18 Apr The YouTubers logging off social media
The new breed of social media influencers spend hours online each day to maintain their income via their social media channels. The digital world has brought them fame and fortune so surely they’re not complaining about the same negative side effects as the rest of us? Yet, just in the last few weeks, several high-profile YouTubers such as Yes Theory and Emma Chamberlain have made videos of their digital detox efforts, all showing their followers the positive impacts that stepping away from your screen can have.
Yes Theory is a group of young men, currently with 3.5 million subscribers, who have created a brand revolving around the phrase ‘seek discomfort’. One of the founding members, Thomas Bragg, recently took a break from social media for 30 days, inspired by Professor Cal Newport, who we recently had on our podcast. In the video, Bragg deletes all of his social media and creates a morning routine to take the place of the hours of time he previously spent online.
At the end of the experience, he talks about his decreased anxiety levels and improved productivity. He commits in future to only downloading his social media apps to his phone for 20 minutes every three days in order to remain connected, while maintaining the positives of a digital detox.
Digital detox with Emma Chamberlain
Emma Chamberlain is a younger YouTuber, who at 17 currently has 7.4 million subscribers. Her video was inspired by a joking comment from her parents but she took it to heart and experimented with a day without her phone. Although the tone of the video is comic it does raise the issue she finds of having to be alone with one’s thoughts and struggling to find things to do. She also discusses the problems of doing without some of the useful functions of her phone such as maps!
Chamberlain is a digital-native, unable to recall a time without computers and social media and it’s interesting that despite this she acknowledges the many positives of a digital detox and suggests at the end of the video that she’s going to start to put her phone in a box once a week.
Bestdressed is a clothing channel run by Ashley a student in LA, with 1.4 million subscribers. She made 5 rules for her social media use over the week of her digital detox, including that she would pre-schedule social media posts in order to maintain her career and presence.
Ashley spoke about the positives of switching off such as being more aware of her thoughts and emotions instead of distracting herself. She recommends taking a break from your phone and is implementing restrictions such as turning off notifications and being more liberal with the ‘airplane mode’ switch!
Hannah Witton is another YouTuber who has tried a digital detox in the past, in her case for a week. Witton, who has 530K subscribers, turned off her phone in order to enjoy a holiday without it.
Like the others, she said that it was very relaxing but found there are many benefits to her phone, such as Google Maps! Witton also highlights the difficulty of staying ‘switched-off’ when her career is entirely based on social media, an issue she also discussed with us on our podcast.
Finally, the last YouTuber who has been emphasising the importance of a digital detox is Sky, a YouTuber specialising in health and wellness. Over the last two years, she has posted three videos about digital detox and its importance, including how to do one. The most recent being a vlog of her experience living in a phone-free community for a weekend:
Sky attended a weekend by ‘Brick’ an organisation that runs getaways and evenings-out for those who do not want their lives to be controlled by their phone, in California. Many people, like those who come on our retreats, found they weren’t that enthusiastic about having their phones back at the end of the retreat and instead wanted to be without them for longer.
All of these young creators work and earn a living on social media and yet each in their own way in the last fortnight has had a digital detox to escape from the digital world. Each YouTuber came up with a way to limit their screen-time and each video posted received thousands if not millions of views, Chamberlain’s currently sits at 6.2 million views. Is this evidence of the interest that even digital natives have in the importance of a digital detox and an indication of how pressing the need to disconnect has become?
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