How Facebook and Instagram Make You Sad

They say that comparison is the thief of joy.

Turns out that we’re suckers for comparison, though. We can’t get enough of it.

Especially when “bigger boobs and smaller waists are just an app away!” (see below)

Instagram, which now has 700 million users globally, appears to be the social network having the greatest negative effect, according to a new report by the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), an independent charity focused on health education.

One of the report’s authors told CNN that girls often felt manipulated, particularly by these kind of “Face Tune” apps that do exactly what young girls have been raging against beauty magazines for years about…

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Well, that’s a big surprise!

Social media ends up doing what TV, magazines and advertising have been doing for generations – making us all (not just young girls) feel inadequate. Face Tune type apps are only doing what BMW ads and Vogue covers have turned into a creative “art form”.

We’re all aware of junk food and its affect on our health, what about junk media?

In my work and living space, I try to keep all distraction to a minimum. My goal is to stay in that “Deep Work” zone for as long as possible so I get a heck of a lot more done.

  • I don’t have an active Twitter feed or Twitter on my phone
  • I don’t watch TV, read newspapers or buy magazines
  • I don’t answer the phone during work
  • I don’t check email or Facebook first thing in the morning (see the importance of having a morning startup ritual)
  • I uninstalled Facebook on my phone (except for messenger so I can communicate with family back home)
  • I removed the charging cable from my bed room so I can no longer leave my phone on charge in the bed. Now it stays in the office overnight.
  • We have a timer in our house connected to the router which turns the Wifi off from midnight until 6am
  • I deleted my Facebook account but came back. Currently it has a gray anonymous head. Turns out you can’t live with Facebook for many things (like maintaining a Fan Page) but you can keep it to a minimum.

Focusing on Deep Work and turning off junk media has many compound benefits:

  • I consume less (because I’m not watching ads)
  • I am less fearful of the world (and scary brown people – stereotype borrowed from Fox News)
  • I don’t give a shit about the Kardashians or who they’re dating… so I guess that’s a good thing right?
  • I don’t give a shit about much of what the world seems to give a shit about… life goes on, people are generally good people and the best way to change the world for the better is to simply be a better person
  • I guess all the above are the keys to a happier life

But there’s still work to be done

  • There’s the sitting on the toilet reading the smartphone thing… The day I drop it in the pan will probably convince me to stop
  • And, I am still struggling with Instagram although I haven’t posted for 5 days… (so maybe I’m winning!)

How about you – how are you managing your social media habits?

Are you winning the battle with Junk Media?

Recent Blog Posts by Graham D Brown

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