Why Sky forward Diamond DeShields decided to take a break from social media

DeShields’ social-media accounts — which usually give fans a daily intimate glimpse into her life — have been inactive since Dec. 12.

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Diamond DeShields thinks it’s important for people, especially professional athletes, to be aware of their social-media habits.

Diamond DeShields thinks it’s important for people, especially professional athletes, to be aware of their social-media habits.

AP

Apparel line and marketing firm PG Sports announced on Twitter last week that Sky forward Diamond DeShields was named its 2019 rising female sports social-media star.

The irony?

DeShields never saw the tweet.

In the last two years, DeShields has become one of the more prominent WNBA players on social media. She even has her own hashtag, #DiamondDoesIt. Her following has grown to nearly 15,800 on Twitter and more than 56,800 on Instagram.

But since Dec. 12, DeShields’ accounts — which usually give fans a daily, intimate glimpse into her life — have gone quiet.

“It’s not to say that social media was negatively impacting my life,” DeShields said. “But I just felt like it was a good time for me [to step back and reflect].”

After moving to Italy to play for Famila Wuber Schio this offseason, DeShields averaged 13 hours of iPhone screen time per day. She said she spent 10 to 11 of those hours mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter.

That’s when she realized she needed a break.

“I wouldn’t say I was comparing my life, but you definitely take in an unintentional interest in other people’s lives,” said DeShields, who since has deleted Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook from her phone. “Like for me, I was knowing where people were, what they were doing, what they had for lunch, and when I really stepped away from it, I was like, ‘This is [expletive] weird.’ I’m like, ‘I have all this information about these people that I don’t know, and they don’t know anything about me.’ ”

DeShields’ social-media cleanse, which she plans to end March 5, when she turns 25, isn’t necessarily about unplugging. It’s more about reconnecting to what matters most to her.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the world of social media and all of its great things and all of the bad things about it. It can kind of consume you,” DeShields said. “While I was overseas, I just noticed that I was really not present here with my team.”

DeShields hasn’t experienced FOMO — the fear of missing out — since the first week being offline. But she has fallen behind on the news.

“Things are happening in the world of social media that I just have no clue about,” she said. “For example, we hired a new coach. I had no idea. I was talking to James [Wade], and he was like casually talking about Olaf [Lange], and I was like, ‘Wait, so did we hire Olaf? I’m confused.’ And he was like, ‘Oh [expletive], I forgot you’re not on social media. Yeah, we signed him.’ ”

So what’s DeShields doing with the extra time on her hands?

When she’s not training or playing, she’s meditating and making more of an effort to connect with her Italian teammates.

She also has become slightly addicted to Candy Crush.

“I don’t know if it’s a good substitute,” DeShields said with a laugh. “I have to be careful with Candy Crush because the app kind of prompts you to spend money. So whenever the app prompts me to spend money, that’s when I stop playing. I don’t want to substitute one bad habit with [another], kind of like gambling.”

DeShields highly recommends taking a break from social media for those who can, especially professional athletes.

“Mental health and mental wellness is so important, and it’s very easy to get addicted to the fallacy of social media and what’s not real,” she said. “It’s kind of like an escape. And you’ve got to reconnect to what’s real in life and things that you feel matter at the end of the day.”

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