Raise your hand if any of the following sound familiar to you:

  • Whole 30
  • Goop Detox
  • That maple syrup / lemon juice / cayenne pepper diet

The post-holiday sugar/carbs/dairy detox is practically a given. But next week, the Sprocket team is trying a detox of a different kind: a social media detox.

Pics on pics on pics, aka not living in the moment.

For those of us who work in social media, our work day is almost completely conducted through a screen. That’s not unique in this era of knowledge workers. Social media is our bread and butter, and we know it has huge benefits for brands.

But on a personal level, social media has infiltrated every minute of the day.

From Kate Miller, Sprocket DOO: “Several times throughout each day, I open the Instagram app only to realize that I opened it less than a minute ago—like, I recognize the first pic that shows up. At traffic stops, when I’m taking a break from work, the moment my friend gets up to get another drink at the bar—my trigger fingers dig through my bag for my phone to check Instagram, as if I’ve missed something important. And FYI, I have never missed something important on social media while off my phone for social engagements, appointments, or meetings. Unless you count being at the doctor when Beyonce posted her iconic pregnancy announcement, which honestly was kind of isolating for the 30 seconds it took me to catch up.”

The times we’re not clutching a phone with a death grip are limited: at dinner with friends, in a workout class, asleep. Otherwise, our phones are by our sides at all times.

Conversations amongst several Sprocketeers made it clear that this feeling of excessive social media use was common. We talked about how much time we were spending (wasting) on social media and how it feels like a time suck at best, and, at worst, like an addiction. We wondered: is there research that proves correlation between social media use and overall life satisfaction? Is there a way to use social media more intentionally, for inspiration or a laugh, without succumbing to the cycle of comparison or validation?

We found some research linking high social media use to depression and anxiety in teens. And a 2017 study concluded that the more you use social media, the worse you feel.

Of course, none of this is to say that social media doesn’t have real benefits, and we’re not going to delete our channels permanently. But, as people whose livelihoods are directly related to social media, we want to see what happens when we stop using social media, even for just a week—and we want to encourage other people to try it, too.

To guide our thought experiment, we’ve devised a few guidelines:

  • Instagram and Facebook are the most heavily used channels for each of the Sprocketeers who are detoxing; we’re deleting those apps from our phones. (Somehow we think we’ll manage to resist logging in to LinkedIn justttt fine.)
  • When it comes to checking on our laptops, we’re starting the week relying on pure self control. But if that proves to be insufficient (ok, fine—nonexistent), we’ll download Stay Focused, a Chrome app that allows users to temporarily block various websites from being opened.
  • For those of us whose job descriptions include ‘social media management’, we’ve opted to only cut out personal social media use.

Join us tonight through Saturday morning for a Sprocket Social Detox—and let us know how it worked for you.