Why Deleting Social Media Doesn't "Work" to Stop Procrastinating.

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Photo by Piotr Cichosz / Unsplash

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist, and everything I write (as any human being), is likely biased. Please keep this in mind when reading stuff on the internet.

For the references please scroll down to the end of the post.

Social media is inherently bad...right?

I deal with procrastination every day - both for my job and in my personal life with ADHD. For 2 years now, I spend at least 3hrs/day learning about it.

Recently, I often see a related topic being discussed (mostly on Reddit and Linkedin). It sounds like some version of this: “Will deleting social media help my mental health/productivity/happiness”. I feel like it took up after the 2020 “Social media dilemma” movie, starring Tristan Harris (former design ethicist at Google). But honestly, I saw the movie and left disappointed. To my liking, the researches were limited and felt “crafted to prove the point”.

So I decided to do a little research on the opposite: the positive effect of social media.

Here is what I found.

What is good about social media for my mental health?

Being active on social media helps us to:
- build and express a concept of self (in a relatively safe, tension-free environment where everyone can find their support, as opposed to limited offline networks);
- experience happiness and relief (sharing positive content, appreciating and being appreciated);- grow (setting goals, building influence, sharing useful content);
- making one’s political and social opinions heard, supporting special causes, and even saving lives!*, **
I don't know about you, but it made me reflect quite a bit (a charity organization from my home country collected over $140 mil. in 1.5 years thanks to social media).

Will deleting my accounts make me stop procrastinating?

I didn’t find studies on this exact subject & approached it from a different angle. What is procrastination? It is our response to activities that bring along unpleasant emotions (like fear of negative feedback, compromised self-confidence, the questionable value of a task, or an unclear reward).
Traditional ways*** suggest fighting procrastination habit by addressing the bad emotions. This usually involves a structured approach with multiple steps: building self-awareness, emotional resilience, and confidence, reducing distractions and ambiguities, breaking down tasks, and recognizing the value of a work in hand.

How many of those steps can be granted by quitting social media? Probably, 2.
So my guess is deleting social media accounts in itself will unlikely help me cope with negative emotions and procrastination in the long run.
Here is a similar conclusion from the YorkVision****: “The lesson here is that (at least for me) productivity is driven by your own desire to work rather than your exposure to things that can distract you; Twitter is where I go when my mind is wandering, instead of its existence on my phone causing such a wandering.”

My conclusion.

I came to the conclusion that deleting social media alone makes little sense. On the other hand, being conscious about "on what" and "what for" I spend my time in general....does make me happier, and is scientifically proven, hehe (on Trait Self Control, TSC in another post).*****

Take care 🌸

* - Social Media–Driven Routes to Positive Mental Health Among Youth: Qualitative Enquiry and Concept Mapping Study
** - "Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest"
*** - The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done
**** - Does Deleting Social Media Make You More Productive
***** - Why are people with high self-control happier? The effect of trait self-control on happiness as mediated by regulatory focus

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