Even though the congresswoman is an ace on Twitter, she believes its best to log out sometimes and that this might help reduce stress and depression
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez first arrived at the US House of Representatives, she was greeted by senior congresspeople much like a daughter who goes to visit her parents for the weekend only to be inundated with requests to fix things on their iPads.
AOC is very good on social media: she scraps with her detractors on Fox News and wins; she has made previously dull committee hearings into huge viral videos; and she has remained relatable and inspiring. Other Democrats, many of whom leave social media strategy to their youngest aide, were so desperate to learn her secrets that AOC ended up running workshops on how to be better at Twitter.
Yet even as an ace poster, she can still find social media damaging. Speaking on the Skullduggery podcast, she said she had given up Facebook entirely, and tried to avoid using Twitter and Instagram at the weekend. Social media poses a public health risk it has effects on everybody: increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism, she said.
Can giving up social media at weekends help you feel more sane? To answer that question we are lucky to have the resource of hundreds of accounts of social media detoxes to read online. Apparently the only thing people love more than giving up Twitter is writing an essay about it and posting it to Twitter. A common theme in those stories is that it takes a few days for the addiction to subside before the benefits can be felt, so maybe a weekend isnt long enough. Most controlled scientific studies into Facebooks effect on mental health focus on people who have given up for a month or longer, but a Texas A&M University study found significantly reduced levels of stress and depression in people who gave up Facebook for just a week.
If like AOC, social media is part of your job, it makes sense that you might want to give it a rest at the weekend, in the same way people used to not take work calls after 7pm until job insecurity and the dissolution of work-life separation meant your boss was also your omnipotent overlord.
But if social media is truly meant to be social, why not use it only at weekends? Keep the week for work and rest so you dont come home from staring at a screen to stare at a different one. Then, when Saturday comes, re-download Instagram and allow yourself an hour gormlessly staring at vague acquaintances doing karaoke youve earned it.