Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose rapid and agenda-setting rise to political prominence was fuelled in a large part by her social media savvy and vast following, has said she is cutting back on the use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for the benefit of her health.
Speaking about the potential for harm to people’s mental health by spending too long on social media, the 29-year-old said she planned to reduce the amount of time she devoted.
“I personally gave up Facebook, which was kind of a big deal because I started my campaign on Facebook. And Facebook was my primary digital organising tool for a very long time. I gave up on it,” she told listeners, according to the New York Post. “Social media poses a public health risk to everybody.”
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Speaking on the podcast “Skulldudgery”, she added: “There are amplified impacts for young people, particularly children under the age of 3, with screen time. But I think it has a lot of effects on older people. I think it has effects on everybody. Increased isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, escapism.
“I’ve started to kind of impose little rules on myself.”
When the 29-year-old was elected last year to represent New York’s 14th Congressional district, she did so with a grassroots campaign that was in part driven by her skills on social media.
Since, moving to Washington, Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who has 3.9m Twitter followers, has used most social media platforms to rebut critics, and reach out to supporters.
Live streams on Instagram of her putting together furniture or cooking dinner while chatting to people, have become an art form on their own.
“Like every once in a while, you’ll see me hop on Twitter on the weekends, but for the most part, I take consumption of content, when it comes to consumption and reading, I take the weekends off,” she said.
“And so I’m not, like, scrolling through trying to read everything online that journalists are writing on weekends. I try to do that during the workweek.”
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