The 5-step plan to ditching Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, as stars like Grande, Ed Sheeran and Kim Kardashian have done at times.
Ariana Grande has decided to “Break Free” from social media.
The singer announced that she’s leaving the internet for a time, suggesting that it’s to avoid the current social media obsession with her recently broken engagement to “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson.
“Time to say bye bye again to the internet for just a lil bit,” Grande, 25, wrote in a since-deleted Instagram story on Tuesday that was screen-grabbed by People. “It’s hard not to bump news n stuff that I’m not trying to see rn. It’s very sad and we’re all tryin very hard to keep going. love u. and thank u for bein here always.”
Fellow celebrities such as Ed Sheeran say this could be the secret to finding happiness in a world over-saturated by social media. After quitting Twitter temporarily in summer 2017 (saying he was sick of people saying “mean things”), Sheeran has said that his decision to abstain from Twitter “massively” improved his life, according to British newspaper The Sun.“It has a huge impact because of the way you view yourself and the insecurities that get brought out by other people,” he said.
They’re not the only stars who have found relief by taking a break from social media. Kanye West briefly deactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts earlier this month after fierce backlash to his recent comments regarding slavery. And last year, his wife and social media queen Kim Kardashian told “Live!” cohost Ryan Seacrest that she “took a couple months off” after she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris. “Honestly, I think it’s so beneficial for everyone in life, no matter what you do, who you are, how old you are, you need a digital detox,” Kardashian said. (Even though she lost out on a lot of cash doing it, as her posts are worth $300,000 a pop.)
Meanwhile, Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, is currently inactive on social media, and has been on and off since he was hospitalized for exhaustion last year. Actress Leslie Jones left Twitter “with tears” after trolls harassed the star with racist and sexist tweets, though she returned two weeks later assuring followers, “I always get back up.”
Ruby Rose deleted her Twitter account in August following cyberbullying over being cast as the first lesbian superhero to headline a TV show in CW’s “Batwoman.”.“Star Wars” stars Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley also deleted their social media accounts after harassment plagued them following “The Last Jedi.”
Other stars use social media in moderation. And Emma Watson compares her daily social intake to counting calories. “Social media takes so much of our attention,” Watson told CNN. “It’s so important to keep an eye on what your daily diet is. In the same way we think about what we eat, we should think about what we read, what we’re seeing, what we’re engaging and what we’re interacting with everyday.”
The average person will spend more than five years of their lives on social media, according to a study by marketing agency Mediakix. So Experts say that, like any crash diet, you can’t quit social media cold turkey. Instead, it’s all about cutting back in small increments.
“If you just try quit, you’re going to try to come back. It is just like dieting — you must purposely take in less,” says Melanie Alvarez, assistant news director at Walter Cronkite school of Journalism, where she’s constantly immersed in social media more for work than pleasure.
“If you spend an hour a day, try for 30 minutes.”
Here’s how to trim the digital fat out of your life with this moderate-to-intense social media detox:
Step one: Rid yourself of toxins. Assess what you use each social media platform for — news, celebrity gossip, stalking old friends — and cut the people you’re following for no “good” reason. “Don’t expose yourself to the things you know are toxic, or will bring you down. Unfollow people you don’t need to see,” she said. “Create lists of close friends or family, the people you really want to stay in touch with. You don’t need all of the other chaos.”
Step two: Turn off your notifications to reduce temptation. Silencing your cell phone by turning off the notifications for all social apps will help reduce the urge to check your feeds. “Once you turn off notifications you don’t have something shouting ‘Look at me!’ said Alvarez.
Step three: Cut back. Reduce how much you’re posting. If it’s hourly, make it daily. If it’s daily, try every few days. And work your way to just one post per week. “You feel like you have to post every single picture of everything you see. Resist the urge,” said Alvarez. “Taking the time to post is not worth missing what’s in front of you; it just adds to the bloatedness of social media.”
Step four: Interval training. Reduce the time you spend on social media to one chunk of your day instead 10 minutes every hour. Then switch over to IRL things like making a phone call, going for a walk or finishing a project. “Clock yourself. You can set little reminders on your phone — when you launched this app and half an hour later you close it. Can you get everything done in the time you allotted yourself?” said Alvarez.
Step five: Have a cheat day. We’re all human, and sometimes we want to belly up to that Kanye drama saturating our news feeds. Alvarez suggests not notifying your followers via status update about your social media diet; that way, you won’t be too hard on yourself if you break it. “You stay in control, you know when you want to have a cheat day and you’re going to be fine,” she said, “rather than announcing it to the world and (then) feeling bad when you have a lapse.”
This article was originally published in August 2017, but has been updated with Ariana Grande.
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