Social media has become a near-ubiquitous part of our lives, up to the point where many are struggling without it. In fact, social media is affecting our mental health and productivity — but most of us would struggle to give it up, even temporarily. To study why this happens, one app wants to pay people £2,000 ($2,700) to quit social media for just two months.
Like many things that technology has brought us, there are both benefits and downsides to social media. For many people, such networks can offer people a chance to connect to their friends and freely express their thoughts and hobbies. But as we spend more and more time on social media, we also get more disinformation, polarization, and doomscrolling — the act of spending an excessive amount of screen time scrolling through mostly bad news.
Uptime is a free app that claims to offer “Knowledge Hacks” from the “world’s best books, courses and documentaries.” The app is looking for an applicant to quit social media for two months. You don’t need to have any predetermined skills and qualifications, just to be a “social media lover,” with profiles over at least four social media networks. The aim is to see whether quitting social media will have a positive effect on the applicant’s wellbeing and productivity.
“The successful applicant will be paid £2,000 to stop using all social media for the eight-week period. We will also find out how they use their newfound downtime, as well as ask them to record their happiness levels, behaviour and productivity whilst not spending their free time on the platforms they use like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube,” the Uptime blog post reads.
“We will ask the successful ‘social media quitter’ to answer a frequent questionnaire and will be asked to keep both a written and video journal to record their experience. We want to discover as much information as we can about how much time a person could spend improving themselves and their knowledge – alongside their wellbeing and productivity – if they were to decrease their time spent on social media or ‘doomscrolling’.”
It should be said that this isn’t a proper, large-scale study. We won’t know whether social media truly is bad for your mental health and productivity after this. But it could be an interesting experiment and a way to make some money while trying to improve your wellbeing.
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then you can apply here. Applications close on February 21.