Surviving Social Media During Quarantine (A Solution Backed By Your Mom and Digital Detoxers)

All graphics, unless noted otherwise, are the work of the brilliant illustrator Matt Blease. I encourage you to follow him on Instagram and check out his online store that is stocked with incredible prints and merchandise.

Over the last couple of months, I informally interviewed my friends who have successfully cut out social media from their lives.

As I work in a creative field, I don’t have the benefit of dropping out of the socials game for good. The first discussions were prompted out of envy for these friends. They aren’t subjected to the toxic routine of swiping, scrolling, liking, and sharing that most everyone buys into. That said, I have always enjoyed the constant potential of entertainment, education, and collaboration that social media provides. So while I have no plans to call socials quits myself, I still hoped to learn something from those who have.

Following the release of documentaries like The Social Dilemma and The LIKE Movie, it is beyond clear that everyone should be making a conscious effort to unplug. Hell, I’d argue that if 50% of Millennials and Gen Z miraculously cut out The Big 3- Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok- we would see one of the most notable societal shifts of the 21st century. At this point that feels like an impossible feat, so I propose an alternative path.

In each one of my dozen conversations, there was a single shared behavior that my social media reject network confessed to without fault. Quite literally every single one of them had fallen in love with…

Facebook and its 2.7 billion users?
Youtube and its 2 billion users?

Instagram and its 1 billion users?

Tik Tok and its 850 million users?

no and no and no and no!


Do you feel… stupid?

I remember a 2008 Atlantic article from one of my college courses that was titled, “Is Google making us stupid?” The main takeaway was that our ability to search for hyper specific information and navigate through millions of pages of text with one click has watered down the process of actually learning and the process of thinking for ourselves.

“My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy.” –NICHOLAS CARR

I’m sure you’ve seen it and felt it yourself. And now, we don’t even search! We are presented with a mind blowing amount of curated content in a variety of formats that can keep even a small child occupied for hours on end. If Google made us stupid, then by God, The Big 3 are turning us into imbeciles.

As these corporations continue to run profit driven surveillance, push polarizing content, and drive widespread ego-mania, it is hard to reason that the positives of the apps outweigh the negatives. With a much more humane and quality based algorithm and no formal user hierarchy, Pinterest provides all of the perks of other social media platforms in 2020 with a fraction of the negative effects on your psyche.

“Behind all your stories is your mother’s story because hers is where yours begins.” – Mitch Albom

If you’re looking to reassess your relationship with social media, here’s how you can get hooked on a platform that encourages productivity. Whether you’re taking the time to build a board of similar pins or you’re jumping around based on stream of consciousness, you will be much happier with the results on Pinterest than elsewhere.

If 8/10 moms AND those who cut out other social platforms are on Pinterest and you’re not, it is time to consider this untapped digital haven for all of your ENTERTAINMENT, EDUCATION, and COLLABORATION dreams and desires.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re bored. So you open up an app and then next thing you know it is 3 hours later and you’ve accomplished nothing. As every social media platform has stopped showing content in chronological order and rather favors content that will keep you sucked in, the intensity of stimulation has remained consistent but the quality of entertainment has dropped considerably. With Pinterest, as long as I know what I want, Pinterest’s “Smart Algorithm” provides me with a world of quality content that is not redundant like much of what you see on other platforms. Should I be uninspired, a perfect blend of my last searches awaits me. If I want to stay entertained in the app, I will search for someone or something that I like...

SEARCH: Sofia Coppola.

The Cut

The first result is a look book of 122 photos that define her style. From there, based on one-click recommendations I can jump from guides to each of her films to articles on her influence over other directors. I can specify that I want to see hundreds of pictures of her hair in the 90’s or zoom out and see photos that match her aesthetic. Within 30 minutes, I feel like something of an expert on her existence and thanks to the algorithm, the content comes from the most trusted sources.

If I want to find entertainment outside of the app, I will search for someone or something that I like plus “recommendations” or “best.”

SEARCH: Best Indie Movies

Immediately, I am presented with dozens of photos that link to trusted sources for exactly what I am looking for. They are structured beautifully with images pointing to individual recommendations and niche lists including…

12 Indie Teen Movies For a Girls Night In

34 Movies Guaranteed To Mess With Your Head

The kicker is, once I pick a movie from a list and I start watching it, the time for social media is over and I commit to focusing on the movie instead. The two do not need to occur simultaneously. Whatever it is, it can wait.

It is important to remember that you do not need to be entertained while you’re being entertained.


It’s funny to hear people who are so excited about learning how to do something from a Tik Tok. I question whether those who save videos of how to stretch out a shrunken shirt or how to make scallion pancakes like I have actually ever do so. I used to scour Instagram for recipes and fashion inspiration but I would typically get distracted by a DM or random post that made me lose my original train of thought. With Pinterest, I have actually learned various skillsets and found the inspiration to act on them.

There is no better place to look for recipes.

We all end up picking the recipe whose photo looks the most delicious anyway so why not search by photo to begin with. Click HERE to see what a search for Chinese Food Recipes looks like and I promise you’ll begin drool.

Aside from cooking, Pinterest is the mecca of how to’s and arts and crafts.

When bleaching clothes reemerged as fashion trends, I was immediately enticed. Pinterest’s algorithm quickly combined articles, GIF guides, and inspiration pieces that had me successfully turning forgotten garments into wardrobe staples by the end of the day. From there, I used the platform to learn how to properly iron on patches, how to cut garments without them fraying, and how to take photos for e-commerce.

The End Result

The point being, if you want to learn how to do something or pick up a new hobby

be it interior design or guitar chords or collaging or water color or search engine optimization or car detailing or quite literally anything in between

Pinterest is the place to do so.


Everything discussed in entertainment and education can be shared! As you can collaborate on a board and even create boards within boards, Pinterest is a great means of tackling tasks with a friend or a business partner.




So what?

“So what? Pinterest seems great but how is this going to help me use other platforms less or lead a better life as you described.”

I encourage you to ask yourself why you use any given social media platform before reading on and make a quick note of the reasons. Your list might looks a little something like this…

Staying in closer contact with my sister.
Sharing my photography.
Finding out about upcoming events.
Getting more views on my projects.
Pushing social causes and staying informed on politics.

Once you have done so, you now have a list of reasons that you ACTIVELY use social media. These things should be considered ok in moderation. In fact, continue to do them as much as you please so long as the next time you find yourself on social media you ask yourself if you are using the app actively or if you have slipped into passive behavior.

“What if I just want to look at pictures of my friends or find funny things?”

Then add that to your list and make note of how much time you think is appropriate to dedicate to doing so. Social media was launched so that you could keep up with friends and that is entirely encouraged, but how often are you actually engaging with your friends’ content? As for funny things, once you find something funny on Instagram, try inputting the idea or theme of the content into Pinterest and thank me later.

“What if I want to learn something but don’t know what?”

Search for “Easy things to learn at home.” You don’t have to be creative or intelligent in your searches- that’s what the Smart Algorithm is for.

“Has this really worked for you?”

A great question to end on! Yes, it truly has in so many ways.

I am pop culture obsessed and used to spend hours on Instagram for that reason alone. Now, I genuinely only look for content and draw creative inspiration from Pinterest. Most every account on The Big 3 just recycles the same images over and over again so it is beyond exciting to find images and videos that are truly hidden gems. I have cut out so much time scrolling through the BS and now am excited by the prospect of looking into someone’s career or picking out a movie.

Furthermore, I am always working on a number of projects at once and I can quickly lose my train of thought but with the ability to create unlimited boards, I now have a clear cut system of organizing ideas and images. The process of making these boards provides a similar stimulation to using any other social media platform but without having to consider anyone else’s approval!

More so than anything, when I find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I immediately switch over to Pinterest and will either add to a board that I’ve been working on, scroll through my recommended pins, or research something that’s been on my mind. I have cut down my screen time significantly as a result and feel better about myself in the process.

Thanks for reading! If you give this Pinterest method a shot and enjoy the results, please e-mail the author at [email protected] or DM us on Instagram as we love to hear from you.

All graphics, unless noted otherwise, are the work of the brilliant illustrator Matt Blease. I encourage you to follow him on Instagram and check out his online store that is stocked with incredible prints and merchandise.