emotion processing. Most intriguing is the fact that some of these changes are what you see happening in the brains of people addicted to cocaine, heroine, special K, and other substances.
The bottom line is, Unplugging from Social Media is a necessity and can easily be integrated into your life by just realizing certain days and times where you can leave your phone off, or at least put it in the other room so you’re not constantly tempted by the seductive lure of another “like”.