Can a company do without social media?

Trend: Bye bye, social media: how useful is a "digital detox"?

Helene Fischer, Selena Gomez and Robert Habeck - three celebrities who did without social networks for a while. You are not alone in this: According to one Yougov-February 2020 survey, 52 percent of respondents in Germany can imagine doing without social media for at least one day. But in the long term, fewer people are willing to fast on social media: According to another survey, 47 percent cannot bring themselves to renounce likes, shares and comments forever. Still, there are people who go through this experiment for more than a day. Following their waiver, some report about it in social networks under hashtags such as #socialmediafasten or #socialmediabstinenz.

Especially the 30 to 50 year olds decide to go for a "digital detox"

Especially among the 30 to 50-year-olds, many take a break from social media, according to the Cologne-based cyber psychologist Dr. Catarina Katzer. The complete exit is rare, because a large part of today's communication in society takes place naturally via social media.

The reasons for taking a digital break are often similar to those for not watching TV. Elisabeth Marx is one of the people who can talk about it: The Rosenheim resident, who has renounced social media for two years during Lent, increasingly found the pastime to be a waste of time. Others want to break away from the bad characteristics that are ascribed to the respective platform: too much aggressiveness on Facebook, everything on Instagram is just a sham. Elisabeth Marx wanted to break away from comparing and no longer be jealous when others posted their vacation photos.

For Jan Rein, who among other things works as a consultant in the food industry and runs a nutrition blog for science communication, the decisive experience was the death of his father: "I was sitting in the car and I needed silence. I turned off the radio, it's three hours drove from Saarlouis to Giessen, and that did so well that I asked myself whether I could do without social networks. ”Too much noise, too little use, a deep need for rest - the trend towards“ digital detox ” "Digital detoxification" shows that people feel that social media is not good for them, says expert Katzer. "Others, on the other hand, need a reaction from their fellow human beings in order to realize that they have become too used to social networks.

Bye Facebook: when do I start quitting?

This external impulse can, for example, be the beginning of Lent, as with Elisabeth Marx. In 2018 she waived initially for 14 days, the two years after that for the forty days up to Easter. Why Lent? "I had to experience that one is forgotten. One is no longer noticed," she says, so it is a good idea not to start in the middle of the year. Others start with a week or a weekend. Few of them last longer than a while, says Catarina Katzer. Jan Rein immediately deleted the apps from the cell phone for a whole year: "If I do something, then it is 100 percent. There were also experience reports with 30 days, but I thought: 'A honeymoon effect - okay, but what comes afterwards ? '"

This is how you can make the exit1 / 5
  • Prevention: If you want to get a grip on your use of social networks, you can contact health insurance companies. Some health insurance companies offer tips or special preventive examinations such as "media addiction screening" on their websites.

  • Contact point: In northern Germany, DAK Gesundheit, together with Computer Addiction Aid Hamburg, is offering a new contact point for media addiction for those insured from all health insurance companies.

  • Active vacation: Companies help stressed people out with "digital detox retreats". When you're ready to shell out € 1,398 for two days.

  • Apps: If you only want to disconnect from social networks, but not from your smartphone, there are many apps. They block certain social media apps completely, only show the respective usage time or limit consumption to a predetermined period. When that is over, the app throws the user out of the social media app.

  • Better to get off completely: A complete cut at the beginning would make sense, so that you can return later in a measured and conscious manner, warns Dr. Catarina Katzer: To do without just a few addresses is "not quite as stressful, but the feeling of overload affects all channels."

Anyone who has decided to do without social networks is spoiled for choice, from "digital detox retreats" to apps. For Elisabeth Marx this "child protection", as she says, was helpful. On her cell phone, she locked the apps indefinitely during Lent, the unlock password was well hidden in a box in the bathroom. In theory, she would have had the key there to look at the social media channels. In fact, she would never have had the urge to use the password. Katzer points out that these measures only work to a limited extent, a change in awareness is more important: "What do I want, what do I need, what is more likely to harm me and my family? What is my current life like and what should I change?"

What follows the cold withdrawal of likes and shares?

Once the first step is taken, there is not necessarily immediate bliss. Cyberpsychologist Katzer explains that the clear cut of not using social networks overnight can be compared with withdrawal: "Withdrawal from Facebook has shown withdrawal symptoms in young women: chills, tremors, gastrointestinal problems, headaches , and consequences as with alcohol withdrawal, such as aggressiveness towards oneself and others. " Jan Rein reports symptoms that are similar, albeit weaker, than those of tobacco withdrawal. The first phase was the notorious "fear of missing out". The next level: "Anger at all those who stare at their smartphones like a zombie".

After half a year he was more relaxed towards the users of social media. Comparing and just focusing on numbers of likes is gone. He used the time differently: went for a walk, occupied himself with himself, read. In addition, he exchanged emails and letters with other people who had also renounced social networks. Today he only uses social media for professional reasons. Elisabeth Marx reports that she can concentrate more on the here and now. But taking photos in such a way that you could theoretically put them on Instagram - that couldn't be turned off completely.

Social media: Don't demonize, but set sensible limits

Deleting the accounts completely is out of the question for both of them. Elisabeth Marx wants to repeat her attempt. Jan Rein has set himself limits: he has switched off notifications and he no longer follows channels, just to get upset about them. But professionally, he continues to believe in social networks: "As a distribution channel for things that are good, for artists and journalists, this is a great thing because there are almost no gatekeepers and you can distribute them cheaply". For Elisabeth Marx, social media were useful for organizing a class reunion after ten years. "It's a blessing and a curse," said the 29-year-old. Catarina Katzer doesn't want to demonize social networks either. That way you can come into contact with other people. An example: grandparents who sent photos to their grandchildren via social networks during the corona restrictions. They are also important for young people to find themselves. Her conclusion: "Social media - of course! But use it sensibly and see what is good for me and what is pointless? You don't have to go along with everything".

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