Chatterbox: I want a social media “off” button

June 20, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Chatterbox, Features


As much as I love my social media (hell, I even do it for a job), there’s times when it can get overwhelming. Social media has it’s pluses, you can keep up to date with your friends, family, latest news and passions easily from your very own phone. But when your phone constantly buzzes with notifications and a few hours of neglect will have tonnes of notifications demanding your attention, sometimes it makes me wonder…is this all worth it? When does it all get too much?

Quitting social media is something that I’d never fathom, I’m too much of an information junkie to even consider it. But there have been times, when everyone’s voices, thoughts and opinions will get so overwhelming, that I can’t even hear my own anymore.

What are my thoughts and opinions, are they simply echoing what I’m seeing from others? Are they formed by bits and pieces of other people’s 140 character mental trajectories that somehow pile up in my head? Because with social media, we don’t get the time to think. Everything is quick, immediate and a well timed post can lead to topical social commentary, where if you comment a few hours later, it will already be old news.

Everyone has their own agenda on social media, whether it’s to sell you a product, to announce an exciting life event or to feel empathy for the latest world tragedy. Sometimes it’s to show off their baby and/or pets, share what they’re eating or to rant about the dodgy person they unfortunately ended up next to on the bus. How much of this is “information critical”? How many of these can we go about without it impacting our daily lives – except for absorbing our limited brain capacity?

I use Facebook, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Snapchat and Steam to communicate with my friends and family, Instagram, WordPress and Twitter to keep up with the latest happenings in the bookish world and not to mention email and SMS. Quitting or shutting off any one of these apps or platforms, will probably impact the relationships I have with the people who prefer to use it not to mention miss out on news and opportunities. Why isn’t there just ONE app where all the action happens? #entrepreneurship101

While it’s incredibly neat getting personalised information through the social media channels and accounts which you choose to follow, sometimes I just want to sift it all into an “off” or “important only” button. Or perhaps, that’s just the “off” button to my phone and a “tune out” switch in my brain (if only it were that easy!).

I crave quality social interaction and unfortunately, the bit of plastic and mental and Android coded hardware has become it. For once, I’d like to sit at a cafe with my friends and actually have a quality conversation for once, without someone pulling out their phone or instagramming their meal or texting their other friends or checking that their town hasn’t been raided.

That’s just what our world has become today. We’ve never been more connected – and disconnected – than ever before.

Do you get overwhelmed by social media?


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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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45 responses to “Chatterbox: I want a social media “off” button

  1. I definitely do get overwhelmed with social media sometimes! And I KNOW that I need less of it and more of face-to-face interactions. I think it's become sort of a crutch for me, and I tend to share news first on Twitter, or I'll say what I need to say to people IRL on my blog. I don't really like that, but I haven't been able to let go of how much I need social media. It's easier to be open. But I mean, I also do have genuine friends on here, especially Twitter, so it makes sense that I'm on it more often than others. That's how I communicate with them.

    But I do miss face-to-face interactions, and I know I need to work better on that. Because I don't wanna let life pass me by while I'm saying, "just hold on, I need to tweet this." Haha. Also, I think breaks are good. Too much, especially of the drama and negativity, is draining on your mental health. I'd never turn it off completely, but I don't NEED to be on it every day of my life.

    Great post, Jeann! 🙂
    My recent post Read-A-Thon Accepted: Make Me Read It

  2. Elizabeth

    I could get overwhelmed by social media, but I don't allow it. I don't take a lot of pictures, so I don't have Instagram, and I really don't use Pinterest socially, more as a storage center. Because of my age/era I remember the days before phones, so I always ask my friends to silence their phones when we get together for a meal. Some I see so rarely that if they spend the whole time answering we'd never get to talk. And I'd never think to answer unless I was waiting for a call from a doctor or something.

  3. I agree, there are too many.
    I try and limit my time on them because of this and I know that there are only a few that I focus on keeping up to date – tumblr, steam, snapchat, instagram.

  4. Charnell

    I get so overwhelmed by social media. I completely fail at Twitter as I feel it updates every one second and I miss all the tweets and all the coversation. Plus I never have anything worthy of posting about on there. I find it hard sticking to the character limit anyway.

    Plus I hat when my notification noise goes off every two seconds! NOT A FAN!!!

  5. danielleisbusyreading

    It's kinda sad how often I HAVE to check my phone – no matter where I am or who I'm with, I need to stay "connected" on Goodreads, Twitter, etc. I don't know why the compulsion is there – maybe I hate feeling left behind? But, yeah, it's pretty sad. But I've tried to take somewhat of a step back from Twitter – I'm not on it nearly as much as I used to be.

  6. rinnreads

    I definitely do! It's amazing being able to contact people whenever, wherever, but sometimes I just want to shut it all off. I want to ignore people for a bit, but I feel that because of social media showing when you were last online, whether you've read that message etc, it's kind of hard to do without feeling guilty.
    My recent post Review: Tracer (Tracer #1) by Rob Boffard

  7. I get so overwhelmed, and sometimes I take a day out, and don't check anything because there's only so much of to CARE. Which might sound harsh, but there are things I'd rather do (sometimes) with my time than scroll through random tweets and photos and whatnot.

    I do like just chatting with people. I must say we don't get our phones out when we hang out! Unless to check a book on Goodreads, haha XD I think having a totally shit phone that didn't have internet for YEARS has made me kind of immune to checking it when I'm with people. Instagramming my food will never be my first thought when the plate sits in front of me. That would be eating it ;D

    We should have a coffee date, Jeannie <3
    My recent post Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

  8. I've been feeling really guilty about the fact that I've been fairly absent from social media for the past couple months — I've just been really busy and giving up all that stuff temporarily has been the easiest way to make more time.

    While I've missed my interactions with some of my blogger friends, I have to confess that I've been really happy too. No drama, no reading someone's passive aggressive subtweet and wondering who it's about… I've realized that all that sort of stresses me out. Not sure what the answer is because I don't want a permanent off button either. I agree that turning off push notifications is a big help. Also using that "mute" button…

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    My recent post Just Finished Reading: Emmy &amp; Oliver by Robin Benway

  9. Lucy

    I feel you girl!! Social Media can get too overwhelming too fast and it bugs me to! What I do to not get overwhelmed is just having my phone on silence (I can use a planned timer who does this for me without having to think about it). And when I want to for example read, I don't close the webpage but minimize it so that I can still watch my computer without it being super distracting. Having a nice slide-show as background is really helpful then.
    My recent post Comic Recap #1 | Spider-Gwen 001-004

    • Yeah, that's how I feel sometimes, even to take a break. But it's how my friends organise outings and stuff like that and imagine if you weren't on FB people would forget to invite you to birthdays and stuff like that. Thanks Benish!

  10. Social media is especially overwhelming when I haven't got the time to catch up for a few days. I always feel like I have missed out on so many things and it makes me feel out of the loop. Lately I've been cutting down time on the internet, because I'm busy and I want to do more than just blogging, but it's hard to feel.. more on the outside.

    • Yeah, I know what you mean Mel. It's fun to just browse every once in a while when you're on public transport or something, but sitting on it for a long time can make me tired. You are such an important voice Mel, never feel like you're not important!

  11. Social media is a double side sword, as everything really tend to be… I tend to focus on the positives but there are serious negatives in there, even more if we end up depending too much on it, and rely on it instead of real interactions.
    It bugs me when people are meeting up for coffee or something and spend their time on their smartphones instead of talking.

    Maybe it's because I'm a bit older and I didn't get my first mobile till I was in college, but when I meet with my friends we are phone's off so to speak. We leave our phones in our bags unless we are waiting some sort of important call, and even then! We focus on chatting and catching up and forget about our phones. We love having whatsapp because we have our group and we can chat all the time with each other and share photos, but when we're actually together, we ignore technology!

    But when I'm home and I have my lappy on? Productivity is not what it should because I'm checking Twitter all the time! I love chatting with my online friends, and Twitter is also my main place to get my news!
    My recent post Summer Queen by Amber Argyle Rockstar Tours Blog Tour: Review &amp; Giveaway!!

    • I totally love your positivity always Pili, it's really wonderful! Yeah, sometimes when I'm out having dinner or lunch, I see people sitting on their phones and not interacting with each other, which is really weird to me. That's such a great idea when you're catching up with friends, I mean that's what social media is for, to bring us closer together, not to split us further apart.

  12. Ohhhh, I agree with this so much! SO MUCH. I actually had become so overwhelmed with Facebook at the end of 2014 that I deactivated my account- told myself just for a few days so I could regroup- and haven't been on it since! The worst part? No one cared! OR knew! My aunt, literally months later, was like "send X to me on FB" and I was like… I haven't been on FB for four months! I keep saying I will go back but… meh.

    I do love Twitter and Instagram though! Man, I could spend all day on those if left to my own devices. But it's so hard, especially when you feel like you WANT to be connected to people, but you can't be, and then you find that you've missed ALL the interaction while you've been OFF social media.

    I agree with you about sitting down and having an actual conversation. I CRAVE it. I think that is part of why I adored BEA so much. But when you're cooped up with small kids all day, I guess Twitter is better than nothing? 😉 Fabulous post!
    My recent post This Week At Midnight (66)

    • Glad to hear it's not just me Shannon! I've heard from similar friends who have deactivated FB for that very reason, I actually considered it for a few times but I would feel to disconnected from what's going on around me. I know what you mean, Twitter has that addictive immediacy about it definitely! YES so do I shannon. Sounds like you got your fix at BEA!

  13. This is so true. I usually love social media, but it sometimes feels exhausting. I rarely feel that way, because I usually love being able to connect with others, but recent events have made me a little fatigued of it all. We'll see what happens, I suppose.

    • Yeah, I think when I feel like this it's usually because I need some alone time overall. Seems to have died down for now Jessica!

  14. I really like social media in that it connects me with people I wouldn't normally interact with, It's a place where I can meet new people! Unfortunately things can be taken out of context and drama does happen pretty often and I think some people do forget that there's a simple (maybe not that simple if you're addicted to social media…) way to get away. Log off! I deleted my Twitter app when things got tough and blocked the site from my computer for a bit. I wish people would understand that getting off social media is another possibly solution… Lovely discussion!

    • Absolutely, it's awesome meeting new people, but sometimes the drama can be too much I think. That's a good idea Rach, I'm glad you were able to block it out for that time. Thanks Rachel!

  15. keionda

    YES! YES! YES! Social media can be very overwhelming for me at times mainly because I'm trying to reach and talk with a whole bunch of people at once. It's hard to keep up with it. I mainly blog to interact with other people and make connections and stuff but like Cait said, it's better to just shut off for a little while to give your brain a rest. 🙂

    • Absolutely, and sometimes even having multiple conversations with the same people can get pretty overwhelming too sometimes. Thanks Keionda, I think I will have to do just that!

  16. I am OBSESSED with social media. I get what you mean though–sometimes I feel like it's taking over my life: I spend too much time on social media sites and I get influenced easily by the opinion of the majority which people clearly announce through tweets and Facebook posts.

    I definitely agree, especially with the "Important Only" button. There are just SO MANY things on social media these days, and there are some unimportant things that would be better if they were just tuned out.
    My recent post Weekly Recap #8: Co-Blogging News and Exciting New Books

    • So am I Aimee, and it's hard not to continuously check it all the time! Definitely easy to get influenced by others' opinions, I agree. Yes, I feel like I'm constantly sifting through lots of junk to get to the good stuff you know?

  17. This is very true. Actually, every Wednesday my friends and I go and get coffee and chat for a few hours. It's so nice to not be staring at a screen or studying for that time. Everyone needs to recharge and social media can get exhausting, for sure 🙂

  18. I agree with you Jeann.
    I now take regular break off social media, and yes, it affects some things, but the positive feelings I get through doing it are just too good to not do it. I get freedom. I get to enjoy other things, I get to unplug and be happy about it, and I've never been happier since I've done it. It's fabulous. I hope that you'll be able to unplug a little soon, if only for a short amount of time.
    My recent post Book Review – Maxon

    • It's a great idea sometimes, especially when we're just needing time alone and in our own space. Thanks love, I think I'll have to actually use the "Silent" button on my phone, rather than just the vibrate function, and leave it in my bag when I go out.

  19. Ohh, I DON'T KNOW. To be honest. social media is a huge part of my life, but at the same time, I only really listen to bookish news. So all the current event stuff, pshhht. I don't pay attention. And I'm super GLAD there are multiple platforms!! Like I adore instagram as a way to share photos, and I like twitter as a way to share brief thoughts. I feel like people have too much space to rant on FB. haha. ANYWAY. I agree it gets too much. I get overwhelmed. It's so hard, sometimes, because we can't gauge voice and tone in just a few sentences of writing. 0_0 It's easy to make mistakes right?

    I guess the easiest "off" button is to just log off and not participate for a while. ??

    • I think I'm just super addicted Cait, so logging off would have that feeling of missing something, kind of like when you've had your phone switched off and you feel like you have a bajillion messages. Hahah hilarious about FB though, I definitely see lots of ranting going on there.

  20. Grace @ RebelMommyBB

    PREACH. For real though it is super overwhelming. And when you go out everyone has their phone out, constantly checking it – me included. I am probably the worst offender. I think it is important to tune it out for a while and let your head clear. Great post!
    My recent post Review ~ One Plus One

    • Absolutely, I just noticed the other day on the bus that I wouldn't be able to recall anyone's faces or my surroundings. It's a bit disturbing, to be honest to be oblivious to the real world.

  21. Kara Terzis

    YES YES YES. Social media IS very overwhelming. Hence why there are some days I just don't log in, and I give myself a break. (Although that makes catching up on blogging a pain 😉 ) And it's nice to actually SPEAK to people once and awhile. One of the things I noticed when I had to switch from mainstream schooling to homeschooling was the lack of actual interaction with people–which was frustrating, but unavoidable at times too. I LOVE social media–and the ease that we can talk to people on the other side of the world, but you're SO right: we're more connected then ever, but we're also detached from our immediate surroundings.