The 6 hour Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram outage on Oct 4 made many people grunt in dismay. That is a testament to how huge a part of people’s lives social media has become.
The various social media platforms we have offer different things, all of which are handy in one way or another. On Facebook, for example, one can communicate with friends, reach out to brands, shop, and even find dates. You can also find news and educational material on it, and you can do the same on other platforms such as Twitter or YouTube. They – especially YouTube and TikTok – have also been primary sources of entertainment. The gist is, for almost everything you need or want to do. There is a social media platform that has a solution for you.
That being said, it is hard to imagine a life without these platforms. The most recent Facebook outage incident forced people to abstain, and they were not happy about it. They were like children whose favorite toys were taken away. And none could blame them for behaving that way. The outage has, indeed, caused some inconveniences. People couldn’t reach their friends without relying on other platforms or on the good ol’ way: texting.
While most people acted like that, a minority liked what happened. They were finally able to take a break from social media. They find it hard to do that when the platforms are up since the urge to check your feed is difficult to resist. And when you launch the app, you are sucked into the black hole. The next thing you know, you have scrolled too far down on your Instagram Feed, or you are checking out an item from a Facebook Shop.
But one would wonder. If social media platforms offer lots of conveniences, why would anyone want to stay away from them?
Why It Is Imperative To Take A Break from Facebook Followers
Child and adolescent psychiatrist Neha Choudhary describes social media as a double-edged sword. On the positive side, it helps beat feelings of isolation by letting people stay connected. That is good since that feeling is known to bring mental health problems. The problem is, social media also brings things like cyberbullying into the equation. There’s also social comparison, which is arguably a more significant issue. This causes a decline in self-esteem, leading to stress, anxiety, and depression. Scientists think the depressed should buy Facebook followers to obtain the much-needed validation they need online.
Social media also contradicts its purpose. Its very essence is to make people connected at all times. But as you talk to friends through posts and chats, you spend less time in the real world. You face the screen more than you face people. While that is what’s considered healthy during the pandemic, it is not always the case. It’s also sedentary behavior; thus, it is not good for your physical well-being either.
With all of that said, it would be best to take a break from social media from time to time.
All Home Connections is promoting the healthy use of social media. As part of this campaign, it launches the Social Media Detox Challenge.
All Home Connections is daring people to step away from social media for almost a whole month. In exchange, one lucky participant will get $2,500. Aside from the cash, the winner will also receive goodies – mostly items that keep them away from social media. This includes board games, an instant-print camera, baking supplies, a journal, coloring books, and the Adventure Challenge Scratch-off book. There’s also a language-learning app and a mood tracker app thrown in there. These should keep the winners occupied, letting them not think about their feeds.
Here’s how the challenge goes.
For five days, participants shall continue using social media as per usual. They must track their mood while doing so.
Participants shall delete social media apps from their phones and tablets. They cannot reinstall them for 25 days or visit their accounts on someone else’s device. Also, they must resist the urge to take a peek over their friend’s shoulder.
Using other apps, however, is okay. ” Feel free to continue using other online tools if they get you closer to your goals for detoxing from a social media setting,” says All Home Connections.
The purpose of the challenge is to promote personal growth by “detoxing” social media. All Home Connections want participants to use the time they would otherwise spend “doomscrolling” on more meaningful things. Thus, participants need to set goals and work on them. They should track their moods and activities on the tracking app and task sheet All Home Connections will provide.
After the 25th day, participants must make a short write-up or video about how the challenge has affected them. Did it make them happier or feel healthier? Or did it do the opposite?
How To Apply
Interested people can visit the official challenge page to submit an application form. They can do so until October 25.
Applicants must send the activities they plan to do while abstaining from social media along with personal information. They can also attach a 1-3 minute YouTube video explaining why All Home Connections should pick them for the challenge if they want to.
The winner will be announced by email on November 1. But, if truth be told, all participants of the Social Media Detox Challenge are winners. Not getting sucked in by social media for at least a whole day is an achievement on its own. Besides, what they can get from the 25 days away from social media is personal growth and improvement in their well-being. They will be more productive, and they can develop their skills and talents. That has a higher value than $25,000.
Having a challenge like this is nice. But, it would be better if all people could learn that taking a break from social media from time to time is something they should do. Moreover, they should learn to do it voluntarily.
Can You Avoid Facebook Likes for $2,500?
What determines which social media platforms will succeed? There are two theories about this. First, you have to definitely not buy Facebook likes on your posts, or even look at your friends online!
The first theory says newer and cooler platforms will eventually usurp their predecessors. That theory is supported by the idea that the young ones do not want to be on their parents’ same platforms.
Meanwhile, the other theory states that people prefer platforms where their friends are already on because of FOMO (fear of missing out). That means already established platforms with lots of users, a.k.a the giants such as Facebook, will continue to dominate smaller ones.
For many years, the second theory proved to be more accurate than the first one. However, things have been shaken, causing a shift in the momentum. Many new platforms are starting to thrive, threatening to replace the old ones as the primary social networks.
What Is Happening?
Facebook owns the four most popular social media platforms. That made it the king of social media. When there’s an upstart gaining some momentum, it kills it by introducing a feature similar to what that platform offers. Take the case of Snapchat Stories, for example. Facebook has unashamedly stolen the concept of ephemeral content and added it to both Facebook and Instagram.
The thing is, Facebook can’t do that anymore, thanks to regulators spooking it by stepping up antitrust enforcement. Facebook, now threatened and wary of negative attention, has eased up on doing its usual play. As a result, newcomers now have time to develop on their own.
On top of that, the social media giants have been steadily losing the users’ trust. Executives have been summoned to trials for the proliferation of fake news. There are also controversies revolving around snooping of users’ data and questionable content moderation standards. As such, people have become more inclined to try out other networking options.
Moreover, people are bored and want to find new ways to connect with friends and family via social media. The giants are putting out new features, but people have realized the weakness of these “platform-of-all-trades.” They can’t do everything well. So, it would be better to join a platform focusing on a specific type of content if you enjoy consuming those.
TikTok, for example, centers around short-form video content. Before TikTok became a thing, this niche was unserved. Since people have an appetite for this, TikTok quickly shot up. Now. Instagram launched Reels, a feature in direct competition with TikTok. Still, the newcomer remained the more popular choice.
The game has definitely changed. Contrary to what was the norm in the past, the staying power of these upstarts is unpredictable. They continue to grow, proliferate, and thrive. The question is – could this be the era when they can surpass the reigning giants? Or can the goliaths keep their crowns?
Now is the perfect time to experiment with new content that may appeal to the public’s taste. And that is indeed what the social media startups are doing.
For example, the French social media app Yubo, which targets teens, combines live streams with elements of dating apps.
Then there’s Poparazzi – an out-of-the-box photo-sharing app. In Poparazzi, you can’t add pictures to your own profile. Your friends, and only your friends, are the ones with that capability. Pictures posted by people you do not follow will go through an approval process before they appear on your profile. Likewise, you can post their pictures on their profiles.
Meanwhile, Honk experiments on the way we text. In this app, you can see messages in real-time – meaning, you will see them as your friends type them. No messages will be saved, making this the perfect app for talking about confidential things.
There’s also Houseparty. Epic Games has discontinued the service, but not because it failed. It has a different plan for Houseparty’s technology. But that is a different topic. While short-lived, Houseparty introduced something new that made an impact. It offered the ability to hop on a group video call with friends spontaneously. Furthermore, Houseparty allowed users to float between rooms easily.
The Biggest Challengers
At the crest of this new social media wave are two platforms: Clubhouse and TikTok. TikTok’s success has been discussed already, so that this section will focus on Clubhouse.
Clubhouse is just a year old, and it has already generated major buzz. This audio-only service is synchronous in nature, different from typical social media platforms, which are mostly asynchronous. In Clubhouse, one can create or join voice chat rooms where one will act as a speaker while the others wait for an opportunity to chime in. It is like podcasts and conferences combined. And like regular conversations, one can only listen to them live. Clubhouse does not store any content. Thus, if you miss joining a chat room, the only way to know what was discussed is to ask those in the room.
Based on how successful Clubhouse became, we can conclude people’s appetite for this type of content. Now, even the so-called giants want to be Clubhouse. They are developing their own audio chat room features to prevent their users from migrating to the new platform. That is similar to what YouTube and Instagram did when TikTok exploded in popularity.
The social media platforms are saying their audio-based services are all new inventions. But, who are they fooling? At least Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO, had the courage to announce flat-out that it would be stealing Clubehouse’s idea. That is bizarrely better.
Twitter is the one whose Clubhouse reskin showed the most promising start. Though there are still some things to iron out, Twitter Spaces is very usable now. Even still, Clubhouse holds the upper ground.
Clubhouse and TikTok’s stories of success show the shift in people’s behavior. Social media giants are not as sticky as they used to be. People are now more willing to try emerging platforms. And that is both for the novelty and because of controversies surrounding the old ones.