From smoke signals to telegrams and now to an array of social media sites, the mechanism of human interactions has evolved along with our incessant pursuit of easy fuss-free living that is deemed better than before. Is it really true or a farce like TV dinners?

As publicists of the modern age, social media is an indispensable tool. In fact, it is our lifeline. Our work depends on it. We need to constantly stay ahead and remain relevant. However, we can’t help but agree that spending too much time on social media can be bad for us. In fact, there are just too many stories of addiction. But has it incapacitated one’s ability to fully engaged in a face-to-face conversation? As a light-hearted challenge, we put one of our most socially addicted active team members, Dominic, to a one-week social media detox programme. Here’s his take:

Day 1: A social media-free meal

Dominic: It really was not difficult at all especially when you’re eating with friends and families. Just remember to steer clear of conversations where you have to turn to social media for show and tell. It certainly helps when you’re having fast food or anything other than a 7-course dinner; time passes so quickly that the absence of Facebook was negligible. However, the thought of not being able to post my food conquest on Instagram killed me there and then. This is the last time I volunteer as tribute for challenges like this.

Day 2: Social media-free meals and conversations throughout the day.

Dominic: Breakfast and lunch went by safely. Well, largely because I was either too sleepy or I had a television to keep me entertained. I caved by dinner when I was too eager to show a dinner guest a list of Instagrammers to follow. I apparently did not heed my advice from Day 1 before I opened my mouth.

Day 3-6: Less than 10 minutes of social media access at one time, less than 5 times a day

Dominic: Failing on the second day was a bit demoralising but a little bit of setback was no reason to quit. It’s surprising the number of distractions you’ll need to find to get your mind off the phone, like how you would after a bad break-up. Dying someone else’s hair, yoga, cooking, reorganising your room. I also realised that 10 minutes usually pass by very quickly when we are fixated on the videos of clumsy “puppers” dominating our news feeds but when the time is strictly governed, we can become more selective with regards to the content that we devote our time for. On Day 4, I lost my way, twice, while driving to a friend’s place because I was saving up my quota for the evening, but that friend was sending me directions on Facebook.

Day 7: A whole day without social media access.

Dominic: It really wasn’t that bad. However, I also had to fly that day and I had a feeling it was going to be excruciating without my Facebook Messenger but I was so wrong. Thank you, Netflix and friendly row mates! But the relief I felt when the clock struck 12 that night was indescribable. Freedom!

 A lesson from all these ‘nonsense’?

According to our tribute, yes. Treating social media as a finite resource allows us to better appreciate the time we have and how to better allocate our attention. It is also unnecessary and too great a challenge to go cold turkey unless one wishes to return to life prior to 1997. While a life completely cut off from the digital world may not be bad for some, but it definitely is not one for a publicist.

Status Update:

Dominic’s time spent on social media has not significantly changed after the challenge. He is still very much a social media addict as of the publication of this article. Send help.