The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.I’ll admit it—I’ve been spending too much time on social media. I mindlessly cycle through TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, searching for a rush of dopamine and a sense of fulfillment. Rotting on social media isn’t exactly a new phenomenon; in 2024, it’s primarily common knowledge that this ritual is damaging to mental health. However, this is a behavior I have practiced throughout a significant portion of my life, and it is a cemented routine in my day. This is a habit I haven’t been motivated to change unless I was spending significantly more time scrolling than usual.
That is, until recently. And not outwardly for the reasons I probably should, like for mental health purposes, to fix my attention span, or a dopamine detox. The real reason I am going to make an effort to decrease my social media usage is that I am fed up with the excessive amount of ads. Because I have been spending even more time than usual on social media, the amount of advertising on every platform has astounded me. After every three videos or so on TikTok, there is an ad. Not only are there the traditional promotions from big corporations like McDonalds, but my feed has been flooded with TikTok shop-sponsored videos. The majority of these videos I’ve been seeing are of young women promoting shirts from the TikTok shop that they allege are the best shirts they own, and they just dropped in price, and if you don’t buy it now, you’re missing out. The sponsored posts even appear when scrolling through someone’s page. And these videos. Are. So. Redundant. “This viral shapewear snatched me to the moon and back”. “Don’t walk; run to the TikTok shop for Skims dupe.” “This viral shirt did not come to play”. As a college student, I get the appeal of making sponsored videos for the TikTok shop. I don’t blame the people who make them; it’s an easy way to make extra money. My issue is with how social media, and really the internet as a whole, has become less of an escape from reality and more of a distorted extension of it. I’m an advertising and public relations major, and in my classes, we learn a lot about social media and influencer advertising, how prevalent it is in marketing, and how profitable it is. At first, I thought maybe I was so agitated by social media ads because I could see through the tactics being used by the influencers to try to sell me the products. However, many of my friends who have unrelated majors have shared their corresponding opinions. TikTok has become just another way to fuel excessive consumption. So, I have decided to actively decrease the time I spend on TikTok, as well as all other social media platforms. Because I know social media is often a significant part of the career path I am on, I need to find a balance where I am using the platforms enough to stay updated on trends, yet I am offline enough that I don’t feel like I am constantly engaging with them. Here are five lifestyle changes I am going to implement to make this happen:
Feeling lonely, in the mood to scroll? Call a friend or family member. Don’t feel like talking to anyone? Put on a podcast.
Instead of scrolling on TikTok before bed, read.
In the mood to laugh? Find a stand-up comedy special on Netflix or YouTube.
Want inspiration for fashion, cosmetics, etc.? Read a magazine, either online or a physical copy.
Hanging out with friends, and everyone is on their phones? Ask if they want to play the question game! A friend of mine told me about this: if there’s ever a lull in the conversation, she breaks it by asking a question like: “If you were a fruit, what kind of fruit would you be?” or “If you were a drag queen, what name would you go by?”
In an age where social media feels inescapable, it is important to remind ourselves that we still have agency and control over how we spend our time. I am hopeful that the changes I am in the process of making to my life will be valuable, and I hope I’ve inspired others who feel similarly to change their own social media habits too!